Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup
The penultimate day of the 2022 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup produced by far the windiest and choppiest conditions that we have seen in Japan, which made for an exhilarating morning of racing as the world’s best racers battled it out in winds of anywhere from 20-35 knots. As well as some world class racing there were also several brutal crashes as the sailors had their mettle tested to the limit, whilst with the wind and water conditions being extreme enough there were plenty of fin versus foil battles.
Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) continued to lay down the gauntlet today as she looks to add a second world title to her name. The reigning Foil World Champion produced a phenomenal display today in the nuclear winds as she destroyed the rest of the fleet to claim an emphatic victory in Elimination 4, whilst also extending her lead to 6.6 points heading into the final day. The 30-year-old is yet to finish outside the top 3 in the opening 3 eliminations, so it would need a massive turn of events to deny her the event and world title, but she won’t be getting complacent.
Justine Lemeteyer (FMX Racing / Point-7 / LOKEFOIL) continues to sail incredibly consistently in a wide range of conditions and the newcomer took away third place in Elimination 4 to defend her second place in the event rankings. However, she now has Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne Sails) breathing down her neck. The 26-year-old may not have been able to take full advantage of her discard opportunity - finishing 8th in Elimination 4 - but that is still enough to see her gain three places from 6th to 3rd, whilst she now trails Lemeteyer by just 0.7 of a point with a day to go.
Elsewhere, Ma Kwan Ching and Helle Oppedal (Starboard / Severne Sails) remain in 4th and 5th place respectively, whilst Delphine Cousin Questel (FMX Racing / S2Maui), who started the day in third falls three places to 6th. The 5-time world champion wasn’t happy with not being given enough time to change to the equipment she wanted and eventually finished 9th.
With the strong winds on offer this morning, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) recorded her best result of the event so far after doing brilliantly to fight back into second place despite dropping her opening gybe, which sees the Aruban move into 7th from 11th, whilst Sarah Jackson (Fanatic / Duotone) climbs into the top 10 - 9th - after finishing 6th despite sailing with a broken metatarsal.
World Title Race
The Men’s world title race will go down to the wire after the title race took another dramatic twist today after Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails), who started the day leading the event and the world rankings, failed to qualify for the Winners’ Final for the first time this week, which swung the door open for Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails). The Pole would go on to secure 4th place in the final, which would actually see Rutkowski fall one place in the event rankings to 5th, but with Iachino only able to record a 9th, and other results not going his way, or in Rutkowski’s favour depending how you look at it, that would cause the Italian to drop from 1st to third, which hands the advantage to Rutkowski heading into the final day. However, there is no breathing room for either sailor because as things currently stand they would be tied on 20,200 points (Rutkowski would win on countback), so any changes in their event rankings tomorrow will have huge effects on the overall outcome.
Whilst it still seems most likely that the title race will come down to a battle between Iachino and Rutkowski, there are still certain scenarios where both Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails) and Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde), who currently leads the event could still win the world title:
If Iachino and Rutkowski were both to fall at least one place (to 4th and 5th respectively) and Vrieswijk was to finish 6th or better he could still win. If that were to happen and Marotti was to win the event all 4 sailors would finish tied on 20,100 points, so the title would then be decided on countback between Vrieswijk and Marotti.
If Iachino and Rutkowski were to fall at least one place and Marotti was to not win the event - a 6th place finish or better would be good enough for Vrieswijk to be world champion.
If Iachino and Rutkowski were both to fall at least one place and Vrieswijk finishes 7th or worse - then a victory for Marotti would guarantee him the world title.
In terms of the race for the event title, things couldn’t be much closer with just 0.7 of a point separating Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) and Nicolas Goyard (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils), whilst Matteo Iachino is still only 2 points off the top, so things could still go either way in the race for both the event and world titles, so tomorrow promises to be a tense and exhilarating day with plenty on the line.
Marotti currently leads the event with counting results of a first and two seconds - discarding a 5th - such has been his level at this event and he now has every chance of winning his first event and possibly a world title.
Nicolas Goyard’s second bullet of the week allowed the Frenchman to discard a 16th place from the second elimination, which saw the current Slalom World Champion climb from 7th to second and he now has every chance at the event title.
Elsewhere, Johan Soe (FMX Racing / Point-7) remains in 5th place after another 5th place finish today, whilst Mateus Isaac (Severne / Severne Sails) breaks back into the overall top 10 - 6th - after being able to discard a quarterfinal exit from the second elimination with a 10th place finish today.
Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) looked as though he may be able to sign off his final event on the PWA in perfect fashion as he led the Winners’ Final of Elimination 4. The 25-time world champion produced a brilliant first couple of gybes to move to the front of the pack, but a brief touchdown at the third gave Goyard and Marotti all the opportunity they needed to deny Albeau. However, AA still recorded his best finish of the week - 3rd - which sees the Frenchman climb from 15th to 7th.
The top 10 is currently completed by - Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails), Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins / Phantom Foils) and Basile Jacquin (FMX Racing / Point-7).
The forecast for tomorrow looks as though there should be enough wind for at least one more elimination with moderate to strong northerly winds currently predicted. With that in mind, the sailors will meet at 8am tomorrow morning with the action commencing from 8:30am (GMT+9) onwards.
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Current Ranking Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup - Women’s Slalom
*After 4 Eliminations
1st Marion Mortefon | FRA (Fanatic / Duotone)
2nd Justine Lemeteyer | FRA (FMX Racing / S2Maui / LOKEFOIL)
3rd Blanca Alabau | ESP (Starboard / Severne Sails)
4th Ma Kwan Ching | HK
5th Helle Oppedal | NOR (Starboard / Severne Sails)
6th Delphine Cousin Questel | FRA (FMX Racing / S2Maui)
7th Sarah-Quita Offringa | ARU (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
8th Veerle ten Have | NZL
Current Ranking Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup - Men’s Slalom
*After 4 Eliminations
1st Enrico Marotti | CRO (JP / NeilPryde)
2nd Nicolas Goyard | FRA (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils)
3rd Matteo Iachino | ITA (Starboard / Severne Sails)
4th Maciek Rutkowski | POL (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails)
5th Johan Soe | DEN (FMX Racing / Point-7)
6th Mateus Isaac | BRA (Severne / Severne Sails)
7th Antoine Albeau | FRA (JP / NeilPryde)
8th Amado Vrieswijk | NB (Future Fly / Severne Sails)
9th Pierre Mortefon | FRA (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins / Phantom Foils)
10th Basile Jacquin | NC (FMX Racing / Point-7 / Phantom Foils)