Whilst the slalom competition comes to a close the freestyle guys and girls have been out practicing, ready for the start of their competition on Thursday morning (wind dependent!)
Sean reports from an exceptionally windy day of racing yesterday, which included Finian taking the win and Bjorn sailing the wrong heat!
If you were to describe today’s action in one word, that word would be “FINALLY”. Finally, we got the kind of conditions that Fuerteventura is famous for and finally, Finian Maynard found his form again after a particularly slow start to the season.
You can always tell when it’s going to be a windy day in Fuerte. If you take a look at the beach at 7.30am and it’s already nuking, then you know you’re going to be on your small kit later that day! It takes a while to warm up though, and for our first heats this morning most of us were on 7.0/7.8 and medium boards. No matter how windy it gets on the course, there are still a large amount of wind holes out the back of the course in the lead up to the startline. I discovered this the hard way today as I had some stacked heats where everyone was pushing hard towards the line at the start and a few times the wind went light as because I was so close to the line I had to back off a little and then couldn’t quite plane off the startline…. Despite the fact that as soon as I CROSSED the line it was a solid 25-30 knots!!
That was basically the story of my day today. Knocked out in each heat having the same problem each time – not fully planing off the startline! By the end of the day I was on 5.6m in my final heat but again had that same problem coming off the line really slow and late … guess it wasn’t my day!!
For the other sailors, Round two was a costly one as well with big names like Peter Volwater, Jimmy Diaz, Ross Williams and Antoine Questel all knocked out in their heats or quarter finals. Through to the finals Finian Maynard had a killer start in the winner’s final before Antoine Albeau gybed inside him to take the lead and eventually the race, with Ben Van Der Steen crashing at that first mark to miss out on back-to-back victories, Bjorn Dunkerbeck also crashed and was unable to finish the race.
Round three started in a similar fashion with the wind increasing to over 30 knots. Albeau, fresh from the final win just minutes before managed to snap his fin on the way out to his heat however Antoine Questel saw this and got a spare board out to him in time for Albeau to make his heat and qualify. Taty Frans, who had a great event here last year didn’t have so much luck in this round after leading his heat by 100m in to the finish, hit a nasty piece of chop and had one of the gnarliest wipeouts I’ve seen in a long time – finishing LAST as a result!
Down to the winner’s final, Finian Maynard decided it would be his time this race and bolted out of the startline to lead start-to-finish – never really challenged by Cyril Moussilmani in 2nd or Ben Van Der Steen in 3rd. Bjorn had to settle for 4th as Ben ran him down on the final leg after a slow gybe.
The wind continued to nuke in to the afternoon and we kicked off Round four around 4pm. I took my 5.6m for the final heat with most of the guys on their smallest kit as the winds hit 35 knots and above in the gusts and the chop became more hardcore than I’d ever seen it here! Unfortunately I had another slow start and Jimmy Diaz (also on 5.6m!) held me off to the finish to knock me out of the quarter finals.
Bjorn made a mistake he will never forget after launching in to the start of Heat 7 (my heat) before realising he should have been in Heat 6 and was disqualified from the round! Steve Allen, Ross Williams, Andrea Cucchi, Pierre Montefon and Micah Buzianis also joined the list of sailors who would not be making the finals as they were all knocked out in their quarter finals.
Finian decided he would teach the boys once again HOW TO START and blasted to the first mark in the winner’s final on his 6.1m and led from start-to-finish. Behind him, Julien Quentel battled with Josh Angulo for a photo finish across the line which was later awarded to Josh, with Ben Van Der Steen behind them in 4th.
Three full rounds completed today, and lots of tired sailors on the walk across the beach back to the hotel! The forecast looks as promising tomorrow as it did today so I think we will get plenty more action in tomorrow – hopefully one of these NUKING days with 50 knots so I can enjoy my little board a bit more! Stay tuned for more action tomorrow.
Read more reports from Sean on the following pages.