SYLT PWA GRANDSLAM - DAY 7

Pritchard slips into pole!

Saturday September 28, 2002

A Light and variable breeze teased the racers this morning as we waited

for it to settle down to the northwest direction and build to suitable

conditions. The situation remained the same until 2 O clock this afternoon

when a steadier 7 to 14 knots was registering at the start boat drawing

the men out first to catch up with the women s race count. Antoine Albeau

(AHD/Neil Pryde) was looking stressed with the prospect of his least

favorite conditions occurring, while Kevin Pritchard (Bic/Gaastra) has

been winning under similar circumstances over the last few days. Antoine

has seen his lead eroded point by point since the first day but he now

leads Kevin by only a whisker. The slightest error at this stage of the

game could see all three-podium positions change.

Race 10 men

A clean start with an even spread of sailors taking boat and pin ends of

the line. From the port end Kevin Pritchard was looking good in clean air.

Antoine was a little caught up in the pack and had to fight to get clear.

At the windward mark it was Kevin clear ahead of Wojtek Brzozowski

(Starboard/Neil Pryde), and stranger to the front of the pack was Ramses

Landman (F2/Neil Pryde). Frenchman Antoine muscled his way through the

pack to round in 5th behind light wind dynamo Steve Allen (Fanatic). The

down wind leg saw Kevin working hard too, heading deeper than any other

sailor and by the bottom mark he had extended his lead over Wojtek and

Ramses to over a hundred meters. There was a real squabble for the next 5

places and veteran Phil McGain (Gaastra) slipped into the 4th slot

carrying Denmark s finest racer, Brian Rogild (Starboard/Gaastra) with him

into 5th. Antoine Albeau made an uncharacteristic error and was knocked

back to 8th place. On the second lap Kevin extended his lead further by

sailing a perfect upwind leg. Wojtek and Ramses where also consolidating

their positions. Meanwhile the scrapping behind them continued with

19-year-old new Polish hotshot Michael Polanowski POL-16 (Starboard/Neil

Pryde) raging upwind into 4th. McGain was hanging on in 5th and rocked

powered Antoine recovered back to 6th place. Back down to the finish it

was Kevin all the way, taking the victory with a 50-second lead over

Wojtek and a delighted Ramses in 3rd, having his best race of the contest.

Michael Polanowski stayed ahead of a challenging Phil McGain, who was

trying to stay ahead of a flying Antoine. Antoine was taking no prisoners

and got a nose ahead of the Australian right on the line for 5th place.

KEVIN PRITCHARD

The wind was really light at the start but I got clear and kept

accelerating. Then I was just hanging on till the finish.

WOJTEK BRZOZOWSKI

I made a mistake on the first upwind leg as I freed off to try and

overtake Kevin with board speed instead of out pointing him. I feel like I

can go higher than Kevin can, but just higher is not enough without the speed.

RAMSES LANDMAN

This is the first good start I have had all week! I have been scared on

the line because of my leg injury and have been holding back. I didn t

sail any competitions for a long time so this has been a hard week to find

myself in the 20 s with everybody so tuned up and fast. The week started

bad but got much better so I know I can do it. I have only been sailing

formula for 4 months and last week I won the Dutch Championships.

The leader board is now showing Kevin Pritchard edging the week s leader

Antoine Albeau off the top spot with Wojtek Brzozowski closing in 3rd.

Race 11 men

Before race 11th could get on the way there where 3 general recalls which

sent 18 sailors back to shore. The top seeds all managed to avoid

disqualification and the forth start got away cleanly. At the first

windward mark Kevin Pritchard underlayed the gate forcing him to tack

twice. It was Wojtek Brzozowski first closely followed by Arnon Dagan

(Fanatic), Steve Allen (Fanatic), Jimmy Diaz (Neil Pryde) and Micah

Buzianis (Mistral/North) taking the next 4 slots. Kevin finally rounded in

10th with Antoine even further back. By the downwind mark the top 5

positions where the same with Kevin moving up to 7th and Antoine showing

himself in 10th position. Then disaster for Pritchard, with an

uncharacteristic mistake dropping the sail to leeward. By the time he

recovered Antoine had cruised past and Kevin was back in 16th place. At

the next windward mark Arnon Dagan had out witted Wojtek to take poll

while Steve Allen increased the pressure in 3rd. The 2 young Dutch

hotshots Pieter Bijl and Ben van der Steen both tacked of out to sea

ignoring the procession to the beach ahead of them. This tactic paid off

well, advancing the pair into 4th and 5th. Kevin sailed a stunning second

beat to edge back ahead of a frustrated Antoine. The dash back down wind

to the finish was a real battle, but Israel s Arnon Dagan took the honors

while Steve Allen got himself ahead of Wojtek with Pieter and Ben making

4th and 5th. Back down in the pack Kevin and Antoine both posted their

worst results of the week finishing 11th and 12th respectively.

ARNON DAGAN

I am super happy and so fast on port tack upwind, once I got ahead I knew

I had the victory in the bag. So today I punished the boys like nothing

else! This makes up for my over early in race 10!

WOJTEK BRZOZOWSKI

I am not happy today, I made two mistakes and missed my opportunity to

move up the rankings. Now I must hope for good wind and more races tomorrow.

ANTOINE ALBEAU

I tried my best today but it was just too light for me.

Heading into the last day of competition the top of the leader board is so

tight; just one race could change everything, with now only 10 points

separating 1st to 4th positions. The biggest gain of the day came for

Arnon Dagan who s victory in race 12, and subsequent 3rd discard advanced

him from 21st place this morning, right up to 7th.

One thing for certain is that the entire top ten will be having a quiet

night in to be on top form tomorrow.

MENS RANKINGS AFTER 12 RACES (3 Discards)

1. Kevin Pritchard (Bic/Gaastra) 19.1 pts.

2. Antoine Albeau (AHD/Neil Pryde) 21.1 pts.

3. Wojtek Brzozowski (Starboard/Neil Pryde) 24.4 pts.

4. Steve Allen (Fanatic) 29.7 pts.

5. Phil McGain (Gaastra) 39.7 pts.

6. Micah Buzianis (Mistral/North) 48.8 pts.