Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails) confidently reclaims the event lead, winning two of today’s three race finals. Antoine Albeau (Starboard/ NeilPryde) moves up to second place despite failing to qualify for the Race 4 final. Consistency rewards Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde), who bags third position after one discard. Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) keeps the event lead in the women’s competition despite a disqualification hiccup that handed Sarah Hebert (Starboard / Naish) second place. Ayuko Suzuki (Starboard / Gaastra) also went over early but keeps third position overnight.
Men’s Race Three
Micah Buzianis timed the start perfectly and set off in the lead, only to be ruthlessly overtaken by Antoine Albeau at full speed during the first reach. However, Kevin Pritchard was fast catching up, leaving the pack, and overtaking Buzianis to launch a challenge on Albeau for the lead. Now in their own private race, Pritchard and Albeau gathered speed along the second leg through some super-choppy water, and left Arnon Dagan (Fanatic / NeilPryde) heading the pack behind. Unable to catch Albeau, who won, Pritchard settled for second and Dagan held on for third.
Women’s Race 6
Showing starting skill of her usual high standard, Karin Jaggi was untouchable in race 6 and left Sarah Hebert and Ayako Suzuki in their now familiar battle for second and third place. Hebert held her own to score second place over Suzuki in third.
Men’s Race Four
With wind conditions still perfect for downwind slalom, and the six-buoy course with an exciting finish line near the beach there was no delay in starting a fourth race. The qualifiers whipped through at pace with world speed record holder Finian Maynard’s (F2 / NeilPryde) surprisingly failing to qualify for the semi-finals.
Yesterday’s leader Peter Volwater also failed to advance past the semi-final stage and had to watch as Pritchard and Albeau both won theirs to book places in the final.
There were several ‘over-early’s’ in the loser’s final as the cutthroat atmosphere here pushed the elite riders starting skills to the limits. Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde) timed it right and made sure he took first place ahead of compatriot Dan Ellis (Fanatic / Naish) and Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra).
Antoine Albeau made no mistake in crossing the start line bang on the gun in the final, before scorching down the first reach to round the first mark in the lead. However, buried deep in the pack, Kevin Pritchard daringly gybed inside everyone on his shoulders to emerge in the lead early and away from dirty air. Albeau, slowed by the traffic, did well to edge closer to Pritchard over the second leg, despite having Buzianis pressuring him hard well into the third reach. Meanwhile Pritchard expertly forced Albeau into a wide line at the final mark to ensure clean air for the last blast to the finish. Pritchard deservedly grafted his win over Albeau, who was grateful for second and Buzianis in third.
Women’s Race Seven
Sarah Hebert led off the line and headed the fleet over the first two reaches before Ayako Suzuki incisively cut inside her at the second mark to take the lead. Meanwhile Karin Jaggi was up to third position after an average mid-pack start. At the third mark Jaggi desperately tried slide between the impressive Japanese newcomer, who’d stalled her turn, and the mark to gain upwind advantage. However Suzuki recovered fast enough to accelerate away, and it was only on their final gybe that Jaggi got the better of her, stealing her wind and marching over the finish line in first. Suzuki made sure she bagged the second place she deserved as Hebert claimed third.
Women’s Race Eight
In race eight no less than four ladies were disqualified for pushing the start too hard and crossing the line early. Amongst them were event leader Jaggi and front-runner Suzuki, which left the door open for Hebert to score an important result considering the all-important third discard. She led from the re-start and enjoyed a fine race with Yoshie Sasaki until Sasaki fell at the second mark leaving Hebert un-challenged to the finish. Haruna Furusawa came in second and Sasaki’s efforts earned her third. Hebert, high on the victory said ‘I couldn’t believe it when I saw who was disqualified from race eight. But, today I showed what I can do, and now I am even more determined not to let Ayako past me again this event!’
Women’s Race Nine
This time Jaggi was in no mood to make mistakes, and led straight from the start win pursed by Ayako Suzuki who finished third and Armenia’s Sarah Hebert in third.
Women’s Race Ten
Jaggi made it nine wins out of ten with another uncompromising performance leaving no realistic margin between her and Hebert who this time got the better of Suzuki in the battle for second place.
Men’s Race Five
Still blessed with 13-20 knots of wind, race 5 was swiftly started to make the most of the conditions.
This time the big surprise in the qualifying heats was Antoine Albeau’s absence after a risky overtaking attempt on Patrik Diethelm (F2 / North) at the second mark of heat number two. Albeau uncharacteristically catapulted coming out of the gybe and so ended his chance of advancing further.
Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet / Naish) and Finian Maynard were sure to win their semi-finals, and book their places in the last final of the day.
Jimmy Diaz and Kevin Pritchard both started the final well. Diaz explains. ‘We were approaching the line and Kevin and I both had the pin-end to ourselves. I had my nose just in front of him and I backed off a little just to be sure I wasn’t over early, so that kind of gave him the advantage over the first reach. He rounded in first place and the had a clear run to the finish ahead of me’
With Pritchard winning, and Diaz in second it was the ever-consistent Buzianis, last season’s runner up, who claimed third place and third overall for the event so far. ‘It feels good despite it not being my best day’ said Buzianis. ‘My speed is good, but I’m starting badly, plus it’s gusty with many holes in the course. But, I’m just glad to be in Korea again as it’s nice to go to events outside of Europe where we mainly compete’
Pritchard was once more over the moon at his day’s work. ‘I felt like I had weed on my fin in race three’s final and so Antoine got away from me. But the next two finals went well despite it being close on a couple of starts, especially with Jimmy in race 5! I was lucky to even squeak into the last final so I can’t complain with my gear or where I finished up!’
The forecast for tomorrow is once more un-promising, but who knows, in Ulsan it seems anything can happen, and perhaps more wind and more racing action will materialize out of the blue once more. Skipper’s meeting is at 11.00 with a first possible start of 11.30…