PWA Slalom Costa Brava - Event Summary

The final day of the 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup saw another windy day as the breeze filled in early to provide more excellent racing conditions. By the end of the day 8 results have been gained for the slalom with Antoine Albeau dominating proceedings to claim an clear cut victory over Pierre Mortefon, who was his closest contender.

Antoine Albeau was in imperious form yesterday, which put him in a commanding position heading into the final day – and even before the completion of the 6th race, AA basically had the event victory sewn up as only two other sailors from top 10 of the overnight rankings qualified for the winners’ final – Ross Williams and Andrea Cucchi – and from there he asserted his dominance even more as he claimed a 3rd bullet in Elimination 6, before placing second in Race 7 to build an unassailable lead. Albeau – who is now 44-years-old – shows no signs of slowing down as he schooled his younger rivals on how to dominate an event. In his interview, Albeau, sounded extremely confident and it would be no surprise to see him add to his 23-world-titles come the and of the season after this performance.

Pierre Mortefon suffered a surprising second round exit in Elimination 6, which saw the vice-world champion drop from 3rd to 6th on the final day, but the 27-year-old responded in perfect fashion by going on to win the 7th Race, which slingshotted the Frenchman back into second place, which is ultimately where Mortefon finishes the event – he was leading the winners final in the 8th race as well, but the wind shut down before it could be completed and his result wouldn’t have changed.

Matteo Iachino looked to be in a jubilant mood when it was revealed that he had snatched the final place on the podium from the grasp of Pascal Toselli – after enduring a somewhat difficult week. The reigning world champion has battled through this week to still earn a creditable 3rd place, but he doesn’t look to have that same blistering pace which he possessed last year. However, the Italian now has 7 weeks before Fuerteventura in which to try and figure things out and he’s still prominently placed after winning one elimination.

Pascal Toselli will be devastated to have missed out on the podium – having been in the top 3 until the final race. The Frenchman has enjoyed an couple of days racing, but ultimately Toselli misses out on the podium by an agonizing point.

Last year’s world No.3 – Ross Williams – ends the third event of the year in a solid 5th place with the Brit showing his usual consistency, which saw him finish outside the top 10 on just two occasions out of the 8 races completed.

Arnon Dagan – won the opening elimination in convincing fashion, but the Israeli competes the week in 6th place. Dagan was unlucky yesterday that a broken mast saw him leave to settle for a 30.5 in Elimination 4 – and although the result was discarded you have to feel that it may have affected his mentality heading into the final day.

Tristan Algret rises one place to 7th from the overnight ranking, while Andrea Cucchi falls two places to 8th – after a couple of premature stats on the final day. Antoine Questel discards one of this results from today to complete the top 10.

Movers and Shakers

Marco Lang completed a superb comeback on the final day to deservedly earn his place in the overall top 10. The Austrian suffered a mixture his fair share of bad luck, but battled through to finish in the top 10 – with a 10th place being his worst result in the last 4 races completed – with the 31-year-olds best effort coming in the opening race of the day when he finished with a fantastic 3rd place.

Taty Frans escapes with a 12th place from Costa Brava after a disastrous couple of eliminations, but the Bonairean would’ve been almost guaranteed a place in the top 10 had he not been too busy smiling at the camera, when leading the quarterfinal of Elimination 6, which saw him catapult over the handlebars.

Having finished in the top 10 in a single elimination for the first time ever – Amado Vrieswijk – went a few places better today as he qualified for his maiden winners’ final in which he finished 7th – which sees the Bonairean finish 13th overall in Costa Brava. At 6:30 PM the closing ceremony as the winners’ were deservedly presented with third trophies in front of the crowd.

