The 2007 Catalunyan Costa Brava PWA World Cup Slalom – Final day
Costa Brava serves up a final-day feast of racing. World Champion Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde) leap-frogged American star Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde, who finished second, to take the event title and secure the tour lead. Windsurfing legend Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1 / North) finishes up third overall.
In typical fashion, the Bay of Roses came up with the goods on the last day of competition after an agonizing wait for wind.
1. Antoine Albeau
2. Bjorn Dunkerbeck
3. Finian Maynard (F2 / NeilPryde)
Albeau was like a coiled spring and straight out of the blocks after day’s spent idle waiting for suitable conditions ‘I was upwind by the boat and had the best start I could ask for, right next to Bjorn. I was on my 9.0 and everyone else had much smaller sails so I had so much speed. I led the first mark and then all the way round – a great way to start the day’
It was a tribute to the Frenchman’s strength and resolve that he hung onto a larger sail than Dunkerbeck, who was ‘only’ on an 8.3, which was still bigger than most had opted for.
1. Bernd Flessner (F2 /NeilPryde)
2. Antoine Albeau
3. Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet / Naish)
By the time the fifth race went into sequence the wind had actually dropped back to around 15 knots. This time Albeau was caught napping in the final, and the wise head of the vastly experienced racer Bernd Flessner got line honors. The German was hardly even out of breath on returning to the beach, and spoke coolly about his win. ‘That final was perfect. I had a brilliant start, which is all you can ask for really. For those conditions my equipment was perfect. I have a great new fin, and I was on my Medium and a 7.2. I knew I had speed after that second day when we had stronger conditions, so that good start was all I needed to make it count, plus I had great confidence today, especially with my gybing’
1. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails)
2. Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic / North)
3. Antoine Albeau
The Race Director made no hesitation in getting Race 6 underway to make the most of the conditions, especially as by now the 4th race discard had come into effect.
In a straightforward race, Kevin Pritchard drove it home to win back some confidence after a poor event for the American, who’d arrived in Catalunya as the tour leader. Kev said, ‘It felt good to come back from a pretty disastrous start to win a race. I had a good pin-end start and stayed out front all the way to the finish’
1. Cyril Moussilmani
2. Patrik Diethelm (F2 / North)
3. Kevin Pritchard
The third race was pending after being abandoned earlier in the week. As the wind was now well above 20 knots this half-fleet format was perfect for entertaining the crowds on the beach with the magnificent sight of two 24-man heats, and a final streaking across the water in brilliant sunshine.
French all rounder Cyril Moussilmani found the extended course the race-crew had set ideal. ‘I chose a smaller sail than most people, taking a 6.8 to handle the longer legs. I started upwind by the boat, and the extra control was perfect as everyone else was overpowered and struggling. I got to the first mark in the lead after easily passing a load of people, which was pretty cool. At the second mark it was a bit hairy as I nearly crashed after a bow wave from a boat messed the approach to the gybe up. I was flying out of it clew-first with my ass in the water and only just flipped it in time to recover and protect my lead’
Albeau celebrated his birthday in fine style today, and heads to the next event in Lanzarote in fine shape. ‘I was really happy to win here, especially because I wasn’t really sure after the first race, when Micah took the lead, how much more wind we’d get. Micah finished in front of me in Korea and Kevin will now be relying on a discard, so I’m on course now for the title, but there’s a long way to go yet’
Micah Buzianis, event runner-up and now second overall admitted he’d blundered after leading the event until now. ‘There’s plenty I’d change about this event. I made a lot of mistakes today, and I really didn’t think we’d race as much as we did today. I lost my concentration a bit after getting a bad start, I was over-powered and it was tough conditions, and then went over early on the next race. But, my focus now is on Lanzarote, and to go home and enjoy some time with my wife and kids which I’m really looking forward too’
Bjorn Dunkerbeck, who missed the first event of the season placed third here, and will need an event discard to help him rise up from 17th where he lies now.
Pritchard is still in contention, despite surrendering his tour lead and dropping to third in the overall rankings.
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