Pegasus Airlines Alaçati PWA World Cup

Starting the day with the second race in the men’s fleet, the 74 man first round was quickly pruned down to two ten man semi finals without major upset.

Showing his thirst for victory, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1, North) made light work of the 4 buoy down wind course to sail to victory in his semi final, with rival Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) mimicking his performance in the second semi final. The pair both advanced to the final where they’d go head to head.

Final time, and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, MFC, Dakine) made his presence known as he pressured Dunkerbeck for the number one spot. Behind them and off the pace of the leaders, Albeau jostled with Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) for third position.

The final reach said it all, as Dunkerbeck opened up an impressive lead to cruise to victory completely untouched by his nearest challenger, Pritchard, who took second place. The Albeau vs. Williams battle ended with William’s succumbing to the World Champion’s brute strength in fourth, leaving Albeau free to take third position.

In the losers final, Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde) put his foot down to sail to victory ahead of Arnon Dagan (Fanatic, Gaastra) in second and Cedric Bordes (Tabou, Gaastra) in third.

Moving directly into race three, proceedings seemed to sway in favor of the unexpected.  The first shock came when Peter Bijl (Fanatic, NeilPryde) blew his chances in the first round with a false start.

Moving into the quarterfinals, and Chris Pressler (Starboard, Severne) fell to the same fate when he crossed the start line early. This however, was only a small taste of things to come.

Rolling onto the first semi final, the crowds were dumbstruck when they heard that seven of the ten-man heat had false started. Amongst the perpetrators were Albeau, Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde), Peter Volwater (F2, North) and Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet, Simmer). The mass disqualification left Pritchard, Matt Wemms (Fanatic, North) and Jesper Orth (Starboard, Severne) free to advance without even having to sail the heat.

The second semi final was marginally more predictable despite Dan Ellis’ (Fanatic, MauiSails) disqualification thanks to the seemingly contagious spat of false starts.

In the rerun minus Ellis, Dunkerbeck stole the heat from Bora Kozanoglu (Starboard), but his victory was by no means handed to him on a plate, as the defiant Turk battled right to the finish line to claim a well-earned second place.

In the race final, local Kozanoglu seemed hell-bent on avenging his previous clash with Dunkerbeck. Sniffing his first ever race win, and backed by the ecstatic local crowd, the Turkish racer summoned an almighty performance to fend off Dunkerbeck and defy all the doubters. Rapturous applause congratulated the local hero as he claimed the race as his, leaving Dunkerbeck to settle for second, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet, NeilPryde) in third and Pritchard fourth.

The twelve strong losers final was won by Albeau, who’d done the best he could to make amends for his semi final shocker.

Moving over to the women’s fleet for race two, and Verena Fauster (F2, Gaastra) and Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou, The Loft) made their intentions clear, winning their respective semi finals.

Advancing into the final, Karin Jaggi seemed the most determined to take the race win. After a spirited performance she sat untouched at the front of the fleet, leaving Marta Hlavaty (MauiSails) and Lee Korzitz (Tabou, Gaastra) to fight it out for second. On the finish line, Jaggi won by a clear margin, and Hlavaty sneaked ahead of Korzitz to take second.

In the women’s losers final, Lena Erdil (Loft) bounced back after narrowly missing out on a spot in the final. A stellar performance awarded her with the win ahead of Annika Gillgren (Severne).

Race three saw Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou, Loft) return to dominance after victory in her semi final. In the ensuing final she laid waste to Jaggi’s advances to add another victory to her name. Jaggi had to make do with second place and Armenia’s Sarah Hébert (Starboard, Naish) mopped up the remaining podium place in third.

A depleted losers final thanks to three false starts saw Gillgren take the victory and therefore place eleventh in that race.

Pegasus Airlines Alaçati PWA World Cup

The biggest players in the PWA’s prestigious Slalom discipline have touched down in Alaçati, Turkey, joining forces with an impressive local racing contingent.

The combined total of the men’s and women’s fleets comes in just short of 100 competitors, making this the biggest racing fleet in eight years.

The first morning of the event was set aside for rigging and registration, giving the local thermal wind plenty of time to build before racing commenced in the afternoon.

When registration was completed, 75 men and 18 women signed up for the event, and the trademark Alaçati wind had built to a solid 20-25 knots, accompanied by super smooth water. In nothing short of perfect slalom conditions, the event was ready to be christened with the first men’s and women’s races.

Starting with the men’s fleet, the first round of heats passed without upset, the only exception being Dan Ellis (Fanatic, MauiSails), who let nerves get the better of him when he false started. The implications mean Ellis clocks up a 75th position finish and will no doubt have to use one of his discards on the result should four races be completed (four races grants the first discard).

