Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup

Day 2: A day of twists and turns sees both the Men’s and Women’s world title races remain delicately poised after winds ranging from over 30 knots to 7 knots provide the ultimate test

The forecast for the second day of the 2023 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup certainly didn’t disappoint with 4 eliminations a piece being completed in the Men’s and Women’s fleets. Today proved to be a true test with treacherously choppy waters and winds in excess of 30 knots greeting the competitors first thing in the morning, before the wind slowly dropped throughout the day to a more marginal 7-15 knots. However, the level of drama didn’t decrease with the wind, with some significant changes late in the day, which may yet prove pivotal in the races for the respective world titles. 


With Justine Lemeteyer (FMX Racing / S2Maui) heading up the event rankings on countback over Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne Sails) at the end of the first day of racing, that leaves the world title finely balanced. As things stand, Alabau leads the race for the world title on 30,700 points, while Lemeteyer closes to within just 100 points after recording a bullet, two seconds and a 6th - which she discards. Alabau enjoyed an extremely solid day - not finishing outside the top three once - with results of one bullet, two seconds and third, which keeps her in control, for now at least.

However, with Lina Eržen (Starboard / Severne Sails), who you may be more familiar with from the Freestyle world or iQFoil, not just making her debut on the PWA Slalom World Tour, but also making a significant impact, which saw the 18-year-old claim back-to-back bullets in Eliminations 3 and 4, she could still yet play a major role in determining the outcome of the world title race. 

The young Slovenian is just 1.7 points off the lead, so if she was to leapfrog Alabau into second place that would see Lemeteyer move into the world title race lead - assuming Lemeteyer continues to lead the event. However, if Eržen was to jump to the top of the event rankings, that would then swing the world title race back in the favour of Alabau, so it’s safe to say that there could still be plenty of twists and turns to come in the title race yet. 

Eržen, meanwhile, looked extremely impressive and things could have been even better for her, but she dropped her final gybe when leading Elimination 2. If she continues the kind of form she showed today then not only could she play a major role in deciding the world title, but she could also mount a serious challenge for the event title. 

Elsewhere, Helle Oppedal (Starboard / Severne Sails) made a consistent return to the World Tour with two thirds and two fourths respectively, to be ranked 4th in the overnight rankings, while Marion Mortefon (Duotone / Duotone Sails) didn’t make the start she would’ve wanted after crashing when leading the opening semifinal, which saw her miss out on the first final. The reigning world champion must win the event to have any shot at defending her world title, and while that is certainly not out of the question, she will need to click into top gear quickly if she is to reduce the 7.3 point deficit she is currently posed with. 

Sana Saeki (JP / NeilPryde) and Fujiko Onishi (Future Fly / Point-7) are currently the top two Japanese sailors - ranked 6th and 7th respectively. 


At the close of play, Johan Søe (FMX Racing / Point-7 / F4 Foils) leads both the event ranking and the battle for the world title, but that doesn’t quite tell the full story. The 20-year-old made a spectacular start to the event by claiming an excellent second in the opener before powering to back-to-back bullets to take a stranglehold over the event. At this stage, Søe looked to be in total control and in almost unstoppable form. 

However, that’s when things took a potentially decisive twist as the young Dane dropped off the foil after the opening gybe in the last quarterfinal of Elimination 4 - and with no cancellation flag coming to his rescue, a quarterfinal exit soon beckoned. That in itself doesn’t represent a problem as Søe simply discards that result to currently sit on 3.4 points at the top of the rankings with a healthy 5.6 point advantage. However, it does greatly reduce his margin for error as another poor result could see him plummet down the rankings, while throwing the world title race wide open, and ending his own.

The man who stands to gain the most at the moment is Matteo Iachino (Starboard  / Severne Sails) with the Italian currently tied with Søe on 40,500 points, so any change in the event ranking has huge implications. The 2016 world champion was the only sailor to qualify for every winners’ final today - recording a second, third and a fourth - while he discards a 7th, which puts him in quite a powerful position as he can potentially try and risk more in the next race to really apply the pressure at the top of the rankings. Even ‘just’ qualifying for another winners’ final would give Iachino tremendous breathing room compared to Søe - at least until 7 Eliminations are completed as the second discard would then come into play. 

As things stand - Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails) - would jump up into 3rd place in the overall world rankings. The Bonairean began the event with a statement of intent as he struck first blood by winning the opening elimination, but he then had a couple of racing incidents when well placed in Eliminations 2 and 4, which could potentially cost him dearly. Vrieswijk did well to limit the damage after missing out on the winners’ final of the last elimination, but must be gutted that he couldn’t totally capitalise on Søe’s unexpected early exit. 

