Albeau head and shoulders above the rest

Sunday September 22, 2002


The day started with a torrential downpour, followed by 4 hours of warm

sunshine and light northeasterly winds. Stark contrast to the ominous

weather forecast which predicted bft 5 to 7 increasing to storm force

10!!! Perfect wind strength for wave competition but not conducive to

building the swell when blowing side off to offshore. Race director Klaus

Michel s call at the skippers meeting could only go one way until the

predicted heavy conditions actually arrived.

Racing was the word and by lunchtime 17 to 21 knots was being recorded in

the course area accompanied by everyone s favorite liquid sunshine. The

rain abated but the wind continued to build prior to the first start.

Tackling Sylt s angry spiting shore break was a big enough challenge for

most of the fleet and a significant quantity of laminated carbon was

transformed into a splintered mess as mast after mast was demolished. .


Ladies first! The women s fleet got away cleanly & first to the windward

mark was France s Geraldine Jambert (Starboard), clear ahead of Dorota

Staszewska (Starboard/ Neil Pryde) and Lucy Horwood (AHD/Gaastra). Lucy

Horwood took advantage of an uncharacteristic error by Dorota and forced

her way to the front of the pack and kept going, pulling out a convincing

lead by the downwind mark. With the ever-increasing breeze the girls

looked remarkably comfortable on their 9.0m2 sails & 68cm fins. Lucy

Horwood continued to extend her lead out to about 300m by the finish ahead

of her racing nemesis, Polands Dorota Staszewska and fellow Brit,

Christine Johnston (Starboard/Neil Pryde) who pulled up to 3rd.


I was exhausted after rigging my three sails this morning and I feel so

weak after the last few days of illness, I am amazed I made it round! I

was so overpowered on my 9.0 but I managed to stay on and hold it together

till the finish. I am so happy to win the first one. I definitely need to

sleep now!


That was a really hard race, not just the wind, which must have been 30

knots but the waves were so unpredictable, I was flying most of the time

so I made a mistake and Lucy got ahead.

The men s fleet got away after one general recall sent seven sailors back

to the beach including local favorite Bernd Flessner (F2/ Neil Pryde).

Bernd could only reflect well, its not exactly the best start I could have

hoped for! First to the windward mark was Canadian Sam Ireland

(Starboard/North) and held on for the first leg before being overhauled by

the blur of Antoine Albeau (AHD/ Neil Pryde) on the limit on 11.0

traveling at warp factor 6! There was no stopping Antoine who powered on,

sailing flawlessly to victory. Back on the beach Antoine, in his usual

modest manner had this to say: -


That was probably the hardest race I have ever sailed, I was so

overpowered on my 11.0 that I was totally flying on the upwind leg. I

think I will have to change down for the next one. It is the best start I

could have wished for

Following Antoine with a characteristically solid performance was Micah

Buzianis (Mistral/ North) and just to prove there is life in the old dog

yet, PWA chairman and former racing world champion Phil McGain (Gaastra)

stayed on his feet and held on to his 11.5m2 to muscle into 3rd position.

This was probably due to the pressure from his TEAM team-mate and PWA

racing world champion and current Formula world champion, Kevin Pritchard

(Bic/ Gaastra) who worked his way up to 4th. Then it was back to the beach

for a quick bowl of soup and anything heavy you could eat to help

compensate for ever freshening conditions.

With the wind now pushing 30 knots the Race director Klaus Michel decided

to call it a day for the women, much to Lucy Horwood s relief. No such

respite for the men though and after some minor course alterations it was

back out through that vicious shore break, which once again claimed its

fair share of masts and booms.


Every sailor was now on their 3rd choice and smallest registered sail,

with some wishing they had the option of something smaller than 9.8m2!

Once again the mighty Antoine Albeau displayed awesome board speed and

control to secure another bullet.


That was definitely the hardest race I have ever sailed, I was so

overpowered on my 9.8m2 etc. Familiar comments from the current PWA world

freestyle champion! Without doubt an outstanding performance on the year s

hardest day of racing.

Showing consistent form with a 2nd position to add to his 5th from the

first race was formula specialist, Poland s finest, Wojtek Brzozowski

(Starboard/ Neil Pryde) who seemed to be comfortable with the rough

weather. This was definitely a day for the big guys and they don t get

much bigger than Finian Maynard who was starting to find top gear and

thundered home in 3rd. Muscle award for the day had to go to Micah

Buzianis, who returned to the beach in 4th place, scratching his head and

wondering where his port harness line had gone, sailing unhooked on one

tack with a 9.9m2 in 30knots and rough seas has to be the biggest work out

going! By now the wind had increased even more and many of the wave

sailors were out getting acclimatized to the conditions on 4.5m2 sails!

Sensibly that was it for one stormy days racing and the weather forecast

suggests much more to come for the rest of the week.

Top 6 men after 2 races

1. Antoine Albeau (AHD/ Neil Pryde)

2. Micah Buzianis (Mistral/ North)

3. Wojtek Brozowski (Starboard/Neil Pryde)

4. Kevin Pritchard (Bic/Gaastra)

5. Patrice Belbeoc h (Neil Pryde)

6. Ross Williams (AHD/Gaastra

Top 3 women after 1 race

1. Lucy Horwood (AHD/Gaastra)

2. Dorota Staszewska (Starboard/Neil Pryde)

3. Christine Johnston (Starboard/ Neil Pryde)