Result 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup – Men’s Slalom

1st Antoine Albeau
2nd Pierre Mortefon
3rd Matteo Iachino
4th
Pascal Toselli
5th Ross Williams
6th Arnon Dagan
7th Tristan Algret
8th Andrea Cucchi
9th
Marco Lang
10th Antoine Questel

Result Foil Exhibition Catalunya PWA World Cup

1st Antoine Albeau
2nd Antoine Questel
3rd
Sebastian Kornum
4th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel
5th
Mateus Isaac
6th Maciek Rutkowski
7th Nicolas Goyard
8th Malte Reuscher
9th Pierre Mortefon
10th Amado Vrieswijk

    Day 5: Albeau Dominates to Move into Commanding Lead Heading into Final Day

The penultimate day of the Catalunya PWA World Cup provided great racing conditions with winds between 10-20 knots blowing for the entire afternoon. At the end of an action packed day a further 4 eliminations have been completed and there was plenty of exhilarating racing on offer with risky overtaking manoeuvres, crashes, epic comebacks and close calls throughout as slalom showed the side of it that everyone loves.

Slalom Sailor of the Day

Antoine Albeau was without doubt the standout sailor of the day – as he so often is – the 23-time world champion produced a scintillating display to claim two, firsts, a second and a fifth to cap an exceptional day which deservedly sends him into a commanding lead at the top of the event rankings with one day to go. Albeau’s never say die attitude was never more prevalent than in Elimination 3 when facing a semifinal exit, but on the final reach, Bruno Martini succumbed to having Albeau breathing down his neck and the Frenchman snatched the last place in the winners’ final, which he duly went on to win. AA is now in an extremely strong position heading into the final day and it’s difficult to see anyone stopping him from here.

Fellow countryman – Pascal Toselli – rises one place into second after enjoying a fine day – with the only blip coming in the third race when he was eliminated in the semifinals. In the race prior, Toselli secured the opening bullet of the day in impressive fashion and he immediately discards the 14th place finish from Elimination 3 after qualifying for every other winners’ final.

Pierre Mortefon completes an all French top 3 heading into the final day and the reigning vice-world champion sailed consistently for the majority of the day – recording results of 2nd, 3rd and 4th – with the only blemish coming in race 5 when he suffered a surprise quarterfinal exit, which he discards. Aside from that the 27-year-old hasn’t finished worse than 6th and remains on course for the podium.

Arnon Dagan led the event rankings at the start of the day, but slips to 4th at the end of today’s proceedings. The Israeli was firmly in contention in the last race as he entered the first gybe in second, but was then covered on the exit, meaning he had to settle for 6th place.

Reigning world champion – Matteo Iachino – has recorded a mixed bag of results so far this week with the Italian only qualifying for two winners’ finals out of the five races completed. However, the 27-year-old is still in 5th place after he dug deep to secure a clinical victory in the final race of the day. Iachino will be hoping that it is possible to complete at least a further two eliminations tomorrow, which would bring the second discard into play and provide him with the opportunity to be one of the biggest movers of the day.

Andrea Cucchi currently occupies 6th place, but the Italian was visibly annoyed at himself in race five when he inexplicably dropped his third gybe in the semifinals when in the qualifying positions.

Ross Williams produced a couple of miraculous comebacks today to earn the worthy title as the comeback King. The Brit flirted with danger in two successive heats in the opening race of the day – quarters and semifinals – and looked to be down and out, but he somehow reeled in his rivals to advance into the winners’ final. The pick of the bunch of his manoeuvres came in the quarterfinals of Race 2 when he jumped from 7th to 4th with a text-book gybe at the last to progress. The 37-year-old is currently in 7th place heading into the final day, but things could’ve been even better had he not suffered a broken boom.

Tristan Algret made a flying start to the day as he chased home Pascal Toselli in the opening race to claim second place, before finishing 7th in the next. Unfortunately after this his day faded somewhat with quarter and semifinal exits, but the 23-year-old remains on course for the top 10 – 8th at the moment.

After a disappointing quarterfinal exit in the opening race of the week – Antoine Questel has produced an excellent recovery, which sees the 32-year-old rise to 9th. Questel’s best result came in the third elimination – 5th – and has then produced the consistency needed to challenge for the top 10 with results of 10th, 11th and 12th.

