The 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam – Day Five
Albeau and Ghibaudo show defiance to reign supreme on the final day of racing in Fuerteventura.
First shock to the final day’s proceedings was that Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) would not be participating after sustaining a broken leg in the previous day’s racing. The upshot of Buzianis’s injury meant he’d clock up last place finishes in all subsequent races, a devastating blow to his event campaign considering he was ranked second overall.
Having completed 11 races over the previous four days, the men’s fleet needed to rack up a minimum of two races on the final day to gain a crucial third discard (i.e a sailor’s worst three results could be discarded).
Ample wind and time on the clock meant this wouldn’t be an issue, and the first two races were completed back to back before lunch.
A late flourish from Benoit Moussilmani (F2, Simmer Sails) saw him sail home to victory in the final of race 12, awarding him his first ever race win in PWA competition. Behind him, Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet, Simmer) continued his assault on the podium in second, and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1, North Sails) added a third to his bag of results. Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) took a conservative tenth place, handing him the guaranteed event title, with races still to go.
The second of the day’s races saw Albeau, the consummate professional, continue to dig his teeth in and sail to yet another victory, when he could have sat back and reveled in his glory. And crucially, Dunkerbeck, who finished in sixth, had done enough to cement himself into second position overall for the event.
Meanwhile, more solid sailing from Van Der Steen earned him second, and Volwater (F2, North) found his feet in third. Van Der Steen’s result meant he was in contention for third place overall, but rivals Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) and Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, MFC, Dakine) had also done enough to be knocking on the podium’s door. Therefore, positions three, four, and five would all be settled in the event’s final nail biting race.
First to falter in the pressure cooker like final race was Williams, “I was leading my semi final, then when I flipped the sail at the second gybe, I fell in & there was no wind so I couldn’t get up. I’d already put the hard work in on the first reach, but just got unlucky and kooked a gybe y’know, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
William’s blunder placed him the losers final, and fifth place overall. Van Der Steen and Pritchard had both done enough to make the final, meaning the pair would go head to head for the remaining place on the podium.
The super tense final started with a bullet from Albeau, who threw caution to the wind and disappeared down the fist reach after a perfectly timed start. He wouldn’t be seen again, winning the last race of the event in style with a mammoth jump over the finish line.
A crash from Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine) caused havoc at mark two, allowing Pritchard to sneak through the pack and sail into third behind Volwater, it was enough for him to claim third place overall. Van Der Steen also took a fall ending in ninth, and thus fourth place overall.
Antoine Albeau: “I started the event really well with three firsts, but I was taking a lot of risks to win. After that I dropped down a bit to stay safe. I didn’t want to go over early or make stupid mistakes, just be consistent. I think I did a good job, and today after the first race I knew I’d won the event, so I went full on. I could have stopped, but I just had to win those last two races, and I did. I’m really happy now!”
Kevin Pritchard: “In that last final I was really focused on not crashing, the wind was so strong. It was crazy, there was people going everywhere. I didn’t know how good I was doing, then Josh (Angulo) fell at the second mark. I was kinda committed to my line, and almost ran right into him. I think that piled everybody up, but I just squeezed through, and going round the last mark I saw Ben (Van Der Steen) a bit back, so I knew I was doing alright.”
Ben Van Der Steen: “Considering how I started the event, I’m pretty stoked how I finished. Of course there was a chance I could have got third, and I’m a little pissed off I didn’t get it, but I’m so stoked with fourth place.”
Ross Williams: “Considering after two races I was bolt last, I’d say 5th overall’s a pretty good comeback!”
The 2008 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam Men’s Results:
1st Antoine Albeau
2nd Bjorn Dunkerbeck
3rd Kevin Pritchard
4th Ben Van Der Steen
5th Ross Williams
The Season as it stands:
1st Antoine Albeau
2nd Kevin Pritchard
3rd Bjorn Dunkerbeck
4th Cyril Moussilmani
5th Peter Volwater
The women’s fleet sailed two races on the final day. Valerie Ghibaudo fought to claim second place in the first race, doing enough to seal her the event victory. Karin Jaggi added a fifth race win her impressive tally, making her untouchable in second place overall, and Sarah Hebert (Starboard, Naish) cruised across the line in third, edging her up the overall scores.
Moving into the second and final elimination, Nagoshi (Simmer) and Korzitz were locked in a battle for third position overall. Aiding Nagoshi, Korzitz took a fall rounding the third mark, meaning Nagoshi just had to stay upright and hold onto her third place in the race to beat Korzitz in the overall rankings.
On the finish line, Ghibaudo won in true style, with Jaggi in second, and Nagoshi holding on to take third. Nagoshi’s podium finish is all the more impressive considering she was competing on borrowed equipment right the way down to her fin bolts!
Valerie Ghibaudo: “For my sponsors, I really wanted to do well here, so I feel superb. It’s fantastic to come first. I had some really close runs with Karin Jaggi, and conditions were really difficult all five days, so it hasn’t been easy. It’s still sinking in that I’ve actually won, I just hope I can sail like this at the next event in Alaçati!”
The 2008 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam Women’s Results:
1st Valerie Ghibaudo
2nd Karin Jaggi
3rd Junko Nagoshi
4th Lee Korzitz
5th Sarah-Quita Offringa
The Season as it stands:
1st Karin Jaggi
2nd Lee Korzitz
3rd = Iballa Moreno
3rd = Valerie Ghibaudo
5th Alice Arutkin
The event now switches over to freestyle. Tune back in tomorrow from 10.30am onwards to follow all the action here on pwaworldtour.com
PWA / Andrew Buchanan