Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup

Event Preview: Men’s & Women’s Slalom World Titles Set to be Decided Over Next 5 Days in Japan - Who Needs What to Win?

After a tough season it all boils down to the 2023 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup, which is set to decide the Men’s and Women’s Slalom world champions over the next 5 days with the event running between 10th-14th November. 

Tsukuihama Beach, Yokosuka City, is situated approximately 80km southwest of Japan’s capital Tokyo. Yokosuka blends city life with the sea, while also being a Naval Port. Yokosuka occupies most of the Miura Peninsula and is bordered by the mouth of Tokyo Bay to the east and Sagami Bay on the west, which provides a beautiful backdrop. As Tsukuihama Beach is almost completely protected it can provide great flat water racing conditions. As well as its maritime connections Yokosuka is also famous for it’s locally grown produce and there is even a tourist farm where you can pick your own strawberries, sweet potatoes or tangerines depending on the time of year.


A Two Horse Race?

Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne Sails) comes into Japan in search of securing a maiden Slalom world title and the Spaniard holds a healthy advantage at the top of the rankings. Alabau has enjoyed a fine season to date - finishing on the podium in each of the opening three events, including a first event win in Pozo in July earlier this year - which gives her a 200 point cushion over reigning world champion - Marion Mortefon (Duotone / Duotone Sails), who is her only challenger left standing heading into the decider. 

With this being the Women’s fourth event - that means that a discard will come into play, so Alabau will finish on a minimum of 30,600 points no matter what happens here, which means Marion Mortefon or Justine Lemeteyer (FMX Racing / S2Maui / LOKEFOIL) must win the event to have any chance of snatching the title. 

World Title Race Connotations

- In the event that there are less than 4 eliminations completed, Blanca Alabau will become Slalom world champion for the first time as a win with 3 or less eliminations is only worth 10,000 points. 
- In the event that there are at least 4 eliminations - a top two finish would guarantee Alabau a maiden world title. 
- In the event of at least 4 eliminations being completed - Marion Mortefon or Justine Lemeteyer must win the event and hope that Alabau finishes third or worse. In this instance, whoever out of Mortefon and Lemeteyer, would also finish the season on 30,600 points and the title would be decided on countback

Meanwhile, Helle Oppedal (Starboard / Severne Sails), who finished 4th overall in 2022, is set to make her first appearance of the season, while home hopes will be pinned on the likes of Fujiko Onishi (Future Fly / Point-7), Mio Anayama (FMX Racing / S2Maui), Ayako Suzuki (Tabou / GA Sails) and Yuki Sunaga (Loftsails).


Winner Takes All?

With just 100 points separating first to fourth in the Men’s Slalom it looks like the winner of this year’s world title will be whoever win’s the decider here in Japan. Defending world champion - Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) - holds the narrowest of leads at the top of the pack coming into Japan over Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails), who is looking to earn his first world title since 2016, having hit the crossbar so many times since then. Meanwhile, The top two will have no margin for error with both Pierre Mortefon (Duotone / Duotone Sails / Phantom Foils) and Johan Søe (FMX Racing / Point-7 / F4 Foils) breathing firmly down their necks and have an excellent shot at the title.

In With a Chance

Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails) won the last event in Sylt, which gives him an outside shot of winning a first Slalom world title. However, the Bonairean currently trails Rutkowski and Iachino by 300 points, so in order to claim the title he would need to win the event, whilst hoping results elsewhere go his way. In simple terms; Rutkowski and Iachino must finish 4th or worse, while Mortefon and Søe must also finish 3rd or worse, while Vrieswijk must win the event. 

Just as in the women’s division, there are plenty of sailors who will be looking to end the season on a high in Japan, such as; Michele Becker (Patrik / Patrik Sails / Patrik Foils), Bruno Martini (JP / NeilPryde), Nicolas Prien (JP / NeilPryde) and Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Patrik Sails / Patrik Foils), who complete the top 10 heading into Japan. 

Elsewhere, Will McMillan (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) is set to make his first appearance since winning the opening event in Italy, while defending event champion - Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) - will be absent from proceedings with the Croat and his girlfriend expecting their first baby - everyone from the PWA wishes you both well!

Looking Ahead

The forecast for the opening couple of days suggests that we will see a windy start to the event with moderate to strong south-southwest winds currently predicted for tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully once registration is completed we will see the first races of the event completed during the afternoon. 

Make sure you tune into over the next 5 days to see how the world titles battles turn out as you’ll be able to follow the action as it happens via the PWA live stream with Ben Proffitt to guide you through the best of the action.

You can stay up to date with all the latest developments from Japan— including live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply by clicking HERE and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

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