Sebastian Kördel may have suffered disappointing quarterfinal exits in the opening two races, but since then the German has recovered brilliantly to move into the final place in the top 10. The 26-year-old had looked quick in both South Korea and Japan and things finally clicked into place as he recorded a 4th and two 9th’s in the last 3 eliminations today. Kördel will be another sailor hoping for a further two eliminations as he could potentially then discard an 18.5, which could then open up the possibility of a top 5 finish.

Elsewhere, Ingmar Daldorf showed he has the speed and the talent to compete with the best names in the business after recording a superb second place Elimination 4. If the flying Dutchman can find the recipe to consistently find that form then he could be one to watch for the remainder of the season.

Gabriele Browne is in his first year back on the PWA World Tour and he’s enjoying a fine event – currently ranked 11th. The Brazilian qualified for the first winners’ final of the day to take home 5th place, while making the semifinals on a further two occasions, but has just a one-point advantage over Finian Maynard – who is very much still in the hunt for successive top 10 finishes.

Last year’s world No.6 – Taty Frans – suffered a couple of disastrous eliminations to start the event, with a snapped harness line costing him dearly in the second elimination, but since then he has firmly set himself on the road to recovery with 4th, 8th and 12th place finishes in the last 3 races, which sees him rise to 13th. Frans is another sailor, who could massively benefit from the second discard and a top 10 finish is very much on the cards if the wind shows up again tomorrow.

Fellow Bonairean Amado Vrieswijk who is the freestyle vice-world champion – also enjoyed a fine day as he qualified for three semifinals to show he also possesses some serious skills on the race course. The 21-year-old recorded his first top 10 in a single race – Race 3.

After his best ever result in the last event – Jordy Vonk – will be disappointed to find himself down in 18th place, but Julien Quentel may be the most disappointed man of all. The 30-year-old won the event in Japan, but finds himself in a lowly 32nd place after becoming involved in a number of tussles and collisions in the five races thus far and realistically there is no-way back for the man from Saint Maarten here in Costa Brava – and he will just have to erase this event from his memory.

The forecast looks excellent for tomorrow with clear skies and moderate southeasterly winds being predicted, which should hopefully provide a Super Sunday finale to the 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup. The sailors will meet again at 10:30 AM tomorrow morning for the skippers’ meeting with the action commencing from 11 AM (GMT+2) onwards.

Current Ranking 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup – Men’s Slalom *After 5 Eliminations – 1 Discard

1st Antoine Albeau
2nd Pascal Toselli
3rd Pierre Mortefon
4th Arnon Dagan
5th Matteo Iachino
6th Andrea Cucchi
7th
Ross Williams
8th Tristan Algret
9th Antoine Questel
10th Sebastian Kördel

    Day 4: A guide to foiling with Antoine Albeau and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel

For a brief period it looked as though Day 4 of the Catalunya PWA World Cup would provide excellent racing conditions with the wind picking up in the late morning, which allowed the fifth foil race of the event to be completed and a further five heats of the second slalom elimination to also be verified, but after this, a thick layer of cloud set in which interrupted the flow of the wind with the thermal effect almost instantly shutting down.

Foil

Antoine Albeau now holds the outright lead in the foil exhibition as he delivered another faultless display to earn a clear cut victory over his nearest challenger Antoine Questel. The two Frenchman were tied at the top of the rankings at the start of the day, but Albeau now has a 1.3 point lead.

Sebastian Kornum still occupies third in the overalls after continuing to sail consistently with the Dane recording his third, third place in the five races so far completed. Meanwhile, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel continues to recover from his slow start on the opening day and the Argentine gains a further two places to move into 4th.

Slalom – Elimination 2

In the opening round of the second race the majority of the sailors you would expect to advance did, but Benjamin Augé and Michal Aftowicz both faced disappointing first round exits. Meanwhile, Sean O’Brien completed a superb comeback as the Australian got up just before the line to steal the final qualifying place into the next round at the expense of Tomas van Zelst, who had held 4th place all the way until that point.

Maciek Rutkowski jumped the gun in Heat 5 to be left with a second round exit – upon the restart Cyril Moussilmani claimed top spot, but behind him there was plenty of drama as Taty Frans catapulted on the final reach, when in second place, to allow Ben van der Steen and Amado Vrieswijk into second and third, while Ramon Pastor was effectively the lucky loser as he unexpectedly grabbed the final qualifying position into the quarterfinals.

