Antoine Albeau leads the fleet in the 2009 PWA Ulsan

May 19, 2009 | Windsurfing

2009 PWA Ulsan, day three

Shrugging off the past two days of windless calm, day three in Korea saw Jinha Beach awake to show its true colours. Serving up wall to wall blue sky accompanied by strengthening side shore wind, the sailors took their positions to start proceedings.

The women’s fleet were first to christen the race course, with Sarah Hebert (Starboard / Naish) setting the early pace: “The first race was really light, but I got a good start so I was leading from the beginning. After that I managed to stay in front and make some good gybes; I was pumping a lot to make sure I was going fast. I’m really happy with the win, it’s the first time I’ve won competing against Valerie (Ghibaudo) and Karin (Jaggi). Now I know I can win!”

The second women’s clash saw Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / The Loft) muscle her way to the front of the pack to claim her first race win: “I got a really nice start, but it was hard conditions. Sometimes it was really light and then there were really strong gusts. Luckily I managed to hold on and win, but I think I made a lot of mistakes today. Tomorrow I’m going to try and sail better and hope I have good luck!”

However, stealing the show was Karin Jaggi (Severne), who displayed composure to win the remaining two races and in turn take the event lead at competition’s midway point. Also looking threatening in the building wind was Turkey’s Lena Erdil (Starboard / Loft Sails), who currently sits in third overall thanks to a string of consistent results that included a second and a third place finish.

The first men’s race was dominated by Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne), who took charge of the final, holding off Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North Sails) in second and flying Dutchman Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet / Simmer) in third. Surprisingly, previous event winner, Ross Williams (Gaastra / Tabou), was absent from the race final after false starting in his semi final.

The saying ‘business as usual’ springs to mind when describing the remaining two race eliminations. Dialled into the conditions and looking rock solid at the front of the pack, Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) showed true class to sail to victory in both showdowns. More impressively, the Frenchman completed this feat without the use of one of his index fingers, after a deep cut on the palm of his hand recently got infected and required surgery.

Antoine Albeau: “It’s quite hard sailing here, as we’re in the bay, and the wind is coming off the hills, so it’s really, really gusty. Today it was blowing 7-22 knots, it’s really up and down. It makes the starts hard as well. Sometimes there are a lot of gusts, and others it’s super light. You really have to concentrate to get a good start.”

“In race two Micah (Buzianis) was leading. It was quite tight between us, especially at the second reach and the second gybe. We were right together, so close we almost crashed, and after that I came on the inside and overtook him to win.”

“In race three, Finian (Maynard) took the first gybe, he was leading and I was second, but I managed to have a really nice gybe on that first mark. On the second reach I found a nice gust and overtook him…so two wins out of three, I’m really happy.”

Inroads were also made into the fourth men’s elimination, which saw the controversial exit of Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne) after Finian Maynard (RRD / NeilPryde) took him out the race with an unexpected collision. Maynard also failed to qualify for the final. Race four was stopped short at the second semi final after the wind backed off too much to continue.

Day four’s skippers meeting is scheduled for 9.30am, with a first possible start to racing at 10.00am.

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