PWA Grand Slam Fuerte – Day 1

It has been a ‘full power’ day today at Sotovento. The Fuerteventura World Cup kicked off with two rounds of Slalom 42 and an afternoon of speed, giving the racers no time at all to catch their breath.

Antoine Albeau carried on his winning ways in the first Slalom 42 competition. Most sailors were on 6.8’s and there biggest registered board. It was gusty on the inside with the high tide and really windy out to sea amongst the chop. The downwind slalom course had to 4 gybes and 3 really broad legs making control essential if you wanted a good result. The light inside gybe mark posed a problem for a lot of people as they struggled to plane out of the gybe. Bjorn Dunkerbeck was leading the last final to the second gybe, but then came out slow letting Albeau through. Albeau was never again seen by the rest of the pack. His speed astonishing.

The first ladies race was all about Karin Jaggi, she was never challenged at all. The rest of the fleet all fell at the first gybe mark letting her get away clean. Her nearest competitor in terms of speed on the first race was Alison Shreeve from Austrailia, Alison managed to crock herself a bit in a wipeout and was limping in after the first race. The Swiss windsurfing machinette, was untouchable until the last race where Valerie Ghibahdo lead all the way home. The ladies were then first up on the speed course, so no rest for the wicked!

Bjorn Dunkerbeck stamped his authority in the last final. He lead to the first buoy came out fast and never looked back. Micah Buzianis came between him and Antoine Albeau, allowing Bjorn to take the overall lead for the day. Bjorn was certainly not having it all his way on the route to the final, he had to fight to qualify, but the only win that matters is the final. Finian Maynard is super quick, and always seems to be on a bigger sail, he suffered in the last final where he fell after the gybe, dropping back to 10th. Now a bit of advice here – make sure you never go anywhere near a racer if they think they have had a bad heat. And since only 3 people can make the top 3, this means that they all have had one – stay clear!

Of the sailors standing out for consistency today were Jimmy Diaz, Kevin Pritchard, Ross Williams and Cyril Mousilmani the were never off the pace all day. Ross was rightly given a readdress to be in the last final when Jesper Orth from Australia took him out in the semi. Jesper has also won both Losers finals. Some freestylers were also making and impression in the Slalom, Dioni Guadagnino made the first final and has only one slalom board and two sails! Taty Frans is going well, a touch slower than the top guys (he only has his Super X board) and his starts are off the pace, but where he stands out are his gybes. At present they look the best of the whole fleet – someone give him a slalom board!

As yet the speed results are not up. Dan Ellis was going well, but there is a good amount of swell and decent breaking waves for wave riding. Speed sailing in waves! A lot of sailors got caught out by a momentary lull and took too bigger sails. The best sails to have were in the range of 6.2 and 5.8. (4.7 – 4.2 for normal windsurfing). The course was broad and at a really good angle, however a lot of sailors opted to use their smallest slalom gear. Dan recorded over 38knots on his GPS and just over 34 along the speed course.

More information can be found on the PWA site.

Photo Credit: PWA/Carter


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