Fellow world title candidate - Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) experienced a day he’d probably rather forget with the defending world champion slipping from 1st to 4th in the overall rankings - as things stand. The Pole bounced back brilliantly after missing the opening winners’ final by securing second place, but was then extremely unlucky to hit a submerged object in the run up area in the semifinals of Elimination 3, which meant he not only missed the start of the heat, but also damaged a foil and cut his arm. Rutkowski ends the day ranked 6th in the event rankings and would need other results to fall firmly in his favour if he is to force himself back into world title race contention. Stranger things have happened, so never say never. 

Bruno Martini (JP / NeilPryde) finishes the day ranked fourth, but will probably be frustrated the he inadvertently sailed the wrong quarterfinal - sailing Heat 7 instead of 8, which even more annoyingly for him he won, but was later disqualified for. That means that he has a 49 point discard looming over his head, much like Søe. Meanwhile, fellow countryman - Daniele Benedetti (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails / F4 Foils) - enjoyed arguably his best day to date on the World Tour - currently ranked 5th after qualifying for 3 winners’ finals out of 4. 

Will McMillan (Starboard / Challenger Sails / Patrik Foils) was making his first appearance since winning the opening event of the year in Lake Garda and the 17-year-old experienced a turbulent day. McMillan missed the opening race after having issues fitting his foil, while in Elimination 2 he crashed on the entry to the first mark, which left Benedetti with nowhere to go. Fortunately, McMillan flew clear of his gear, while both he and Benedetti suffered damaged equipment, but not to themselves . Without having enough time to find a new foil, McMillan missed out again in Elimination 3, but then came storming back in Elimination 4. Originally he thought he had been eliminated in the quarterfinals, but that was the heat Bruno Martini incorrectly sailed, so he understandably packed up for the day, only to be reinstated in 4th place. Cue a mad dash of rigging etc and the young Thai soon showed the form he demonstrated in Garda - powering to the front of the pack in both the semifinals and finals to claim a decisive bullet. 

Elsewhere, Cedric Bordes (Severne / Severne Sails) enjoyed his best day for a long time - and without doubt his best day ever on the foil. The Frenchman clicked in to top gear today with perfectly timed starts and an excellent top speed making him a force to be reckoned with, which resulted in him finishing third in the last two races to jump into the event top 10 - 7th.

The current event top 10 is completed by - Alexis Mathis (Tabou / GA Sails), Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Patrik / Patrik Sails) and Nico Prien (JP / NeilPryde).

Unfortunately, it looks as though Pierre Mortefon’s (Duotone / Duotone / Phantom Foils) world title challenge for this year has more than likely to come an end for the with the 2019 world champion currently ranked 12th for the event. 

Just like last year here in Yokosuka, the best wind is seemingly more often in the morning and that’s how the forecast looks again for Sunday with moderate northeasterly winds being predicted until about 1pm local time. With this in mind the sailors will meet again at 8am (GMT-9) tomorrow with the action commencing from 8:30am onwards.

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Current Event Ranking 2023 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup - Women’s Slalom
*After 4 Eliminations

1st Justine Lemeteyer (FRA | FMX Racing / S2Maui)
2nd Blanca Alabau (ESP | Starboard / Severne Sails)
3rd Lina Eržen (SLO | Starboard / Severne Sails)
4th Helle Oppedal (NOR | Starboard / Severne Sails)
5th Marion Mortefon (FRA | Duotone / Duotone Sails)

Current Event Ranking 2023 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup - Women’s Slalom
*After 4 Eliminations

1st Johan Søe (DEN | FMX Racing / Point-7 / F4 Foils)
2nd Matteo Iachino (ITA | Starboard / Severne Sails)
3rd Amado Vrieswijk (NB | Future Fly / Severne Sails)
4th Bruno Martini (ITA | JP / NeilPryde)
5th Daniele Benedetti (ITA | FMX Racing / Challenger Sails / F4 Foils)
6th Maciek Rutkowski (POL | FMX Racing / Challenger Sails)
7th Cedric Bordes (FRA | Severne / Severne Sails)
8th Alexis Mathis (FRA | Tabou / GA Sails)
9th Alexandre Cousin (FRA | Patrik / Patrik Sails / Patrik Foils)
10th Nico Prien (GER | JP / NeilPryde)

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