2009 PWA Catalunya, Day Two

Once again the day dawned quiet and tranquil here on the magnificent Allegre Ballena campsite. However the morning calm was quickly replaced by a stiff southwest wind, giving testing side shore racing conditions. With gusts up to 20kts and lulls at around the 10kts mark it proved difficult even for the world's best.

Early round highlights and upsets

Race 1 continued as expected, with all of the top 20 seeds passing through to the quarterfinals without any troubles. Perhaps the only real surprise was Gabriel Browne (Starboard/MauiSails). Suffering with the flu his concentration was clearly absent and he crossed the start line early, leaving him in bolt last position.

By the quarterfinals, things were heating up. Heat 9 saw number three seed Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet/MauiSails) jump the gun, ending his run at a very early stage. A hot tip after his performance in Austria, Julien Quentel (RRD/NeilPryde), also saw his race end in the quarters, after taking the fateful 5th position of heat 10.

Heat 11 saw one of the favorites for the event Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra) blow up down the reach as his outhaul rope exploded. He was left swimming and was forced to watch his rivals disappear without him.

Heat 12 almost witnessed the biggest upset of the day as World Champion Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) missed the boom coming out of the gybe. Using all his strength he muscled the sail upright and continued into the semi-final.


By the semi-finals things were really tight at the top. Arnon Dagon (Tabou/Gaastra) was fighting hard for his spot in the top-8 but with 4 guys hitting the gybe at the same time there was always going to be at least one loser. Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne) was also out in this same heat. He gambled on a smaller fin, but when the predicted increase in wind failed to materialize he was left lagging in the middle of the fleet.

The second semi-final saw Albeau step into top gear. An on-fire Peter Volwater (F2/MauiSails) led from the start, but Antoine hauled him in and in fighting for first Pete nearly lost out completely as Steve Allen attacked from behind to take 2nd.

The finals

The loser’s final saw Dunkerbeck take a comfortable lead from the start and eventually win by over a hundred meters. Other than his slip up in the semi he looked solid all day. Patrik Diethelm (F2/North Sails) had also been in great form all day, but a rare starting mistake cost him his slot in the top-8. He finished 2nd in the losers final ahead of Josh Angulo (Angulo/MauiSails) in 3rd.

The winners final really was a spectacular end to the day. Off the start it was Steve Allen that took control and arrived at the first gybe in first place. Right on his tail were Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) and Antoine Albeau - both attacking for that number one slot.

Antoine muscled his way through, coming out of the gybe in a dominant position. As the three of them all fought to hold their ranking, Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra) capitalized on the battle, sailing high, keeping out of trouble and moved into attack position coming into the outside gybe. Antoine held onto first, Williams stayed on his tail in 2nd and Allen just about held off Buzianis to take 3rd.


The standard of the women’s fleet has risen dramatically and this event sees 16 competitors of the highest level. Even more impressive is how low the average age of the competitors are, showing how great the future looks for women’s racing.

First round standout was Alice Arutkin (Starboard/North Sails). She blasted into 1st place ahead of World Champion Karin Jaggi (F2/Severne). At just 18 years old she is definitely a hot tip for the future. Unfortunately for her a timing mistake in the final meant she eventually finished 6th.

The losers final was won by fired up French women Morane Demont (Starboard/Severne). Demont had an over-early in the first round, but made no mistakes in the losers' final. Çagla Kubat (Starboard/North Sails) looked very comfortable and took 2nd.

A winter in Maui, training with Jimmy Diaz (Starboard/North Sails), has clearly paid off. In 3rd position young Turkish hope Lena Erdil (Starboard/Loft Sails) was fuming. She had been leading an earlier heat when it was cancelled and in the re-run things didn’t go the same way. Sometimes racing can be very cruel.

The final was a more traditional affair with Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou/Loft Sails) and Karin Jaggi blasting into the lead and fighting for the top spot. A poor start from Karin opened the door for Valerie and she made no mistake taking advantage of it.

In 3rd place was a surprised Marta Hlavaty (Starboard/MauiSails). More at home on an RSX board, she used her light wind skills to work through the lulls and move into the final podium position.

