Antoine Albeau

Another two rounds of speed sailing have been completed today in epic conditions.  Antoine Albeau (FRA, Starboard) and Karin Jaggi (SUI, F2, North) are now leading the overall ranking after six rounds and one discard.

The day started already windy, and all sailors were aware of what would follow. The first start was scheduled for 11:00 then, and the 63 competitors were off on the water.

This time it was Patrick Diethelms (ITA, F2, North) turn, winning the first leg ahead of Dunkerbeck (T1/Proof, North) and Antoine Albeau. Chris Lockwood (AUS, Carbon Art, KA Sails) in fourth, finally his equipment was tuned for the conditions.

With quite a big swell speedsailing in Fuerteventura is different to the flat water of Sandy Point, where Chris is regulary setting world class speeds. Another surprise in fifth, Dan Ellis from Great Britain scored his best result so far.

In the second leg then, the revenge of Antoine, with 40.54 the top speed of the competition. Diethelm in second this time, and Finian Maynard (BVI) finding his way back to the top with a third place. Dunkerbeck in fourth, and all three Moussilmani brothers in fifth to seventh place.

The womens competition was dominated by Karin Jaggi today, with a top speed of 35.53 knots she would have ranked 17th in the mens competition... Valerie Ghibaudo (FRA, Loft Sails) was not fully powered up today, only two second places for the lady.

The overall ranking is still lead by Antoine Albeau, with a perfect score of 3.5 points. Patrik Diethelm then behind, chased by Bjorn Dunkerbeck. Finian Maynard and Cyril Moussilmani (FRA, Fanatic, North Sails) already clear behind as well.

In the womens fleet a clear picture now as well, with Karin ahead of Valerie, Marion Raisi (FRA) and Emanuelle Duby (FRA) fighting for the place on the podium.

The forecast for tomorrow looks even better than today, and with the second discard after seven races then the ranking can be still mixed up. With another two days to go and a good forecast it will be a close battle for the world championship title until the last race.

PWA Fuerteventura 2008

Entering the final day of competition, the top positions in both the men’s and women’s fleets had already been decided upon, after Marcilio Browne (Mistral, Gaastra) and Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, NeilPryde) dominated the first two eliminations, making them effectively untouchable.

However, in both fleets the remaining positions on the podium were wide open, with the subsequent third double elimination proving crucial for all involved.

In the men’s elimination, Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra) had given himself the most work to do if he wanted to bag a place on the podium. He started his assault six heats back from the final, by beating Anthony Ruenes (Tabou, Gaastra).

Gaining momentum and looking evermore dangerous, Normen Gunzlein (JP, NeilPryde) and Antxon Otaegui (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) were Thode’s next victims, before he sat on a collision course with Ricardo Campello, who had his sights firmly set on second position in the event.

When crunch time came, it was Thode who was packing the biggest blows. A barrage of air funnels and super slick triple spocks had Campello on the back foot, and some costly falls form Campello eventually awarded Thode the victory. Campello had still done enough to claim a podium position in third overall.

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Antoine Albeau

First shock to the final day’s proceedings was that Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) would not be participating after sustaining a broken leg in the previous day’s racing.

The upshot of Buzianis’s injury meant he’d clock up last place finishes in all subsequent races, a devastating blow to his event campaign considering he was ranked second overall.

Men’s Eliminations

Having completed 11 races over the previous four days, the men’s fleet needed to rack up a minimum of two races on the final day to gain a crucial third discard (i.e a sailor’s worst three results could be discarded).

Ample wind and time on the clock meant this wouldn’t be an issue, and the first two races were completed back to back before lunch.

A late flourish from Benoit Moussilmani (F2, Simmer Sails) saw him sail home to victory in the final of race 12, awarding him his first ever race win in PWA competition.

Behind him, Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet, Simmer) continued his assault on the podium in second, and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1, North Sails) added a third to his bag of results. Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) took a conservative tenth place, handing him the guaranteed event title, with races still to go.

The second of the day’s races saw Albeau, the consummate professional, continue to dig his teeth in and sail to yet another victory, when he could have sat back and reveled in his glory. And crucially, Dunkerbeck, who finished in sixth, had done enough to cement himself into second position overall for the event. 

