Warning up the weather beaten German crowds, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (North Sails) drew first blood after sailing to victory in the opening heat, then the subsequent semi-final, granting him right of passage into the race final.
Also winning their second round heats were the UK’s Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) and France’s Julien Quentel (Starboard, NeilPryde), who advanced to take their seats in the second semi final.
In that heat, it was Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde) that adapted best to the challenging and highly changeable conditions, piecing together a solid performance that ultimately earned him victory, and his place in the race final.
Moving onto the losers final, spectators were treated to the rare spectacle of a three-man sail-off, after four of the competing sailors false started, and Turkish sailor Bora Kozanoglu (Starboard) missed the heat through injury. This left Jimmy Diaz (Starboard, North Sails), Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet, NeilPryde, MFC) and Dorian van Rijsselberge (JP, NeilPryde) to battle it out.
Diaz took the reigns of the heat from the first reach and remained untouchable right to the finish line, leaving Van Rijsselberge to take second place and Costa Hoevel in third.
Rolling onto the final, 27 year old French race specialist, Sylvain Moussilmani (F2, Simmer) made his intentions clear from the outset, sailing to the front of the pack, and into the clean air on the first reach. Unphased by the likes of Arnon Dagan (Fanatic, Gaastra) and Dunkerbeck breathing down his neck, Moussilmani kept his composure around the four-gybe course to be rewarded with victory, and in turn the early event lead.
In his wake, Dagan crossed the finish line in second, and Dunkerbeck held off persistent attack from Williams to claim third. The remainder of the afternoon saw four heats of race two completed before the wind became too light to continue with competition.
While the sailors were on hold, we asked slalom racer, Dan Ellis (Fanatic, MauiSails) to try and describe what it’s like to compete in the unpredictable North Sea conditions.
DE: “These are the most frustrating and difficult conditions, because the whole day you’re on edge waiting, and waiting. You just have to try and be ready at all times. It really plays on your mind, as you can’t fully relax when you’re on hold, then when your heat comes, you’re just preying they’ll be enough wind to get it done. It’s such a mental battle, the whole day you’re on standby, and then you have to be able to turn it on for 4 or 5 minutes at any given time. There’s no opportunity to build up any momentum like in other events where the heats are back-to-back, and you can start to find your rhythm.”
A solid forecast for day four of competition has meant the race committee have brought forward the skippers meeting times by one hour. The racers have their skippers meeting at 9.30am, and the wave/freestylers have theirs at 10.00am tomorrow morning.