SYLT PWA GRAND SLAM – DAY 4
Pritchard Holds The Big One To Come First!
Wednesday September 25, 2002
Another different picture greeted the sailors this morning at the 8.30
skippers meeting. The swell has increased but last nights strong winds
have backed off just too much to put the wave sailors on the water. Some
of the keener competitors did however manage a little dawn patrol action
to stretch the muscles and clear the head. During the last three days of
racing, most of the dedicated wave sailors could be found on top of the
dunes. Equipped with binoculars, telescopes and any kind of lens available
to command the best view of the racecourse. The racing has been gripping
viewing with different courses set close to the beach, in challenging
conditions, carnage in the shore break and protests a plenty. An added
interest for the wave sailors has been Toasty s (Erik Troostheide,
Mistral/North) unofficial sweepstake on the top five and first to the
windward mark! Nick Baker (Mistral/North) has been studying the formbooks
closely and took the first 40 Euro pot. Other notable racing pundits have
been the Jensen brothers Vidar (North) and Orjan (Proof/ North), Robby
Swift (JP/Neil Pryde), Xavier Huart (Mistral/North), Peter Volwater
(F2/Arrows) and Julian Taboulet (JP/Neil Pryde) all sharing from a pot in
excess of 100 Euros!
By one p.m. the wind had returned, but only enough to start an 8th Formula
race. Very tricky conditions with a large swell, big shore break and a
little rain accompanying a building 8 to 10 knots seemed perfect for the
women to start their next race.
Race 8 Women
Once again Dorota Staszewska (Starboard/Neil Pryde) was leading the way
for the first lap and was looking good was for her 7th consecutive victory
but the wind was continuing to build. Lucy Horwood (AHD/Gaastra) relished
the rough weather and showed a return to her early form and took the lead
on the second beat and held on for a comfortable 1st. Ahead of Dorota and
Jenny Le Bihan (Starboard/ Neil Pryde) in third.
It s about bloody time I got it together, I like it, the rougher the
better. More wind and more waves please.
There were too many big waves in the course for me today!
Women s rankings after 8 races
1. Dorota Staszewska (Starboard/Neil Pryde) 4.2 pts
2. Lucy Horwood (AHD/Gaastra) 10.4 pts
3. Christine Johnston (Starboard/ Neil Pryde) 14 pts
4. Jenny Le Bihan (Starboard/Neil Pryde) 25 pts
Race 8 Men
With 17 knots at the start and the wind shifting up to 10 degrees,
everyone was pushing hard to the line and the subsequent general recall
was inevitable. Patrice Belbeoc h (Neil Pryde) was unlucky to suffer the
disqualification and was sent back to the beach along with six other
The wait for the second attempt at starting saw Kevin Pritchard
(Bic/Gaastra) also returning to the beach to switch up to his 12.0m2 rig
that was successful for him yesterday. He made it back out to the start
line just in time for the yellow flag and stormed straight off to the
windward mark with a 50 meter lead over Sam Ireland (Starboard/North). By
the inside mark and then a flat out reach through breaking surf to the
leeward mark, Kevin had extended his lead out to 150 meters. The chasing
pack saw Michael Polanowski (POL-16 Starboard/ Neil Pryde) trading places
with Jimmy Diaz (Neil Pryde). Peter Bijl (JP/Neil Pryde) sailing really
well wearing a 5 kg TV head camera making 4th. Antoine Albeau (AHD/ Neil
Pryde) suffered another poor start and was fighting his way up through the
fleet to end the first lap in 13th.
Antoine never gives up though and it was pedal to the metal all the way to
the finish, by which time he had overhauled another nine sailors to come
in 4th. A massive recovery by any standards. Still battling it out for 2nd
and 3rd were Jimmy Diaz and Michael Polanowski who re- took 2nd spot on
the last leg and held on to the line. However it was Kevin Pritchard all
the way to the line, sailing faultlessly and by a convincing margin of
over 300 meters, thus securing his second straight victory to close the
gap on Antoine Albeau. A great performance from the 19 year old Polish
rider in second who is training partner and protégé of Wojtek
(Starboard/Neil Pryde), who relished the conditions, and likened them to
his home beach of Leba (last months PWA race venue) on the Baltic Sea.
I really enjoyed the light and lumpy conditions, I can pump and move the
board really easily. I had a good race against Jimmy and had the edge on
the downwind leg.
Jimmy Diaz posted his best result so far and looks set to break into the
top 10 after a disappointing start to the contest.
I didn t change anything with my equipment but I just stopped being a
pussy on the start line. I was hanging back too much and getting caught in
the pack. You have to push hard in a big fleet like this or you are nowhere.
Kevin Pritchard was the man of the moment and is the only sailor apart
from Antoine Albeau to win more than one race. With the gap separating the
top two now reduced to 4.1 points the battle between them is going to be
I wasn t even thinking about changing my sail. I felt the wind drop a
touch and just automatically went back to the beach to get the big one. It
gave me about a meter more than everyone else which was such an advantage.
Men s Rankings after 8 races
1. Antoine Albeau (AHD/Neil Pryde) 11.1 pts.
2. Kevin Pritchard (Bic/Gaastra) 15.4 pts.
3. Steve Allen (Fanatic) 23.7 pts.
4. Phil McGain (Gaastra) 24.7 pts
5. Wojtek Brzozowski (Starboard/ Neil Pryde) 26.7 pts
6. Patrice Belbeoc h (Neil Pryde) 32 pts.