Heat 6 was the final heat of the day to be completed and the top 4 remained the same after the first mark, which resulted in German Sebastian Kördel convincingly winning the heat ahead of Basile Jacquin, Jimmy Diaz and Mateus Isaac.

Foiling looks set to play a major part in racing in the coming seasons so we caught up with Antoine Albeau and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel, who are heavily involved with the development of foiling to find out more.

PWA: You are involved in the development of foiling – how do you think foiling compares to say this time last year?

AA: “Last year, in April, I started working with the guys from F4 in San Francisco and together with NeilPryde we decided to produce and release one carbon foil, so we’ve been working and developing the foil together to be able to release the production foil we have now. And then at the same time we’ve also been developing the aluminum foil for beginners, which is available for the super attractive price of €800. It’s much easier to use and allows people to try foiling out. Compared to last year I think the development has been huge, but this is still only the beginning because now most of the companies already have a foil ready for the summer. I’m pretty sure that this time next year everything will have majorly progressed again.”

GCH: “I’ve been working on the Starboard Foils for about 6 months now. Last year when we started and just before Sylt’s PWA Demo Foil event, I had in my mind that foiling obviously was a new discipline for speed and racing lovers, but I was not sure who could actually do it. I thought that your level had to be pretty high – i.e. PWA level or a very technical guy. Now after all this time and evolution I am sure that we have managed to open up the chance to foil to a lot more normal windsurfers. Now we have managed to make foils that any freerider can have a go on and experience the magical feel of flying above the water. It is not only for pros anymore. 
In the Pro level, we have managed to bring down our minimum winds and we were competing in Japan with winds between 4-8 knots, something last year we wouldn’t have thought was possible. At higher speeds, we have created super stable foils, that allows us to go over 30 knots or challenge any slalom sailor on a 20 knots wind day.”

PWA: Brands are also making specific foiling boards – what are the main differences between a slalom board and a foil board?

AA: “So with a slalom board it will be a little bit more pin tailed to reduce the drag on the water – whereas with a foil board you need to be much closer to the position you stand on a formula board – so the tail needs to be more square and because you aren’t touching the water (when foiling) there is no drag in the tail, which means you can have a wide tail to help you get going earlier and it’s also more comfortable.”

GCH: “A foil board needs to be pretty wide, with slalom we have a max width of 85cm, our big foil board by Starboard is 100cm wide. This gives us exceptional early planing ability in the 4-8 knots range, plus it allows us to use bigger foils and more powerful setups. The further out you manage to stand, the more leverage and control you have over the foil. So it is actually easier to sail and control, which allows you to maintain your max speed for longer. The outline of the board should be pretty straight and the nose doesn’t need to be significantly big, as when we are flying we want less resistance on the front and a more aerodynamic design. If you want a high wind foil board we have slightly narrower shape and different rails, providing us control when flying. For a beginner, we have a slightly longer and higher rocker board, so that when you are learning and you dig the nose the board comes up instantly with control and you don’t catapult. This is key! I wouldn’t learn on those short boards and boards with a flat rocker line.”

PWA: And what are the main differences between a slalom sail and foil sail?

AA: “With NeilPryde we have been developing a foil sail that has a bit more shape in the front because when you are flying you need the sail to be really stable. Also, the leach is a bit more closed because when you are pumping in the light winds you don’t want to be exhausting all the wind. It’s better to keep the wind in the sail rather than releasing it. We’ve found like this you can fly earlier and it’s easier to keep planing – those are the main couple of differences. In Japan, I didn’t bring the specific foil sail because of the excess baggage, so I used my slalom sails – for now the difference isn’t huge between the slalom sail and the foil sail.”

GCH: “The foil sails needs to be very light in feel when you are up there you don’t want a heavy sail, so they have a reduced boom length, and a higher aspect ratio. We are looking for efficient pumping to come up on to the plane and very good rotation so when you try to do a foil gybe you have less effort. At the moment most of us are using slalom sails, but with Severne we are working hard on achieving a sail that offers the same top speed as a slalom sail while providing a light and effortless feel when on the foil.”

