An unpromising forecast had the racers waiting on tenterhooks this morning as a light breeze cleared the early morning fog before finally building into a suitable thermal wind for racing. First on the agenda was the completion of Men’s Race 2.
All the top seeds passed through the qualifying heats and into some tough semi-final match-ups.
Jimmy Diaz (F2 / North) started his day of fine starting performance to fly into the lead of the first semi ahead of Antoine Albeau. Albeau’s blistering speed hauled him back in front, but Diaz fought hard at the third mark to sneak inside Albeau and to steal clean air from the Frenchman to re-take the initiative. However, Albeau once more showed exceptional pace to edge his way back on top, and crossed the line first to book his place in the final.
Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde) comfortably took the second semi-final win ahead of Finian Maynard (F2 / NeilPryde), Kevin Pritchard, and new face in Slalom 42, Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde), who’s showing great potential at this elite level.
Pieter Bijl (Fanatic / NeilPryde), who narrowly missed qualification from the first semi, won the loser’s final ahead of Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet / Naish) who was disqualified from the second semi, and Arnon Dagan (Fanatic / NeilPryde), who’d sat in third place overnight.
As the crucial last seconds ticked by in the countdown of the Race 2 final’s starting sequence, one man realized he’d timed it right and watched all 7 of his rivals cross the line prematurely. Peter Volwater, a seasoned and wily competitor, cunningly eased off the throttle to let the fleet cross early, and so earned his victory before the race-proper had even started.
In the ladies fleet Karin Jaggi showed much improved starting skill from yesterday, and ruthlessly used this advantage to protect her lead. In Women’s Race 3 she put considerable distance between herself and Sarah Hebert, and Ayuko Suzuki who had a fantastic struggle for the runners-up slot. On this occasion Hebert succeeded after accelerating away from Suzuki on the 4th leg to score second as Ayuko settled for third.
In race 4 Jaggi once more sped off the line and put a considerable margin between herself and the rest of the fleet. This time however Ayuko Suzuki put the hammer down and kept Hebert at bay to claim second over Armenia’s sole representative.
Men’s Race Three started immediately afterwards and the qualifying heats were run in lighter winds than earlier in the day.
Jimmy Diaz continued his exhibition of precision starting skill to lead both his first heat and the first semi-final, and held his advantage long enough to qualify for the final ahead of Kevin Pritchard. Antoine Albeau, who although below par performed well to register third, especially considering such light winds are hardly the heavyweight’s preference.
Micah Buzianis, the 2006 runner-up who’s performed consistently so far, won the second semi whilst Patrik Diethelm (F2 / North), F2’s shaper/racer, showed an improved performance to claim second ahead of Volwater, and the impressive Robby Swift.
The loser’s final was attempted, and once more a bunch of disqualifications were handed out when Julien Quentel (Starboard / NeilPryde), Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra), Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic / North), and Jesper Orth (Starboard / Severne) jumped the gun. Sadly the wind faded and a re-run was off the cards and racing cancelled for the day.
Volwater and Jaggi stay in pole position over night and will look forward to consolidating their leads, although tomorrow’s outlook is, according to forecasts, not promising…