Meanwhile, more solid sailing from Van Der Steen earned him second, and Volwater (F2, North) found his feet in third. Van Der Steen’s result meant he was in contention for third place overall, but rivals Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) and Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, MFC, Dakine) had also done enough to be knocking on the podium’s door. Therefore, positions three, four, and five would all be settled in the event’s final nail biting race.

First to falter in the pressure cooker like final race was Williams, “I was leading my semi final, then when I flipped the sail at the second gybe, I fell in and there was no wind so I couldn’t get up. I’d already put the hard work in on the first reach, but just got unlucky and kooked a gybe y’know, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

William’s blunder placed him the losers final, and fifth place overall. Van Der Steen and Pritchard had both done enough to make the final, meaning the pair would go head to head for the remaining place on the podium.

The super tense final started with a bullet from Albeau, who threw caution to the wind and disappeared down the fist reach after a perfectly timed start. He wouldn’t be seen again, winning the last race of the event in style with a mammoth jump over the finish line.

A crash from Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine) caused havoc at mark two, allowing Pritchard to sneak through the pack and sail into third behind Volwater, it was enough for him to claim third place overall. Van Der Steen also took a fall ending in ninth, and thus fourth place overall.

Antoine Albeau: “I started the event really well with three firsts, but I was taking a lot of risks to win. After that I dropped down a bit to stay safe. I didn’t want to go over early or make stupid mistakes, just be consistent. I think I did a good job, and today after the first race I knew I’d won the event, so I went full on. I could have stopped, but I just had to win those last two races, and I did. I’m really happy now!”

Kevin Pritchard: “In that last final I was really focused on not crashing, the wind was so strong. It was crazy, there was people going everywhere. I didn’t know how good I was doing, then Josh (Angulo) fell at the second mark. I was kinda committed to my line, and almost ran right into him. I think that piled everybody up, but I just squeezed through, and going round the last mark I saw Ben (Van Der Steen) a bit back, so I knew I was doing alright.”

Ben Van Der Steen: “Considering how I started the event, I’m pretty stoked how I finished. Of course there was a chance I could have got third, and I’m a little pissed off I didn’t get it, but I’m so stoked with fourth place.

Ross Williams: “Considering after two races I was bolt last, I’d say 5th overall’s a pretty good comeback!”

The 2008 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam Men’s Results:

1st Antoine Albeau
2nd Bjorn Dunkerbeck
3rd Kevin Pritchard
4th Ben Van Der Steen
5th Ross Williams

The Season as it stands:

1st Antoine Albeau
2nd Kevin Pritchard
3rd Bjorn Dunkerbeck
4th Cyril Moussilmani
5th Peter Volwater

Women’s Eliminations

The women’s fleet sailed two races on the final day. Valerie Ghibaudo fought to claim second place in the first race, doing enough to seal her the event victory. Karin Jaggi added a fifth race win her impressive tally, making her untouchable in second place overall, and Sarah Hebert (Starboard, Naish) cruised across the line in third, edging her up the overall scores.

Moving into the second and final elimination, Nagoshi (Simmer) and Korzitz were locked in a battle for third position overall. Aiding Nagoshi, Korzitz took a fall rounding the third mark, meaning Nagoshi just had to stay upright and hold onto her third place in the race to beat Korzitz in the overall rankings.

On the finish line, Ghibaudo won in true style, with Jaggi in second, and Nagoshi holding on to take third. Nagoshi’s podium finish is all the more impressive considering she was competing on borrowed equipment right the way down to her fin bolts!

Valerie Ghibaudo: “For my sponsors, I really wanted to do well here, so I feel superb. It’s fantastic to come first. I had some really close runs with Karin Jaggi, and conditions were really difficult all five days, so it hasn’t been easy. It’s still sinking in that I’ve actually won, I just hope I can sail like this at the next event in Alaçati!”

The 2008 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam Women’s Results:

1st Valerie Ghibaudo
2nd Karin Jaggi
3rd Junk Nagoshi
4th Lee Korzitz
5th Sarah-Quita Offringa

The Season as it stands:

1st Karin Jaggi
2nd Lee Korzitz
3rd = Iballa Moreno
3rd = Valerie Ghibaudo
5th Alice Arutkin

Source: PWA World Tour

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