GRAN CANARIA PWA GRAND SLAM DAY 9

The 2004 Gran Canaria PWA Super Grand Slam Day 9

Racing – day 1

We’ve made a change from 4.0m sails to 11.0m sails here in Gran Canaria. The move to the south of the island signified the start of the Racing competition.

The top guns of the racing world are in attendance. Micah Buzianis (F2/North) is here hot from his success in the Formula Worlds two weeks ago in Poland. Steve Allen (Fanatic/Neil Pryde) is here and Antoine Albeau (AHD/Neil Pryde) and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra) were hot from the Wave and Freestyle competition in Pozo.

Nobody really knew what to expect from the wind here in the south. But we needn’t have worried as by the 13.00 skippers meeting the wind was blowing up to 18 knots and the organised sailors were already on the water putting in some practice.

At the start of race one most guys were on 10m sails as the increasing wind made hanging on to an 11m sail difficult. A general recall saw Micah Buzianis over the line early, not a good start for the big man from the US.

The restart of race one saw a major tussle around the course as Antoine Albeau took control and led for most of the race. Behind him Steve Allen from Australia and Devon Boulon (F2) from the Virgin Islands used their speed and tactical abilities to stay ahead of the rest of the fleet. At the end of the race it was Albeau 1st, Allen 2nd and Boulon 3rd. In the ladies fleet Lucy Horwood (Fanatic/North) from the UK was loving the strong wind conditions and blasted to victory, Dorota Staszewska (Starboard/North) was looking good but couldn’t quite keep up with the power and speed of Lucy. In third place Karin Jaggi (F2/Arrows) showed that she really is an all round performer and after a solid week of Wavesailing and Freestyle in Pozo displayed she can still be competitive in the Racing discipline. Allison Shreeve (F2) from Australia was looking in control and came in 4th.

Race two was Micah’s chance to come back, and come back he did by posting a 1st place. Steve Allen looked in control and going quickly coming in 2nd, Finian Maynard (F2/Naish) turned up the speed and placed 3rd.

In the ladies fleet Karin Jaggi stepped on the gas and crossed the line in 1st followed by Allison in 2nd and Christine Johnston (Starboard/Gaastra) in 3rd

Race 3 started late afternoon and with a gusty wind of around 10-18 knots, sail and fin choice was more important than ever. Kevin Pritchard had obviously found the best combination and stormed through to his first race win of the event. Micah Buzianis was hot on his heels in 2nd and Antoine Albeau was in 3rd. In the ladies fleet Allison continued her climb up the rankings and shot across the finish line in 1st. Lucy Horwood came back in the gusty winds to claim 2nd and Jaggi was consistent in 3rd.

The fourth and final race of the day started pretty soon after race 3 finished and was to be the discard race that would allow Micah to get rid of his ‘over early’ from race 1. He was gunning for a race win but couldn’t quite stay ahead of Kevin Pritchard who had found his form and blasted over the line in 1st leaving Micah to settle for 2nd. The ever consistent Albeau was there in 3rd making sure he stayed at the top of the rankings. In the ladies fleet Dorota found form to win followed by Allison and Lucy.

The days racing has left us with some close battles and we see Steve Allen winning the men’s fleet and Allison Shreeve ahead in the ladies. There are many sailors hot on their heels so keep your eyes on the results to see if the challengers can come through and take it from the Aussies here in Gran Canaria…

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