The Sylt PWA 2004 Labello Grand Slam Day 1
After a glorious day of sunshine the first day of the 2004 Sylt event has
ended in victory for top French sailor Antoine Albeau (AHD/Neil Pryde).
The early morning light showed that there were a few waves and some wind
but not quite enough for world championship wave competition so the wave
sailors went into a holding pattern of half hourly updates. Josh Angulo
was determined to make the most of the conditions and went out on the
water to tune up. He had this to say about this year’s competition.
“After a good result here last year I am fired up for this event. I’ve
been working on my equipment and it is working well so I have high hopes.”
After a long nervous wait the decision was made to take the wave sailors
off their holding status and gather the racers for some action. Before the
start of the first official race a fun race was organized for the benefit
of the thousands of spectators who had packed the seafront. Racing close
to the shore the top racers in the world put on a display of fast paced
Formula racing. Bernd Flessner (F2/Neil Pryde), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Neil
Pryde) and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra) were all over early and
disqualified so winning was POL-11 Pawel Hlavaty (Starboard/Neil Pryde)
taking home the fun race prize fund of 500 euro, not a bad days work, and
it was only a bit of fun!
Race one of the 2004 PWA Labello Sylt racing event got underway at 18.30
in front of a packed beach front. Leading off the line was Antoine Albeau
closely followed by Kevin Pritchard. Albeau had pulled out a healthy lead
by the windward mark and stormed off down the reach. Further down the
fleet there was a real tussle for 4th and 5th place Arnon Dagon
(Fanatic/Neil Pryde) was trying hard to make it past Dutch racing young
gun Roy Van Koolwijk (Fanatic) and by the end of the race there was still
only a few meters separating the two sailors.
The conditions were perfect for racing with good winds and a bit of swell.
With the sun preparing to set on the horizon the sailors sped around the
course. Micah Buzianis (F2/North Sails) wasn’t going all that fast as he
limped back to the beach just after the start. He was involved in a start
line collision with Pieter Bijl (Fanatic/Neil Pryde) from Holland. Nobody
was injured in the crash but Micah sailed back into the beach knowing that
he would be disqualified from the race. The rest of the fleet made good
progress around the course enjoying the first racing action of the event.
After 2 laps the dominance of Frenchmen Antoine Albeau was clear to see as
he crossed the line ahead of Kevin Pritchard in 2nd Steve Allen
(Fanatic/Neil Pryde) in 3rd and Roy Van Koolwijk in 4th ahead of Arnon
Dagon on 5th.
Albeau was delighted and waved at the crowd as he crossed the line Kevin
Pritchard looked pleased but it goes without saying that he would have
preferred to be in 1st. Just as the last few sailors crossed the finish
line the sun dropped below the horizon and the first day’s competition had
been very successful. The forecast is for more wind and waves tomorrow so
a 7.30 am skippers meeting has been called for all wavesailors. With 8
days still to run the fun has only just begun.