The 2007 Pegasus Airlines PWA World Cup, Alaçati – Day 2
Antoine Albeau barges into the lead with two lethal race wins as the first discard came into play. He leads Kevin Pritchard as Bjorn Dunkerbeck glides into third overall. Valerie Ghibaudo keeps her distance from world champion Karin Jaggi who both took a race win apiece. Verena Fauster is rock solid in third overall after 8 exciting races.
A solid 22-25 knots allowed racing to start on time this morning with the same quarter-fleet starts as race 3 yesterday. Most riders were on their smallest registered sails but seemed comfortable fully powered-up as they sped across the smooth Alaçati water.
4 Women’s races re completed and 2 full men’s races were run using both longer and shorter courses.
Men’s Race 4
• The current tour and 2006 season runner-up Micah Buzianis’ (JP / NeilPryde) poor run of form continued when he failed to make the cut for the final in his semi-final heat.
• That was also a close-run heat for Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails) who grabbed the sixth and final qualification slot ahead of his American compatriot.
• Buzianis, who was also the joint 2005 joint title holder, had further grief when, enjoying a sizeable lead in the loser’s final, he catapulted over the finish line and was not deemed to be in control of his equipment as he crossed the line. That allowed Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde) of Great Britain to take the line honours.
In the final Finian Maynard (F2 / NeilPryde) and Pieter Bijl (Fanatic / NeilPryde) were neck and neck along the first reach. Maynard gybed first and kept the lead until a slow gybe at mark 2 which, although the Virgin Islander pumped and pumped his sail to gain maximum acceleration, allowed Bijl the advantage. Bijl made no mistake in keeping that lead all the way to the finish
Race 4 Results:
1. Pieter Bijl (Fanatic / NeilPryde) 2. Finian Maynard (F2 / NeilPryde) 3. Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet / Naish)
Men’s Race 5
• There were lighter winds of around 15-20 knots for the fifth race which was run on a longer 6-leg course that featured much longer reaches at the beginning.
• The hard-fought early heats certainly sorted the experienced heads out from the less practised racers.
• In the semi-finals overnight event leader Bijl made his first real mistake by losing concentration and missing a slot in the final line-up.
• Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (F2 / NeilPryde) won the loser’s final and Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) was disqualified from the final for a premature start. His peers were grateful for the missing presence of the British racer and welcomed the extra space on the busy start line.
The final was super-exciting. Another British talent, Dan Ellis (Fanatic / Naish), led from the start line with amazing speed. Ellis stayed largely un-hassled and composed over the long course until Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde) finally caught up with him on the fourth reach. Ellis suffered further pressure from Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1 / North) who overtook him on the final reach.
Race 5 Results
1. Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde) 2. Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1 / North) 3. Dan Ellis (Fanatic / Naish)
Men’s Race 6
• The wind returned back to around 25 knots or more for the day’s final men’s race.
• The 6-leg course was kept but the legs were shortened to test the all-round reaching and gybing skills of the world most talented racing fleet.
• In the final first round qualifying heat Ben Van Der Steen advanced to the second semi-final impressively, even though his mast tip had ripped through the sail. He crossed the line with a metre or more of mast sticking out of the top of his rig!
• Ross Williams had a frustrating semi-final where, looking fairly overpowered, he was squashed out of this preferred route off the start line by Buzianis and Albeau. Williams made up for that by winning the loser’s final.
The final was yet another display of the kind of precise, start-to-finish victories Albeau has shown us over the past couple of seasons. With the title already in the bag he certainly didn’t relax too much and blitzed his way around the course. The French legend did endure some pressure from Peter Volwater (F2 / North) and Pieter Bijl, who displayed amazing board speed over the first two reaches, but by the third leg he was away into clear air all the way to the finish.
Meanwhile behind him the battle for second was hotting-up between Pritchard and Volwater. It took Pritchard until the final mark to make his move where he really attacked the mark from high and rounded tightly, crossing Volwater’s route out of the turn.
That caused the Dutchman to fall briefly before he chased Pritchard, who finished second over the line for third.
Race 6 Results
1. Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde) 2. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails) 3. Peter Volwater (F2 / North)
The women once more enjoyed the maximum 4 races permitted.
Women’s Race 5
Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) produced a textbook start and race win after Valerie Ghibaudo’s (Tabou) shocking late departure off the line. Ghibaudo recovered superbly to claim second as an exciting scrap ensued between Italy’s Verena Fauster (F2 / Gaastra) and Marta Hlavaty of Poland.
Turkish celebrity Cagla Kubat (Starboard / North) was also involved in the struggle as she took Hlavaty after a poor gybe at the second mark whilst Ghibaudo overtook them during that slowdown.
Kubat fell at the third gybe to allow Hlavaty to regain third as Ghibaudo extended away to score second.
Race 5 results
1. Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) 2. Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou) 3. Marta Hlavaty
Women’s Race 6
Ghibaudo made up for her earlier slow start and immediately built a good lead ahead of Fauster who’d left Jaggi playing catch-up for third in the traffic behind.
Fauster kept Jaggi at arms length over the second reach and shut the door on her inside approach at the second mark, but was less successful to that attack at gybe three which ultimately secured her second behind Ghibaudo.
After Fauster sealed third the crowd loved the struggle between Kubat and Hlavaty for fourth which, to their enjoyment, Kubat triumphed in.
Race 6 Results
1. Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou) 2. Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) 3. Cagla Kubat (Starboard / North)
Women’s Race 7
On-fire Ghibaudo cut another lethal victory in the penultimate race of the day. Looking untouchable she’d almost sealed the win just seconds after the start with her exact timing and superior speed.
Ghibaudo won effortlessly ahead of Jaggi who, apart from a sketchy gybe at the third buoy, made no mistakes to register second.
Fauster and Kubat gave a more closely contested display with their fight for third, but on this occasion it was not to be for the Turk.
1. Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou) 2. Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) 3. Verena Fauster (F2 / Gaastra)
Women’s Race 8
Ghibaudo risked her event lead despite a brilliant start and amazing sprint around the course. She led all the way but Jaggi chased super hard on final reach. In the final yards it became apparent that the Frenchwoman was not aware of the finish line marker on the beach and casually headed for the far upwind end of the finish line. That allowed Jaggi to accelerate and cross in first far downwind by the mark.
A monumentuos battle raged behind Jaggi and Fauster for third place. Impressive youngster Lena Erdil (JP /NeilPryde), who’s just 18 yrs old, and Cagla Kubat fought tooth and nail for the third, with Erdil forcing Kubat into a fall at mark3, and Kubat sneaking an inside line from Erdil at the fourth mark.
Erdil stayed in touch but Kubat had superior pace over the 6th reach subsequently rewarded her with a vital third place finish.
Race 7 Results
1. Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) 2. Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou) 3. Cagla Kubat (Starboard / North)
The forecast promises even more of the steady, Alaçati wind tomorrow and for the remainder of the event.
Skipper’s meeting is at 11.00 for a first possible start of 11.30
Please join us at www.pwaworldtour.com from then to follow the action using our live event ticker, view online photo galleries, check the elimination ladders and read daily news summaries.