ISA Speedsurfing Grand Prix Fuerteventura 2007 – Final Report
A great speedsailing event came to an end yesterday, with both event titles going away only by the last race. Finian Maynard (BVI. F2) had a clear event lead before the final day as Karin Jaggi (SUI, F2, North) had in the womens fleet.
The event started calm with calima winds from the wrong direction, and all the riders, officials and spectators were cooking on the beach with 47 degree. So the first three event days went over without any action on the water.
65 riders from 19 nations had registered for this second leg of the 2007 speed windsurfing world tour, including world champion and world record holder Finian Maynard, slalom world champion Antoine Albeau (FRA) and 36 time world champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck, now starting for switzerland.
The womens fleet was also strong with speed world champion Karin Jaggi and her strongest opponent Valerie Ghibaudo (FRA, Loft Sails). Also on the start Great Britain’s Zara Davis, nautical mile world record since last year.
Day four of the event finally brought some wind, not perfect for speedsailing but suitable, and at least a result was standing for the event. As expected, Finian Maynard and Karin Jaggi took the lead with moderate speeds of 37 knots. Antoine Albeau and Jose Bahadour (GOU, Fanatic), who won the first event of the year in Karpathos, came into second and third. Zara Davis in the womens fleet was beaten only by Karin, but defeated Valerie Ghibaudo – the first surprise of the event.
The next day brought almost perfect conditions behind the second sandbar down at the speed course, so the race committee called for an early start at 10:45. Not all the riders expected the wind blowing so early, so some came late to the start and missed the first minutes, when the top speeds were scored. Patrik Diethelm (ITA, F2, North) set the time of the day with nearly 40 knots, Finian Maynard finishing second and Swedish Anders Bringdal shot a nice third place in his comeback event. Bjorn DUnkerbeck (SUI, T1, North) did not come really well into the event up to now, but in the next leg he was showing his experience and skill. The second leg was started after a short lunch break, and the speeds were going up fast. Antoine Albeau and Bjorn Dunkerbeck both hit the 40 knots mark, Bjorn beeing a little bit faster in the end at 40.21 knots.
The first ladies heat went to Valerie, the second to Karin, both with speeds over 35 knots.
The wind seemed to dissapear for the last days of the event then, but the race committee held the riders on a long standby, as everybody wanted to go for a discard race. The last possible start was scheduled for 18:00, and at half past five the wind picked up so they gave it a go. It was one of the most thrilling races in speedsailing ever, with the lead in both men and womens changing almost every minute. Jose Bahadour was a little bit ahead in the end, but places 2-7 were in only 0.2 knots distance, some riders even sharing the same average speed. Another example for the tight competition is places 12-14 in only 0.03 knots variety !
David Garrel (FRA, F2, North) scored his best result ever in competition with a second place, and Finian Maynard clearly defended the overall lead with a solid third place. In the womens it was even closer, seeing Karin and Valerie on the same average speed first, but after extensive video checking Karin was able to shoot the bullet with an increadible close 0.02 knots lead.
The forecast for the last day was only for very light winds, so the winners seemed to be clear: Finian Maynard ahead of Patrik Diethelm, Jose Bahadour, Antoine Albeau and Bjorn Dunkerbeck, and Karin Jaggi clear ahead of Valerie Ghibaudo and Zara Davis.
The last day came with light wind, and many riders already started packing their equipment. Finian was looking forward for another six hours of waiting for his title, but suddenly the wind came up from a good direction and the call was for another race starting at 13:30. With a last possible start at 16:00 the plan was to go for one final race, except the conditions became very good. And that’s exactly what happened !
At the start of leg 5 it looked pretty light and gusty, but the conditions went better by every minute. Finian Maynard had a black day, finishing only 5th, and Diethelm, Albeau, Dunkerbeck making points for the overall ranking. With almost 40 knots on the strip and solid 28-30 knots of wind it was clear, that the race director called for another race. Up to that point, it still looked acceptable for Finian, but it was time now to go for the title. In the womens fleet Valerie took another victory, and suddenly it became close for Katrin with the event lead. Valerie needed another bullet and a new womens top speed to equal points and take the Fuerteventura crown.
So race 6 went into sequence, and the speeds were again around 39-40 knots. Bjorn Dunkerbeck was the man of the day, with 40.18 knots he scored the two fastest times of the week. Antoine took the lead, Patrik in third and Finian finishing only 4th again. Valerie took the victory in this race, but was not able to set a new top speed for the womens fleet, so Karin and Valerie were on same points and only Karins higher top speed made her winning the event. It was never so close again. For the mens fleet, Finian dropped from first to third, Antoine went up from 4th to the event victory, Patrik keeping second place. So the event title went away really in the last minutes of the final day of the competition. It couldn’t have been more thrilling !
Overall Ranking after six rounds:
1. Antoine Albeau (FRA)
2. Patrik Diethelm (ITA, F2, North)
3. Finian Maynard (BVI, F2)
4. Bjorn Dunkerbeck (SUI, T1, North)
5. Jose Bahadour (GOU, Fanatic)
1. Karin Jaggi (SUI, F2, North)
2. Valerie Ghibaudo (FRA, Loft Sails)
3. Zara Davis (GBR)
We are now looking forward for the final event of the 2007 season, which will take place from 2nd of September until 11th of September in Walvis Bay, Namibia. The best chances for the overall title have Antoine Albeau and Finian Maynard, and the 2007 title will surely decided very closesly!
Full results and pictures are available at www.speedsurfing.org
ZARA DAVIS’S EVENT DIARY
Great wind 30 plus knots but way too broad at 150 deg, they started a heat but the times were very slow and only half the sailors were making the course. I managed one run before they called it off.
The wind was very close to comp speed all day, and they called it at the very last min 5.30. I managed a top speed of 32k (still about a knot off the professionals Karin & Valerie) which ensured my 3rd place overall, my best at this venue.
At the start of leg 5 it looked pretty light and gusty, but the conditions got better by the minute. Finian Maynard had a black day, finishing only 5th in the 1st heat, and Diethelm, Albeau, Dunkerbeck making points and threatening his 1st place. Dan Ellis our highest placed Brit did very well with a 5th place moving him up to 9th overall.