The 2005 Fuerteventura PWA Slalom 42 World Cup – Day 1
Saturday July 23, 2005
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Tension was high prior to the start of competition today, as the assembled fleet of would-be champions lined up their pre registered arsenal of boards and sails ready for combat. With winds gusting over 35 knots, a six buoy, downwind slalom course was set and competition got underway at 11.30.
After the first round of preliminary heats were completed, it was plain sailing for the masters of slalom with all the main players making it into the quarter finals. The world’s fastest windsurfer, Finian Maynard (F2, Naish), controlled his second round heat, easily qualifying along with Jimmy Diaz (North), Patrick Diethelm (F2, North) and of course Bjorn Dunkerbeck (North) who all won their respective heats to take their place in the semi finals.
In the first semi final, it was once again Maynard who led the fleet to the mark and by the second inside gybe had extended a considerable lead over Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Maui Sails) who was chasing hard. Steve Allen (Fanatic, Neil Pryde) took the third slot in the final narrowly ahead of Diaz who did well to qualify after moving up from seventh to fourth with a slick inside gybe at the second inside mark.
Semi number two saw a fierce scrap between the big men of racing, Dunkerbeck and current PWA Racing World Champion, Antoine Albeau (Neil Pryde). The French giant led the 12 times Overall World Champ around the course giving little opportunity for overtaking and holding him in second all the way to the finish. Ben Van der Steen (Neil Pryde) was having a great day, qualifying for the final in third, ahead of Micah Buzianis (F2, North) in fourth.
The eight sailors in the losers final were fired up and ready to go. Peter Volwater (F2) and Benoit Moussilmani were, unfortunately, a little too fired up, both crossing the line early and finding themselves disqualified on the premature bench. Diethelm once again made an impressive start, leading happily to mark number one. Julien Taboulet (JP, Neil Pryde) was hot on his heels though and slipped clear ahead when Diethelm fell at the second inside gybe. Taboulet held his nerve for the rest of the course to pick up a respectable 8th place in round one.
The final saw Albeau and Dunkerbeck once again go head to head, but this time, Dunkerbeck had taken on a noticeably more determined stance. With a moment of miscalculation, Dunkerbeck gybed wide of mark number 2 leaving the door open for Albeau to draw level. By the next outside gybe, Dunkerbeck’s enormous speed had allowed him to pull ahead of Frances finest and this time he gybed tight to the mark leaving no room for Albeau. Dunkerbeck launched his board into the air as he crossed the finish line ahead of Albeau, who was closely followed by Pritchard and Allen.
The women’s final saw total domination from Karin Jaggi (F2) who led from start to finish. Allison Shreeve (F2, Neil Pryde) gave close pursuit, but her aspirations for glory were spectacularly ended by Verena Fauster (F2, Gaastra) who collided with the Current PWA World Champion leaving her in the water and out of contention. Fauster was subsequently disqualified.
With Dunkerbeck and Jaggi taking honours in the first round, the gauntlet has been firmly thrown down at the feet of those who seek to topple them. However, with a further seven days of competition remaining, holding on to that number one slot will be far from easy.