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.
The wind was really light at the start but I got clear and kept
accelerating. Then I was just hanging on till the finish.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.