PWA: As foiling continues to progress – where do you see foiling fitting in?

AA: “Personally I’m trying to push foiling as much as possible because it’s something I’ve done for a very long time. I think my first foil experience was in Maui in 2000. At the moment everybody seems to see foiling as a light wind solution, which it is super nice for and it’s easy in those conditions, but you can also foil in 20-30 knots – it’s harder but it’s possible.”

GCH: “After Japan I see it progressing strongly on our tour. Already in Japan it has proved that it works perfectly in our light wind range and it massively reduces our minimum wind limit to 4 -8 knots. The medium wind range is yet to be properly discovered as most are only using foils in extremely light winds at the moment, but I see it being a great discipline in 8-15 knots as well. When the wind gets above 20 knots it is still a lot of fun, but then the performance of foiling and slalom become super close.”

PWA: What winds do you think foiling is currently best in?

AA: “When it’s super, super light, foiling is also really hard to get planing / flying – just like slalom – and it’s tricky to stay on the foil, so for me I would say 15-20 knots is the best range – particularly with flat water because then it’s quite easy.”

GCH: “4 to 15 knots.”

PWA: What are the main differences between slalom and foiling – in terms of racing and sailing angles?

AA: “With the foil you can point much higher and lower than slalom – it’s more comparable with Formula. I haven’t done any racing against a good formula guy, but I’m quite sure on a foil we would win and be faster.”

GCH: “On a foil you can point much higher and race in much lighter winds. We could bring back upwind, downwind racing again, and bigger fleet systems. There many things that could be insane with foiling, but I think for now we need to develop and try different formats – focusing on the light winds under 15 knots.”

PWA: Do you need different foiling setups?

AA: “I currently have two front wings that I can change. For light winds I have a wing with more area and width to generate more lift and it allows to me go upwind and downwind, but if the wind is constant and say between 15-20 knots then you can change down to the medium wing, which is super stable and very easy to use.”

GCH: “You could play around a lot. At Starboard, we designed a modular setup, meaning that you can change the fuselage length and the wings. So if it’s light you will put in a longer fuselage and bigger wings will make you plane earlier and have good lift and speed around the course. Then if the wind picks up, or if you are sailing a more traditional slalom course, or a long distance course, you can change to the smaller fuselage with smaller wings and it will give you higher speeds and comfort. We have opted for this as we believe that in the future you will be able to change a wing, just as you change a fin and this will allow massive changes in performance. As well for the R&D it is much easier to evolve being able to try different combos of your parts, fuselage, mast, front and back wings.”

PWA: Compared to slalom do you setup the board or sail differently?

AA: “With the harness lines they need to be further forward compared to when slalom sailing and the harness lines are much shorter, but for a beginner it isn’t a good idea to immediately start with super short lines. You still need to shorten them a bit compared to your windsurfing setup, but then gradually shorten them as you progress.”

GCH: “You can use the sail with slightly less downhaul, that’s for sure. Mast base and footstraps position go in a very similar place as for slalom, if you want slightly more power then set everything back, if you want more control further forward.”

PWA: Why is it not a good idea for beginners to start out with super short harness lines?

AA: “Because when they are super short it’s hard to get out of the harness if you lose control, which will happen, to begin with until you get used to it, so it’s better to have them so they are easier to get out of and it’s safer.”

PWA: The stance for foiling looks quite different to normal windsurfing – how do they compare?

AA: “The main differences are that you need to keep your body weight over the top of the board – you stand much more vertical. If you start to try and lay down it means that you will luff up. When you are just starting it’s really important that you keep your mast and body as vertical as possible. Steering still uses the same principles as windsurfing with heel and toe pressure to change direction – so pushing on your toes will take you downwind and conversely pressure through your feet will bring you upwind.”

