The 2006 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam Day One
Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11,T1 / North) fights back to take the event lead at Sotavento, whilst tour leader Antoine Albeau (F192 Starboard / Neil Pryde) has to settle for second, after 2 races. Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2 / North Sails) takes the lead with three wins from four races despite stiff opposition from Valerie Ghibaudo (FRA-444).
The event kicked off this morning with excellent conditions, and racing got underway at 10.30 A 5 leg downwind course was set with the inside marks in front of the grandstands giving the crowds the best possible view of the gybe mark action.
Men’s Race One
Some of the strong Dutch contingent were too eager to start, resulting in Peter Volwater (H-24 F2 / North Sails), Pieter Bijl (NED-0, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde) and Dennis Littel (NED-13, F2 / MauiSails) being disqualified from heat four. Apart from this, most of the top seeds all advanced to the final, and Jesper Orth (AUS 10 Starboard / Severne) won the losers final. Also making a fine debut to Slalom 42 was top freestyler Diony Guadagnino (V-69 Mistral / NeilPryde) who made the final on his first attempt.
Dunkerbeck led the fleet from the start of the final and reached the first mark ahead of Albeau. On the second reach Albeau closed in on Dunkerbeck who was pushing hard upwind to get a good line for his second gybe. It looked as Dunkerbeck had made a good turn and kept the lead until Albeau steamed inside of him, taking his wind and sped into the lead as Dunkerbeck struggled to get back onto the plane. Albeau then extended his lead through the third, fourth and last reaches, whilst Finian Maynard (KV-11 F2 / NeilPryde) and Kevin Pritchard (US-3 Starboard / Maui Sails) fought for third position. Albeau won by a clear margin with Dunkerbeck in second and Maynard winning the fight for third.
Women’s Race One
Karin Jaggi gave a fine example of starting technique as she shot off the start of the first women’s race. Jaggi was chased hard by Allison Shreeve (AUS-911, F2 / NeilPryde), but the 2006 world champion held her off with superior board speed all the way to the finish. Shreeve finished in second and Valerie Ghibaudo (FRA-444) claimed third place.
Women’s Race Two
A second race was run straight away. This time Ghibadou was too early and earnt a disqualification. Jaggi was first again from the re-start and got great speed to establish a strong lead. She was chased hard by Verena Fauster (ITA-31 F2 / Gaastra) and Shreeve, but neither could match Jaggi’s speed as she clocked up another win. Fauster sped through the finish in second and Shreeve in third.
Men’s Race Two
The first four heats saw no surprises but in heat five Arnon Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic / NeilPryde) failed to advance to the final, and Steve Allen (AUS-0 Tabou / Gaastra) only just made the cut by finishing in sixth.
Heat 6 was packed with action and controversy as Jesper Orth was disqualified for dangerous sailing, after a reckless collision with Kevin Pritchard and Ross Williams (GBR-83, Tabou/ Gaastra). Despite being taken out Pritchard was lucky as he was perhaps struggling to make the final anyway, but result adjustments according to the rulebook, meant both he and Wiliams advanced and made the final 14 men instead of 12.
Everyone was wondering if Albeau was going to register another victory for the second race final and start forming a monopoly as he did in Pozo last week. However Albeau got a poor start to the final and it was Dunkerbeck who was seen streaking off the line and leading the first reach, pursued by Micah Buzianis (US-34 JP / NeilPryde). Albeau pulled out of the pack well and took an upwind line to the first mark which allowed him to recover to round the mark, passing numerous sailors, to move into third behind Buzianis and Dunkerbeck. By the third reach Dunkerbeck really started to gain speed and extended his lead. Dunkerbeck won easily and although Albeau was gaining on Buzianis, it was the American who finished second with Albeau third. With a first and a second Dunkerbeck had done enough to take the event lead as competition was stopped for the day in favour of speedsailing.
Women’s Race 3
A third women’s race was started straight away. Jaggi fired into gear straight from the starting gun and put a huge gap between her and the rest of the pack who had all started much slower. No one could catch her and so the battle for second and third was set between Fauster and Ghibaudo. Former racing world champion Shreeve, who was struggling with an injury, was at the back of the pack as Jaggi crossed the line to win, and Ghibaudo finished second and Fauster third.
Women’s Race 4
This time it was Ghibadou who started well, ahead of Jaggi and Shreeve. Ghibaudo lead to the first mark and kept ahead of Jaggi into the second reach as Shreeve fell and let Fauster go into third. Jaggi and Ghibaudo fought hard as they approached the second mark. Jaggi tried to turn inside Ghibadou but failed to pass her. The exciting battle continued down the last reach as both racers were seen putting incredible distance between the rest of the fleet approaching the finish line. Ghibadou won and Jaggi came second. Sarah Herbert (NC-6 Starboard) won the battle for third place.
After 4 races and one discard Jaggi holds pole position with Ghibaudo in second and Fauster third.