After a windless morning spent dodging torrential downpours, day five of competition was eventually graced with suitable wind to resume slalom’s second race. A shaky start marred by fickle wind ultimately gave way to spectacular high wind surf slalom conditions, much akin to Gran Canaria.
The 25 to 35 knot wind caught most, if not all the slalom fleet off guard, with the majority of the sailors fighting to hold down 8-9m rigs. The first big seed to stumble in the nuclear conditions was British Virgin Islander, Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde). The famed speedster was forced out of contention in the second round, after a flat out drag race to finish line with Brit, Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra). Williams gritted his teeth to pip Maynard to the all-important fourth place qualifying position.
Also making a shock departure from the elimination was race one winner, Sylvain Moussilmani (F2, Simmer), who placed an uncharacteristic last place in his second round heat.
Moving into the semi finals, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (North Sails) made his chances of adding a second event victory to his name a considerably harder challenge, when he failed to qualify for the race final, thanks to some classy sailing from heat winner Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic, North Sails), and fellow qualifiers; Patrick Diethelm (F2, North Sails), Peter Volwater (F2, North Sails) and Josh Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine).
The second semi final saw Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) win his first heat of the event thus far, a feat that took somewhat longer than most would have predicted. Joining the Frenchman in the final was fellow countryman Cedric Bordes (Tabou, Gaastra) and team mates Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, MFC, Dakine) and Williams.
The race final played host to some outstanding slalom action. From the off, Albeau looked dominant and quickly put ground between him and Williams, who chased in second. However, it would be all change as the racers rounded the second mark.