SYLT PWA GRAND SLAM – DAY 1
Albeau head and shoulders above the rest
Sunday September 22, 2002
The day started with a torrential downpour, followed by 4 hours of warm
sunshine and light northeasterly winds. Stark contrast to the ominous
weather forecast which predicted bft 5 to 7 increasing to storm force
10!!! Perfect wind strength for wave competition but not conducive to
building the swell when blowing side off to offshore. Race director Klaus
Michel s call at the skippers meeting could only go one way until the
predicted heavy conditions actually arrived.
Racing was the word and by lunchtime 17 to 21 knots was being recorded in
the course area accompanied by everyone s favorite liquid sunshine. The
rain abated but the wind continued to build prior to the first start.
Tackling Sylt s angry spiting shore break was a big enough challenge for
most of the fleet and a significant quantity of laminated carbon was
transformed into a splintered mess as mast after mast was demolished. .
Ladies first! The women s fleet got away cleanly & first to the windward
mark was France s Geraldine Jambert (Starboard), clear ahead of Dorota
Staszewska (Starboard/ Neil Pryde) and Lucy Horwood (AHD/Gaastra). Lucy
Horwood took advantage of an uncharacteristic error by Dorota and forced
her way to the front of the pack and kept going, pulling out a convincing
lead by the downwind mark. With the ever-increasing breeze the girls
looked remarkably comfortable on their 9.0m2 sails & 68cm fins. Lucy
Horwood continued to extend her lead out to about 300m by the finish ahead
of her racing nemesis, Polands Dorota Staszewska and fellow Brit,
Christine Johnston (Starboard/Neil Pryde) who pulled up to 3rd.
I was exhausted after rigging my three sails this morning and I feel so
weak after the last few days of illness, I am amazed I made it round! I
was so overpowered on my 9.0 but I managed to stay on and hold it together
till the finish. I am so happy to win the first one. I definitely need to
That was a really hard race, not just the wind, which must have been 30
knots but the waves were so unpredictable, I was flying most of the time
so I made a mistake and Lucy got ahead.
The men s fleet got away after one general recall sent seven sailors back
to the beach including local favorite Bernd Flessner (F2/ Neil Pryde).
Bernd could only reflect well, its not exactly the best start I could have
hoped for! First to the windward mark was Canadian Sam Ireland
(Starboard/North) and held on for the first leg before being overhauled by
the blur of Antoine Albeau (AHD/ Neil Pryde) on the limit on 11.0
traveling at warp factor 6! There was no stopping Antoine who powered on,
sailing flawlessly to victory. Back on the beach Antoine, in his usual
modest manner had this to say: -
That was probably the hardest race I have ever sailed, I was so
overpowered on my 11.0 that I was totally flying on the upwind leg. I
think I will have to change down for the next one. It is the best start I
could have wished for
Following Antoine with a characteristically solid performance was Micah
Buzianis (Mistral/ North) and just to prove there is life in the old dog
yet, PWA chairman and former racing world champion Phil McGain (Gaastra)
stayed on his feet and held on to his 11.5m2 to muscle into 3rd position.
This was probably due to the pressure from his TEAM team-mate and PWA
racing world champion and current Formula world champion, Kevin Pritchard
(Bic/ Gaastra) who worked his way up to 4th. Then it was back to the beach
for a quick bowl of soup and anything heavy you could eat to help
compensate for ever freshening conditions.
With the wind now pushing 30 knots the Race director Klaus Michel decided
to call it a day for the women, much to Lucy Horwood s relief. No such
respite for the men though and after some minor course alterations it was
back out through that vicious shore break, which once again claimed its
fair share of masts and booms.
Every sailor was now on their 3rd choice and smallest registered sail,
with some wishing they had the option of something smaller than 9.8m2!
Once again the mighty Antoine Albeau displayed awesome board speed and
control to secure another bullet.
That was definitely the hardest race I have ever sailed, I was so
overpowered on my 9.8m2 etc. Familiar comments from the current PWA world
freestyle champion! Without doubt an outstanding performance on the year s
hardest day of racing.
Showing consistent form with a 2nd position to add to his 5th from the
first race was formula specialist, Poland s finest, Wojtek Brzozowski
(Starboard/ Neil Pryde) who seemed to be comfortable with the rough
weather. This was definitely a day for the big guys and they don t get
much bigger than Finian Maynard who was starting to find top gear and
thundered home in 3rd. Muscle award for the day had to go to Micah
Buzianis, who returned to the beach in 4th place, scratching his head and
wondering where his port harness line had gone, sailing unhooked on one
tack with a 9.9m2 in 30knots and rough seas has to be the biggest work out
going! By now the wind had increased even more and many of the wave
sailors were out getting acclimatized to the conditions on 4.5m2 sails!
Sensibly that was it for one stormy days racing and the weather forecast
suggests much more to come for the rest of the week.
Top 6 men after 2 races
1. Antoine Albeau (AHD/ Neil Pryde)
2. Micah Buzianis (Mistral/ North)
3. Wojtek Brozowski (Starboard/Neil Pryde)
4. Kevin Pritchard (Bic/Gaastra)
5. Patrice Belbeoc h (Neil Pryde)
6. Ross Williams (AHD/Gaastra
Top 3 women after 1 race
1. Lucy Horwood (AHD/Gaastra)
2. Dorota Staszewska (Starboard/Neil Pryde)
3. Christine Johnston (Starboard/ Neil Pryde)