The 2005 Fuerteventura PWA Slalom 42 World Cup – Day 6
Thursday July 28, 2005
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With the weather patterns returning to normal, competitors arrived at today’s skippers meeting in a state of nervous anticipation. Despite the wind returning to it’s usual direction, it was several hours before the first whitecaps were visible out to sea and the fleet was finally tempted out onto the water.
Having still to complete their fourth round, it was the men’s division who were first into the straps and blasting across the start line. Quarter final heats went generally according to seeding apart from heat 10, where five premature starters gave an easy route into the final for Micah Buzianis (F2, North) Peter Volwater (F2) and Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic). Other notable performances came from Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (F2, Neil Pryde), Dan Ellis (Fanatic, Naish) and in particular Daniel Aeberli (F2, North) who led his heat from start to finish not only beating, but pulling away from Bjorn Dunkerbeck (North) in the process.
Buzianis, Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra), Antoine Albeau (Neil Pryde) and Cedric Bordes (Tabou, Naish) all passed safely into the final from the first semi, to be joined in the top eight by Costa Hoevel, Ben Van der Steen (Neil Pryde), Ellis and Jimmy Diaz (North) from the second. Missing from the final lineup was the big man himself Dunkerbeck, who only managed fifth position in the semi final leaving him in the outside the top eight for the first time in the contest.
In the losers final, Ross Williams (Starboard, Gaastra) and Cyril Moussilmani gave up their chance, joining the increasing number of sailors on the premature bench and leaving the way clear for Finian Maynard (F2, Naish) to take eighth position, ahead of Volwater and a sadly disappointed Dunkerbeck, struggling in the lighter winds.
Costa Hoevel was a strong favorite to win among the pundits on the beach, having judged every start to perfection. Disastrously for the Argentine, he completely misjudged the start of the final and ended up way behind the pack which was now led by a charging Buzianis. The only man able to stay with the US race guru, along the first reach, was Van der Steen who showed an enormous turn of speed but Diaz was not far behind and with a combination of a perfect racing gybe and quick acceleration, he managed to pas the big Dutchman. Buzianis was flying in the flat water conditions opening up a bigger and bigger lead over Diaz who in turn had pulled away from Van der Steen. By the time Buzianis took the victory salute at the finish line, he was completely out of reach of his would be challengers – Diaz, Van der Steen and Albeau who finished second to fourth respectively.
Women’s round seven was a revelation for 2004 PWA Racing Champ, Allison Shreeve (F2, Neil Pryde) who had clearly got her grove back in the lighter winds. First off the line, she was hotly pursued by Valerie Ghibaudo and Karin Jaggi (F2). Jaggi gybed perfectly to slip by event leader Ghibaudo and challenge Shreeve for the lead, but she simply did not have the board speed to catch the Australian who appeared perfectly in tune with the wind and her equipment. At the line it was Shreeve ahead of Jaggi with Ghibaudo close behind in third and Verena Fauster (F2, Gaastra) trailing in fourth.
Ghibaudo still leads in the women’s division, but the gap is closing as Shreeve and Jaggi step up the pace. Buzianis now moves into the event lead ahead of Dunkerbeck on a tie break, with both riders more than 5 points clear of Albeau in third. There is still a long way to go for the men, so with competition tight at the top, the pressure will be on in the forecast stronger winds over the final 2 days.