GCH: “If you’ve watched closely you would’ve noticed that some of us are railing the board to leeward, this stance allows you to control the foil and go for more speed. It is like your body is almost a continuation of the mast and of the foil angle, so your weight and strength keeps the board on trim with downforce. If you adopt a normal slalom stance you will probably take off and explode instantly. Sometimes you will see us leaning extremely far forward, this is for control and to keep the foil down. But some foils produce more lift and others less, that’s why you will see some different stances around.”

PWA: Is the pressure you have to apply when foiling different compared to windsurfing? Is foiling more sensitive?

AA: “Yeah it is because if you apply the same pressure as when you are windsurfing you will turn much quicker and harder. You also have to be aware that every time you turn the foil will generate power as it turns, so it’s critical you really concentrate when you are trying to turn.”

PWA: Is it strange or difficult to switch between slalom and foiling?

AA: “No, it’s not hard. But there’s quite a big difference between the two. If it’s choppy you feel every bit of chop with the slalom gear, but when you are foiling you can just cut straight through it, so it’s great to be foiling when conditions are choppy.”

PWA: Do you think foiling needs different safety measures put in place?

AA: “No, I don’t think so. I think the problems that we saw on the start line on the first day of foiling in Japan are just because it’s the beginning of racing with the foils. People are already thinking that they know how to foil and that they know everything, so I knew that everyone was going to push like crazy at the start, but you cannot stop like you can in slalom and you cannot turn the same either, so I just decided to start from the back because I didn’t want to crash. I just think at the beginning this is how it’s going to be because the people are not aware of how difficult it is to brake and turn, but over time this will change as everyone’s level progresses.”

GCH: “I think we need to use helmets for sure. It can be pretty dangerous if someone crashes in front of you. It is pretty technical to make a sudden change of course with control. The volume of water that you cover with the foil is much greater than with a normal fin too. Courses can help us to have less crashes and as we are doing it now helps a lot. We changed the angles a bit on the first leg and at the start and we have a downwind second leg too that allows room where everybody gybes.”

PWA: In Costa Brava we’ll be holding more foil exhibition races – what do you think people can expect?

AA: “I think we will see more people participating, but the problem is that at the moment the foil companies leading the way aren’t quite ready for the level of demand, so I think by Denmark (in September) that almost everybody will have a foil and by then people will have had more time to train over the summer, so if we have foiling in Denmark I think there will be even more people and you might see different names fighting for the top places.”

PWA: Thanks Antoine and Gonzalo.

The forecast looks promising for tomorrow afternoon with potentially ideal conditions for the sea breeze to kick in with a gradient wind of 9-10 knots from the southeast and clear skies. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10 AM with a first possible start at 10:30 AM (GMT+2).

Current Ranking Foil Exhibition Catalunya PWA World Cup – *After 5 Races – 1 Discard

1st Antoine Albeau
2nd Antoine Questel
3rd
Sebastian Kornum
4th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel
5th
Mateus Isaac

    Day 3: Arnon Dagan Strikes First in Costa Brava

The wind has been teasing the slalom fleet for the last couple of days in Costa Brava, but today the sea breeze provided winds between 8-15 knots, which allowed a light wind first elimination to be completed, so at the halfway stage of the 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup it is Arnon Dagan who leads the race for the event title after he claimed a convincing victory in the opening race.

Elimination 1

In the light airs Arnon Dagan looked exceptionally quick and the Israeli easily booked his place in the winners’ final with two comfortable victories in both the quarters and semifinals. Dagan carried that perfect form into the winners’ final as he led from start to finish with an astute display, which saw him extend his advantage over the duration of the course to secure a comprehensive bullet.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Goyard, produced one of the performances of the day as the 21-year-old qualified for the winners’ final, but he wasn’t happy to purely make up the numbers in Heat 16 and at the first mark he leapfrogged Pascal Toselli and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel to move into the top two – a position which he was able to defend over the remainder of the course to claim a superb second place.

Pascal Toselli will be pleased with his 3rd place finish in the opening race here after missing out on the finals in Japan, while Costa Hoevel has now qualified for both winners’ finals which have been completed this year and he sits in 4th at the end of day 3.