Men’s results

1st Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde)
2nd Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra)
3rd Steve Allen
4th Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde)
5th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard/North Sails)
6th Jimmy Diaz (Starboard/North Sails)
7th Finian Maynard (RRD/NeilPryde)
8th Peter Volwater (F2/MauiSails)
9th Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne)
10th Patrik Diethelm (F2/North Sails)

Women’s Results

1st Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou/Gaastra)
2nd Karin Jaggi (F2/Severne)
3rd Marta Hlavaty (Starboard/MauiSails)
4th Sarah Hebert (Starboard/Naish)
5th Lise Vidal (Exocet/North Sails)

2009 PWA Catalunya, Day One

The first day of the Catalunya Costa Brava PWA World Cup saw a relaxed start as light morning winds allowed competitors time to prepare for the week ahead. With a skippers meeting at 1pm and a first possible start at 2pm, the race crew were ready and waiting for the sea breeze to kick in.

On cue at around 2pm a light 10-15kt thermal wind switched on, giving the PWA elite their first chance to test the waters. The spectators were treated to an incredible show as the worlds best hit the ocean and went head to head to check their speed.

With the course set for a four-gybe downwind slalom, the red flag went up for the first at 2.50 and the first 8 sailors hit the start line at full speed.

From the outset it looked like the major players meant business, with the top four seeds of heat one easily qualifying for the first quarterfinal. Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) continued where he left off in Korea, taking the win, despite still suffering with a chipped metatarsal. Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra), loving the light winds, was right on his tail in 2nd.

Interestingly Ross registered one of the smallest sails of anyone (8.4) as his biggest sail. Benoit Moussilmani (Starboard/Simmer Sails) and Arnon Dagan (Tabou/Gaastra) both fought hard to claim the final two qualifying positions.

Heat two saw the biggest surprise of the day as French racer Damien Le Guen (JP/NeilPryde) shot into the lead ahead of one of the event favorites Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet/MauiSails). Damien is a light wind specialist and took advantage winning the heat and staking his place in the next round.

Gonzo finished just behind in 2nd, like Ross opting for a smaller 8.4 sail to give him a higher top speed. Robby Swift (JP/NeilPryde) took the 3rd place whilst Ertugrul Icingir (Starboard/NeilPryde) of Turkey claimed the final qualifying place.

The third heat turned out to be cursed by the dying winds as black storm clouds hovered above the race course. Light winds plagued the gybe marks and three different attempts to finish the race were all abandoned. During one of the three attempts Julien Quentel (RRD/NeilPryde) even managed to cross the finish line, but behind him the rest of the fleet were left sinking in a wind hole.

Heat four, however, did get finished and it was Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne) who dominated, leading from the start and taking the win comfortably. Asked before the event what his strategy was for winning the event he said, “to avoid collisions”.

Leading from the start is obviously a great way to achieve that! Cedric Bordes (Tabou/Gaastra) claimed 2nd, a winter’s training with Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) clearly paying off. Taking the final two qualifying slots were two Italians: Andrea Rosati (RRD/NeilPryde) and Malte Reuscher (Starboard) finishing in 3rd and 4th respectively.

Unfortunately the storm cloud ultimately put an end to the thermal breeze and the wind switched off for the rest of the afternoon, leaving the crew on standby. After a long hopeful wait for wind, race officer Juan Antonio eventually had to admit defeat and called it off for the day at 5.30pm.

Keith Atkinson

153 sailors turned out to race last weekend 6th & 7th June for Round Two of The UKWA Inland National Championships & The Rya National Junior Championships 2009 and the Rutland Marathon at Whitwell, Rutland Water.

With all eyes on a less than promising weather forecast the competitors made themselves at home at one of the most popular venues used by the UKWA and RYA. The forecast was giving a maximum of 10 knots for the weekend rain and more rain.

Saturday greeted competitors with overcast skies and a light chilly breeze, however as the time to race approached the wind began to fill in and all fleets went afloat. On the main course the race officer ran 2 rounds of racing for all fleets in the morning session.

After lunch as the wind built a further two rounds of extremely exciting course racing for all fleets (techno one) with the wind building to 23 knots made the forecast look a little foolish.

On the junior course race officer Mike Roberts had 48 juniors racing to become 3.5, 4.5 & 5.5 National Champions for 2009. Mike ran two races before lunch and a further 2 races in the afternoon session. The juniors raced is a more sheltered area of the lake but still experienced challenging conditions, it was to the credit of their ability that so many finished the course still smiling and enjoying their racing.

At approximately 4.30pm the 2009 Rutland marathon began with all fleets including the junior sailors starting together. It was decided to sail the course clockwise so competitors began by racing towards the dam wall. With the wind gusting between 10 and 20 knots several competitors retired but the vast majority battled around the course in good time, with the winner finishing in 44 minutes.

1st Keith Atkinson(formula)
2nd Tim Gibson (formula)
3rd George Bowles (RS:X)

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