Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup

Day 4: Amado Vrieswijk & Lina Eržen head to top of event rankings, while Blanca Alabau & Johan Søe remain on course for maiden world titles

More drama ensued on the penultimate day of the 2023 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup as two more eliminations were completed for the Men’s and Women’s fleets in winds ranging from anywhere between 8-28 knots - with the stronger wind being in the morning like normal before slowly dropping. At the close of play, Lina Erźen (Starboard / Severne Sails) has surged to the top of the Women’s event rankings, while Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails) has moved into pole position in the Men’s - for the event at least. 


Lina Erźen continued her dream Slalom debut as the 18-year-old secured back-to-back bullets in the two eliminations completed today to deservedly rise to the top of the event rankings. Eržen’s level of sailing has been nothing short of sensational with the young Slovenian now having won the last four eliminations and she holds a 3.9 point advantage at the top of the rankings and it looks as though she will walk away from Japan with her first event victory - barring any disaster.

Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne Sails) is Eržen’s closest challenger and she’ll be more than happy with that as with Erźen winning it makes it mathematically impossible for the Spaniard to be beaten to a maiden world title. Alabau didn’t enjoy her best day with a fourth and an eighth, but in the grand scheme of things it looks like that will be irrelevant. 

Justine Lemeteyer (FMX Racing / S2Maui) started the day leading the event, but finishes the penultimate day ranked third, which likely all but ends her slim world title chances. Lemeteyer had to win the event and hope that Alabau finished third or worse to be able to snatch the title, but unfortunately, things started to unravel in Elimination 5 as when pushing to reel in Erźen on the last reach of the winners’ final she catapulted - resulting in her dropping from second to eighth, which cost her valuable ground in the title race, but as things stand she would finish the year as the vice-world champion.

Elsewhere, Marion Mortefon (Duotone / Duotone) enjoyed her best day of racing so far as she recorded a second and third to remain in fourth place, while Helle Oppedal (Starboard / Severne Sails) still completes the top five. 


Amado Vrieswijk seemingly loves striking late in events and it looks like the Bonairean may do the same again here in Japan. In Sylt in 2022 and ’23, Vrieswijk snatched the victory in the final elimination and the former Freestyle world champion may have done the same today after securing his second bullet of the event in Elimination 6 - which may yet prove to be the last elimination of the event based on the forecast. The 27-year-old could’ve also won Elimination 5, but dropped his last gybe after accidentally hooking in mid gybe when in the clear. Vrieswijk made a somewhat miraculous recovery to still finish third, which gives Vrieswijk a slender one-point lead heading into the final day as he looks to make it back-to-back event victories for the first time. 

Johan Søe (FMX Racing / Point-7 / F4 Foils) looked to have taken a massive stride towards securing a maiden world title after finishing in a solid second place in Elimination 5. However, things weren’t to be quite so plain sailing with the young Dane being eliminated in the semifinals of the next race after ending up in the drink at mark one, which opened up the door slightly for his rivals. Credit where credit is due though as Søe refused to be rattled and clinched second in the b-final - 10th overall for Elimination 6 - to limit the damage. As things stand Søe is 1 point off the top of the event ranking, while more importantly, he holds a 3.6 point lead over Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails), so he remains in the driving seat for the world title, but you can never rule out more racing tomorrow despite the forecast, so there is still time for things to change. 

Fine Margins

Matteo Iachino may be left to rue a dropped gybe at the second buoy in the opening semifinal of the day if there is to be no further racing. The Italian was leading the heat as he rounded the second mark, but crucially fell when gybing into a wind hole, so he went from comfortably qualifying for the winners’ final to completely missing out after finishing seventh, which could prove crucial in deciding this year’s world title. Iachino eventually finished 11th in Elimination 5 and then did well to fight back in the next elimination to claim third. As things stand a fourth place finish in Elimination 5 would’ve been enough to put him in the lead for the world title - something he has achieved in 4 out of the 6 eliminations completed thus far - but would currently miss out on a second world crown on countback for the second consecutive season. As the saying goes: “It’s not over until the fat lady sings.”, but he will need to pray for wind tomorrow. 

Elsewhere, Daniele Benedetti (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails / F4 Foils), climbs one place from the overnight rankings into fourth after earning his first bullet on the World Tour in Elimination 5, which keeps him on course for a best event result. 

Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) was absolutely devastated to miss out on the opening winners’ final of the day after being beaten in a photo-finish by Scotty Stallman (Tabou / GA Sails / F4 Foils) for the last qualifying position. Rutkowski would go on to win the b-final before signing off the day with a second place in Elimination 6, which is good enough to see him climb to fifth in the event rankings. 

The top 10 is currently completed by; Bruno Martini (JP / NeilPryde), Michele Becker (Patrik / Patrik Sails / Patrik Foils), Cedric Bordes (Severne / Severne Sails / Patrik Foils), Nico Prien (JP / NeilPryde) and Pierre Mortefon (Duotone / Duotone / Phantom Foils).

The forecast for tomorrow doesn’t look very promising on paper with just 4-7 knots currently predicted during the morning, but as ever you never know what is going to happen, so we will just wait and see. The sailors will meet for the last skippers’ meeting of the event at 10 (GMT+9) tomorrow morning with a first possible start at 10:30am.

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Current Event Ranking 2023 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup - Women’s Slalom
*After 6 Eliminations

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

Current Event Ranking 2023 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup - Women’s Slalom
*After 6 Eliminations

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

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