Antoine Albeau starts the event with a 5th place finish, while vice-world champion – Pierre Mortefon had to settle for 6th ahead of Andrea Cucchi and Steve Allen, who blew his start in the final but still sits in 8th.

After missing out on the winners’ final reigning world champion – Matteo Iachino – put the disappointment of being absent from the final behind him as the Italian destroyed the rest of the field in the Heat 15 to secure 9th place, while limiting the damage to as little as physically possible.

Ross Williams will be gutted that the first attempt to complete the second semifinal was cancelled as the Brit already held a substantial lead after the opening buoy and would’ve almost certainly qualified for the winners’ final. However, upon the restart, Williams tried to execute a tight inside gybe at the first as he battled against Cucchi, Costa Hoevel and Goyard for a place in the top 4, but in pushing so hard he ended up in the drink, which resulted in his elimination despite valiantly fighting his way back into 5th. The 37-year-old then finished second in Heat 15 to claim 10th.

In the same heat, Jordy Vonk who came into Costa Brava on the back of his first podium in Japan – was disappointed with how he gybed in the losers’ final, which ultimately cost him 10th place in the opening elimination as Williams and Tristan Algret both punished his sloppy gybes to overtake.

The other main story of the day involved Julien Quentel, who came into the event as the tour leader, but he suffered a surprise early exit as he failed to advance from the quarterfinals. Quentel found himself with a large deficit to reduce as the fleet headed down the opening reach and he almost completed an unthinkable comeback, but ultimately his missed out in 5th and he made his frustrations and anger clear once back on the beach. The 30-year-old will now be praying that there is enough wind for a discard to come into play otherwise he will have undone all of his hard work from Japan.

The second elimination was started immediately after the conclusion of the opening race, but after the first heat had been completed, which saw Ben van der Steen safely progress after claiming the win ahead of Ramon Pastor, Tom Malina and Marc Paré – the wind deteriorated and the sailors were soon released for the day.

The forecast for tomorrow shows easterly winds of 8-9 knots for tomorrow afternoon, so whether the sea breeze will kick in without enough south in the wind remains to be seen. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10:30 AM with the action commencing from 11 AM (GMT+2) onwards. Stay up to date with all of the latest developments from Costa Brava by tuning into PWA World Tour.com

Current Ranking 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup – Men’s Slalom *After One Elimination

1st Arnon Dagan
2nd Nicolas Goyard
3rd Pascal Toselli
4th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel
5th
Antoine Albeau
6th Pierre Mortefon
7th Andrea Cucchi
8th
Steve Allen
9th Matteo Iachino
10th
Ross Williams

    Day 2: Albeau Hits Back to Level up Foil Rankings

For a long time it looked as though no result would be gained for either the slalom or foil fleets on day two of the 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup after the opening foil race was discarded after a protest by Antoine Albeau, after several sailors were obstructed by a sand bank when trying to set up for a deeper lay line to the upwind mark.

The plan after the initial attempt failed was to move immediately into another elimination, but at this point, the wind backed off to just 2-5 knots.

Usually, once the wind drops during the afternoon in Costa Brava, it doesn’t return, but today was one of those rare occasions where it did with the breeze increasing again to 4-10 knots – so the foil fleet were summoned to the water once again, which allowed a further two eliminations to be completed.

Antoine Albeau seemed to benefit the most from the additional knot or two on offer as he reversed the rankings over Antoine Questel today to claim two bullets from the two races completed.

The initial impression suggests that Albeau may need a touch more wind than yesterday, as in the slightly stronger winds in Japan he also dominated proceedings, while Questel again gained the upper hand in the slightly lighter airs. The two sailors are now tied on 3.4 points – after the discard – and they hold a significant advantage over Sebastian Kornum in third with a 6.6 point margin – meaning that even after two days of competition it could already, realistically, be a two horse race for the foil title.

Kornum will be disappointed that the triangle course from the first elimination was cancelled as in the opening semifinal he destroyed the rest of the field to win Heat 1 by over a reach long advantage, but he’s still on course for another podium finish.

