The 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam – Day Four
The fourth day of relentless wind put the sailors endurance to the test in three more rounds of adrenaline fuelled racing.
The men hit the water first to add a ninth race to their tally from the previous days. Signs of nerves were all too apparent, when four out of the twelve competitors in the losers’ final false started.
Taking the reigns of the depleted heat, Josh Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine) clawed his way into first position, meaning he’d walk away with a 13th place finish for that race.
In the winners final, which would decide the top twelve positions of the race, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1, North) emerged as the man to beat. He fended off advances from event leader Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) to take his second race win of the event so far. Albeau finished in second, and Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet, Simmer) looked dangerous in third.
Following a short break for lunch, the second race of the day swung into action. First to slip up was F2’s shaper, Patrik Diethelm (F2, North), who failed to make it through the first round of heats thanks to a false start.
Maintaining his form from the previous race, Van Der Steen sailed to an impressive victory in the first semi final, leaving Albeau plenty of time to contemplate what had happened, far behind in second.
Current number two; Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) sustained an unfortunate injury in the second semi final. The harsh blow meant Buzianis was left seeking medical attention and could no longer compete in the race.
An action packed losers final saw Sylvain Moussilmani (F2, Simmer) and Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde) sail neck and neck around the six gybe course. It was only after the technical shorter reaches at the end of the course that Maynard gave Moussilmani a small break, which was enough for him to take the lead. Maynard came close behind in second.
Van Der Steen was on fire in the winners final. Untouchable pace down the first reach combined with a perfect gybe saw him storm to the front of the fleet. He remained there for the duration of the heat to take home his first race win of the event. Behind him, Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic, North) managed to hold of compatriot Albeau to take second, Albeau looked consistent, but no longer dominant in third.
The final men’s race of the day mixed things up a bit. Maynard was edged out of a place in the winners final when he failed to match the speed of his fellow semi finalists. And Van Der Steen, who was riding high after his previous race victory, fell victim to technical issues when his mast snapped midway through an enormous catapult on the first reach. He’d have to make do with a place in the losers final.
When the heat hit the water, Angulo stated his intentions from the word go, with a perfectly timed start that teed him up for the rest of the race. Holding onto his lead, Angulo finished in first, with Diethelm fronting the chasing pack in second.
The final saw Albeau return to dominant form, as he held off Dunkerbeck to further reinforce his event lead with another race victory. Dunkerbeck hung onto second, placing him in third place overall, and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, MFC, Dakine) sailed well to take third in the race final, meaning he’s positioned in fourth overall with one day to go.
Women’s races 10, 11 & 12
Race 10: Karin Jaggi (F2, North) and Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou, The Loft) proved to be impossible to shake from first and second place. In three successive races they showed they were a cut above the rest, but almost equally matched.
Ghibaudo sailed an amazing first race, leading for the duration, but Jaggi was never far behind. Most impressively, the pair were several hundred meters ahead of the nearest challenger, Lee Korzitz. At the finish line, Ghibaudo claimed the win, Jaggi second, and Korzitz third.
Race 11: In a carbon copy of the first race, Jaggi and Ghibaudo exploded out the start gates to open up a huge lead. As before, Ghibaudo lead around the final gybe, but Jaggi summoned an awe inspiring last blast to the finish to steal victory from under Ghibaudo’s nose. Again, Korzitz fronted the chasing pack, in third.
Race 12: The final race of the day saw a spirited performance from Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, NeilPryde). The famed freestyler kept her nerve in the building wind to reap third position. The result added to a fourth and a fifth in the two previous races, a remarkably consistent performance from the young Aruban local.
The story of the race was once again the Jaggi versus Ghibaudo showdown. Ghibaudo had Jaggi around the corners, meaning once again it would be a last reach drag race to decide who’d walk away with the race win. Inseparable until the last 20 meters, Jaggi showed defiance to steal another victory from Ghibaudo.
Overall, Ghibaudo tops the women’s ranks having never dropped below third place. Jaggi sits in second, haunted by a last place finish on the first day, and Korzitz looks solid in third.
Sailor of the Day
Ben Van Der Steen earns the honor of ‘sailor of the day’. The flying Dutchman was like a bullet in race 10. The only thing more impressive than his victory was his race 11 catapult, that literally vaporized his gear, leaving it looking like tumble weed. In his words, ‘I went down like a man’.
Tomorrow’s skippers meeting is scheduled for 11.00am, with the racers hitting the water from 11.30am onwards. Be sure to tune into pwaworldtour.com to follow all of day four’s trials and tribulations. On the site you’ll be able to:
* Use our live ticker service
* Check elimination ladders
* View results
* Watch amazing video action clips
* Read the daily news summaries
* Browse awesome action photo galleries
For more information please contact the PWA office via firstname.lastname@example.org
© PWA / Andrew Buchanan