Flying the Turkish flag, Enes Yilmazer (JP, NeilPryde) carried the hopes of the local fans on his shoulders. A promising start saw him fly into fourth in his first heat, but a lapse of concentration in the subsequent round meant he missed out on a place in the semi finals by one position.

Moving through to the semi finals and Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde) showed a welcome return to form. The iconic speed sailor looked dominant in a heat laden with slaloms heaviest hitters, and ultimately stormed to victory ahead of second and third place rivals Jimmy Diaz (North) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1, North).

In the lower half of the draw, there wasn’t a great deal of surprise when Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) emerged victorious in his semi final. Sailing fast in second place, Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet, Simmer) looked hungry to continue his run of form after finishing 4th place overall in the last event in Fuerteventura.

Moving into the final and predictability struck again when Albeau barged his way to the front of the fleet. Starting as he no doubt intends to go on, he claimed the first race and early event lead as his. Always consistent, Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, MFC, Dakine) settled into his familiar second position, and Maynard looked like he was warming up for bigger and better things in third.

Toping the ranks in the losers final was Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (F2, NeilPryde, MFC), who had his work cut out to defeat Peter Bijl (Fanatic, NeilPryde), who’s more determined than ever after missing out on the start of the season due to issues with the US immigration process!

In the women’s fleet the seething Turkish crowd showed their support for compatriots and PWA regulars Cagla Kubat (Starboard, North) and Lena Erdil (The Loft). In response, the pair made their way into the final and proceeded to take 8th and 7th respectively.

Familiarly it was Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou, The Loft) and Karin Jaggi (F2, North) that had the firmest grip on the finale, fuelled by an age-old rivalry that’s pushed them to another level of racing.

In this instance it was Ghibaudo that took top honors, leaving Jaggi simmering in second and Verena Fauster (F2, Gaastra) in third. Polish racer Mara Hlavaty (MauiSails) put her mark on the loser’s final when she crossed the finish line in first.

Audi NeilPryde Baltic Cup

About 70 windsurfers from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Russia gathered together to celebrate the final event for 2008 in Estonia and compete in Formula or Raceboard classes. Latvian Janis Preiss was declared the best windsurfer in the Baltics & Finland.

During the season the competitions of the Audi NeilPryde Baltic Cup were organized in Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland, all of them being Level 3 Formula Windsurfing World Ranking events. The final event always takes place in Estonia where exactly ten years ago Mr Neil Pryde himself honoured our competition by visiting Estonia.

This year the most important windsurfing competition series in the Baltics and Finland – Audi NeilPryde Baltic Cup - celebrated its 10th anniversary. 8th-10th of August the last of the four events in the series took place in Roomassaare, Estonia where Latvian Janis Preiss (LAT-23, Neilpryde/Starboard) won all races held.

Estonians Martin Ervin (EST-202, Neilpryde/Starboard) and Toomas Mölder (EST-44, Gaastra/Gaastra) took the second and third places. The first three were the same also in the overall results of the Audi NeilPryde Baltic Cup 2008.

At least three races were needed to calculate the results of the event. Very good wind conditions (12-28 knots) enabled to do 9 races for both Formula and Raceboard classes. Adrenaline, crashes, breaking the equipment and smiling happy faces were part of the competition an all three racing days.

In the prize giving ceremony on Sunday cups were handed out to the fastest in the Estonian event and the best in overall as well.

The best on the Estonian event follow:
Audi NeilPryde Baltic Cup 2008 the final event, Formula, overall:
1.    Janis Preiss (LAT-23) Neilpryde/Starboard
2.    Martin Ervin (EST-202) Neilpryde/Starboard
3.    Toomas Mölder (EST-44) Gaastra/Gaastra

Audi NeilPryde Baltic Cup 2008 the final event, Raceboard, overall:
1.    Ingrid Puusta (EST-215) Neilpryde RS:X
2.    Benjamin Siirak (EST-67)
3.    Uldis Akmentins (LAT-31)

The best in the series, that is after 4 events are:
Audi NeilPryde Baltic Cup 2008, Formula, overall:
1.    Janis Preiss (LAT-23) Neilpryde/Starboard
2.    Martin Ervin (EST-202) Neilpryde/Starboard
3.    Toomas Mölder (EST-44) Gaastra/Gaastra

Audi NeilPryde Baltic Cup 2008, Raceboard, overall:
1.  Ingrid Puusta (EST-215)
2.  Gunnars Rosenbergs (LAT-1)
3.  Ilona Grinberga (LAT-18)