Behind the Dane in the current rankings are Brazilian Mateus Isaac – 4th – Pole Maciek Rutkowski – 5th – and Argentine Gonzalo Costa Hoevel, who is the days biggest mover as he rises from 10th to 6th after recording 3rd and 4th place finishes.

The forecast for tomorrow looks similar today with the wind again predicted to increase during the afternoon from the southeast – so hopefully the sea breeze properly kicks in. Stay up to date with all of the latest developments from Costa Brava by tuning into PWA World Tour.com

Current Ranking Foil Exhibition Catalunya PWA World Cup – *After 4 Races – 1 Discard

=1st Antoine Questel
=1st
Antoine Albeau
3rd Sebastian Kornum
4th Mateus Isaac
5th Maciek Rutkowski
6th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel
7th
Malte Reuscher
8th Nicolas Goyard
9th Pierre Mortefon
10th William Huppert

    Day 1: Questel dominates to claim quick-fire foil double on opening day

With registration out of the way by 11 AM on the opening morning of the 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup – attention soon turned towards the prospect of today’s racing with the trees already rustling and the sea breeze trying to kick in early.

Cue frantic scrambling on the beach as the sailors tried to make sure they had their chosen gear ready for a 1 PM start. However, the flurry of action proved unnecessary as by this point the wind had dropped back and it wasn’t until 2:20 PM that the first, of numerous attempts, were made to complete the opening slalom heats of the week.

Eventually, after umpteen failed efforts in the marginal conditions the decision was made to switch over from slalom to foiling in order to take advantage of the light winds on offer – with the breeze generally between 4-9 knots.

Earlier in the day, 24 men registered for the foil contest meaning that two semifinals were held to decide which 12 sailors would progress into the winners’ final – with the top six from each heat qualifying for the final. Foiling is windsurfing’s newest discipline and it showed its advantages today with it being possible to complete two, exciting races on a day where otherwise it wouldn’t have been possible to gain a result.

Foiling

Just as he did in Japan – Antoine Questel – continued to look like the danger man – showing that his performance in Japan was no fluke as he claimed back-to-back bullets today to proudly sit at the top of the event rankings at the end of day one and he currently looks like the man that everyone else has to beat – especially after his victory last week.

Antoine Albeau is currently Questel’s closest challenger with the 23-time world champion having to settle for second place on both occasions today. AA did almost close down Questel in the second race after flying down the final reach, but he’ll have to wait until tomorrow for a chance to overturn his fellow countryman. Even at this early stage, it looks as though there could be an epic battle brewing between them for this weeks foil title.

Sebastian Kornum finished second in Japan and the Dane has made a solid start to proceedings to the contest with 3rd and 5th place finishes today, which sees him sitting in 3rd place at the end of day one, but faced with a significant 4-point deficit between himself and Albeau in second.

The top five is currently completed by Brazil’s Mateus Isaac, who sailed consistently to record 4th and 6th places, while Malte Reuscher and Maciek Rutkowski are currently tied for 5th. Reuscher may be a little disappointed as he made a strong start by finishing 3rd in the opening race, but then a massive crash resulted in an 11th place finish in the second elimination.

Having been in contention for the podium in Japan you’d have also expected to see Gonzalo Costa Hoevel battling it out for the top places again, but things never clicked into place for the Argentine today, for whatever reason, and he makes a disappointing start which sees him down in joint 10th with Pierre Mortefon at the moment.

The forecast for tomorrow looks light on paper, but a number of locals are predicting at least the same wind for tomorrow afternoon – if not better – which should allow for more foil races to be completed at a minimum, but hopefully the sea breeze kicks in strong enough to allow the slalom to begin as well. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 9 AM with the action commencing from 9:30 AM (GMT+2).

Current Ranking Foil Exhibition Catalunya PWA World Cup – *After 2 Races

1st Antoine Questel
2nd
Antoine Albeau
3rd Sebastian Kornum
4th Mateus Isaac
=5th Malte Reuscher
=5th Maciek Rutkowski
=7th Nicolas Goyard
=7th Amado Vrieswijk
9th William Huppert
=10th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel
=10th
Pierre Mortefon

– Text and pictures are courtesy of John Carter / PWA World Tour