Tiberias PWA World Cup
The opening day of the Tiberias PWA World Cup saw a tricky start to the competition with gusty winds and wind shifts playing havoc at times. However, at the end of the first day, there is already a result in the bag with one elimination being completed in both the Men’s and Women’s Slalom in winds gusting over 25 knots.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) returned to the Slalom scene with a bang as she claimed the first bullet on the Slalom PWA World Tour since 2019. The Aruban had earlier sailed to the wrong mark when in the lead, but that was due to a massive wind shift which resulted in the final being cancelled. After two restarts due to general recalls, Offringa would gain the upper hand again, but she didn’t have things all her own way as Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) claimed the lead as they rounded the opening buoy. Mortefon, couldn’t keep Offringa behind her for long though, as the 4-time Slalom world champion immediately pointed deep on the exit of the gybe to soon overtake the vice-world champion with a blistering turn of speed. Over the remainder of the course, Offringa would gradually edge away as she made the perfect start to the event, whilst looking dangerously fast.
Vice-world champion, Mortefon, made a solid start to the event with a clear second place, but on the evidence of today, she’ll need to try and find even more pace to try and pin back Offringa.
Defending world champion - Delphine Cousin Questel (FMX Racing / S2Maui) - had to settle for third in the opening elimination after finding herself in a tussle with - Sarah Jackson (Fanatic / Duotone) - who starts the season with her best result in an individual race - 4th.
Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne Sails) may feel a little disappointed with today’s outcome as she was in second place in the opening final, briefly taking the lead after Offringa sailed to the wrong buoy due to the wind shift, but the Norwegian was then disqualified for a premature start. However, there’s still plenty of time to get herself back in the game.
Before the start of the event, there was obviously a great deal of hype in the fin vs foil debate - with this being the first event with the new format in which sailors have to make their own choice on whether to foil or use a fin. Most were probably expecting to see the foils used in the lighter winds, but even with gusts of over 25 knots the 2019 Foil Word Champion - Nicolas Goyard (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) - decided to stay with the foil. The only other sailor to do so was - William Huppert (Fanatic / Duotone / LOKEFOIL), who finished in 12th place.
There had been plenty of speculation to watch out for Goyard, but I’m not sure that most people were quite expecting to see the level of performance that we saw from him today. Not only did he have to win the opening elimination twice, after the first attempt was cancelled due to a wind shift, which is already impressive enough on its own. But it was more the manner, and the margin that he won both of the finals by that was quite astonishing.
At the beginning of the day, the majority of the fleet had opted to use foils to help cope with the gusty nature of the wind, however, once it picked up as the afternoon progressed most chose to return to their trusted fins, which were seemingly expected to be quicker, in a straight line at least, once the wind approached 20+ knots. This, however, was not the case with Goyard being able to not only match their top speeds on the straights, but then literally fly through the gybes to build unassailable leads.
If today is anything to go by then the rest of the fleet will face an extremely hard task in trying to pin him back such was the margin of his victory in the opening elimination, which also happens to be the 25-year-olds first bullet in the Slalom. Goyard has spent the last 18 months working tirelessly to take high wind foiling to another level and the early indications would suggest that he has done just that and he could reap the rewards for the rest of the event and beyond.
Goyard’s closest challenger in the rerun of the Winners’ Final was - Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) - who will be delighted with his start to the season as he picks up where he left off in New Caledonia - where the 30-year-old finished 4th. The Croat looked extremely quick all day and if it wasn’t for Goyard he would’ve been celebrating with a bullet.
Perhaps the surprise result of the day was to see Ingmar Daldorf (Tabou / GA Sails) claim third place in the opening elimination here. The Dutchman has qualified for Winners’ Finals before, so he definitely has the talent to challenge for top honours, but having failed to finish in the overall top 16 of an event in 2019 he slipped quietly under the radar before the event.
Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) is another sailor whose name has been on a lot of people’s lips prior to the event. The Pole enjoyed his best season to date in 2019 - winning his first eliminations on tour, claiming his first event podium and breaking into the overall top 10 for the first time in his career - 7th - and he too, like Marotti, looks to be bang in form. Rutkowski may count himself a little unlucky as he was in a clear second place in the opening attempt to run the final, but the wind shift left him, and other sailors, struggling to make the finish line, which eventually saw the final cancelled. Upon the rerun, Rutkowski was still in contention for the top places and the 29-year-old starts the event with a solid 4th place upon which to build.
As a multiple-time Youth Slalom World Champion - Basile Jacquin (FMX Racing / Point-) - has been on the radar for quite some time and the 22-year-old delivered right from the word go here as he produced an excellent display to claim 5th place ahead of the reigning world champion - Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins), Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Phantom Sails / Chopper Fins / Phantom Foils) and Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde).
Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails / Starboard Foil) didn’t quite make the start to the event he would’ve wanted with the vice-world champion jumping the gun in the semifinals, together with Bruno Martini (I-99 / Challenger Sails), to miss out on a place in the Winners’ Final. That means that out of the ‘Big Top 3’, Mortefon makes the best start 6th. Iachino then exercised the best damage limitation possible by winning the Losers’ Final after showing a tremendous turn of acceleration to blast past Martini, who completes the top 10 at the end of the opening day.
Elsewhere, Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails) made a solid start to the event by claiming 11th place, whilst Huppert as previously mentioned takes home 12th place ahead of Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone), who suffered one of the biggest wipeouts of the day after snapping a foil screw, Rytis Jasiunas (Future Fly / Point), who will be delighted with his start to the event having finished 13th. The top 16 is currently completed by Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / Severne Sails / Starboard Foil) and Nicolas Prien (Starboard / NeilPryde).
With the wind generally kicking in around 2pm in Tiberias the skippers’ meeting has been called for 1pm tomorrow afternoon, with the action commencing from 2pm (GMT+3) onwards.
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Current Ranking 2021 Tiberias PWA World Cup - Women’s Slalom
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU | Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Marion Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone)
3rd Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA | FMX Racing / S2Maui)
4th Sarah Jackson (GBR | Fanatic / Duotone)
5th Blanca Alabau (ESP | Starboard / Severne Sails)
Current Ranking 2021 Tiberias PWA World Cup - Men’s Slalom
1st Nicolas Goyard (FRA | Phantom Boards / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils)
2nd Enrico Marotti (CRO | JP / NeilPryde)
3rd Ingmar Daldorf (NED | Tabou / GA Sails)
4th Maciek Rutkowski (POL | FMX Racing / Challenger Sails)
5th Basile Jacquin (FRA | FMX Racing / Point-7)
6th Pierre Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins / LOKEFOIL)
7th Alexandre Cousin (FRA | Patrik / Phantom Sails / Chopper Fins / Phantom Foils)
8th Antoine Albeau (FRA | JP / NeilPryde)
9th Matteo Iachino (ITA | Starboard / Severne Sails / Starboard Foil)
10th Bruno Martini (ITA | I-99 / Challenger Sails)