NEWS

24/11/2017 | PWA New Caledonia – Event Summary

Day 6: Final Foil Flourish as SQ Offringa and Antoine Albeau are Crowned

After five fairly solid windy days in a row, the wind machine, unfortunately, decided to take a slight break on the final day of the 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – meaning that the rankings for the slalom remain unchanged from overnight.

However, while the wind may have been too light for further slalom, it was still possible to complete three more foil eliminations, which resulted in 3 different winners – Amado Vrieswijk, Antoine Albeau and Alexandre Cousin.

 

Women’s Slalom

With the rankings remaining the same from overnight and with the sailors being released at 3:30 PM, it was official that Sarah-Quita Offringa is the 2017 Women’s PWA Slalom World Champion, despite a superb effort from Delphine Cousin Questel who claimed a clear cut victory here. However, with Offringa securing a solid second place, the former 2-time world champion will have to wait until next year for another shot at the title.

Sarah-Quita Offringa on winning her third slalom title in a row and fourth slalom title overall:

“I’m actually really happy about it. I don’t have so much to say, but of course I’m happy it worked out, but in the end, I’m super happy that I came to New Caledonia because it was a good chance for me to learn some new things as I’m not used to sailing slalom in these kind of conditions. Every day I improved a bit, so it was a win-win situation… I managed to bring the title home, gained experience in these conditions and I got to see the whole tour again and say a proper goodbye to everybody. Overall, it was just a great way to sign off for the year.

We had some really close racing and I’m really happy that I was able to win a couple of races in these conditions because I know Delphine [Cousin Questel] is dominant in these conditions, so it’s good for me to know that it’s possible to win a couple.”

 

 

Delphine Cousin Questel, who ends the season as the vice-world champion after maintaining her winning ways in New Caledonia having previously won here in 2014 and 2015:

“I’m very happy. I came here to win, so I’m glad to have reached that goal. I had a very good battle with Sarah [Quita Offringa] and it turned out to be a perfect week with great conditions, organisation, everything was perfect.

Elsewhere, Marion Mortefon, breaks into the overall top 3 for the first time in her career – at the expense of the injured Lena Erdil  who finishes 2017 in 4th – after earning her 3rd podium finish of the year.

 

 

Men’s Slalom

Just as in the women’s division, the men’s ranking remained the same, which meant that Antoine Albeau signs off the season in style by winning the final event of the year, while also earning an incredible 24th world title.

Antoine Albeau – 24-time world champion:

“It feels super good because it wasn’t over coming into the event here – even though I had a bit of an advantage over Matteo [Iachino] as you know – it was like seven places difference between us – so when you arrive like this you know it’s almost in the pocket, but I didn’t want to think like that because you never know what can happen. Especially with someone like Matteo, who is capable of winning every race and if I’d have made some mistakes then it’s easy to miss out on the top 10. 

I was a little bit stressed for sure because until it’s official you can’t rest easy. Now it’s done and it’s great to win it by winning the last event of the season. I started okay, but not as well as Matteo, but I was very consistent and even when I broke my harness hook in the semifinal I was then still able to win the losers’ final quite easily. I was super confident because I knew my speed was good and when you know your speed is good you feel a lot safer. The year before was a little bit hard for me because I wasn’t super fast, especially in light winds, which then makes it difficult.

Is it getting easier or harder? Hmmm… you know every year is different. There are a lot of variables. How you start the year, how strong is the wind going to be? This year we were unlucky with the conditions at the two first events (South Korea and Japan), but in the end, we scored Costa Brava, Fuerte, Denmark and here as well. Sylt we were only able to complete two eliminations, but overall I think we’ve had a very good year.”

 

 

Matteo Iachino and Pierre Mortefon were both perfectly poised to attack Albeau at the top of the event rankings with just 1.6 points between the top 3, but the wind didn’t play ball to give them that opportunity. That means Iachino finishes 2017 as the vice-world champion, while Mortefon was able to pip Ross Williams to the final place on the prestigious overall podium. We’ll have a full rundown of this year’s event and overall top 10 in the event summary on Tuesday.

 

 

Foiling

A further three foil races were completed on the final day with the wind remaining too light for slalom. Amado Vrieswijk was able to win the first race of the day, but was later injured in a collision with Malte Reuscher and was lucky to walk away relatively unscathed from a potentially lethal incident.

 

Round the Island

The remaining two foil races of the week were long distance round the island competitions and with shifty, gusty winds there was an element of luck involved. Antoine Albeau won the first round the island race ahead of Matteo Iachino and Vrieswijk.

Gonzalo Costa Hoevel looked to have the second race sewn up after, but after tacking in a wind hole the Argentine was unable to get back onto the foil, which allowed Alexandre Cousin to swoop in and snatch the victory. However, Costa Hoevel’s event victory was never in danger after a dominant set of performances, while the podium is completed by Maciek Rutkowski and Thomas Goyard.

 

 

The closing ceremony was held at 5 PM in front of a packed out beach as the event and world champions were crowned in Noumea to bring the curtain down on the 2017 PWA World Tour.

 

Result 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Women’s Slalom

1st Delphine Cousin Questel

2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa

3rd Marion Mortefon

4th Lena Erdil

5th Lilou Granier

 

Overall Ranking 2017 Women’s PWA Slalom World Tour

1st Sarah-Quita Offringa

2nd Delphine Cousin Questel

3rd Marion Mortefon

4th Lena Erdil

5th Maelle Guilbaud

 

Result 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Men’s Slalom

1st Antoine Albeau

2nd Matteo Iachino

3rd Pierre Mortefon

4th Marco Lang

5th Sebastian Koerdel

 

Overall Ranking 2017 Men’s PWA Slalom World Tour

1st Antoine Albeau

2nd Matteo Iachino

3rd Pierre Mortefon

4th Ross Williams

5th Pascal Toselli

 

Result 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Men’s Foil Exhibition

1st Gonzalo Costa Hoevel

2nd Maciek Rutkowski

3rd Thomas Goyard

4th Alexandre Cousin

5th Nicolas Goyard

 

Day 5: Cousin Questel in Cruise Control, while Men’s Slalom Heads Final Day Showdown

The action continued on the penultimate day of the Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup with two further foil races, two women’s slalom eliminations and one more men’s slalom completed, but conditions were anything but easy with the cross to cross offshore winds making the winds extremely gusty in the range of 10-20 knots.

 

Women’s

Delphine Cousin Questel continued to dominate the women’s slalom on Day 5 after winning both the eliminations completed today in emphatic style, which means the former 2-time world champion has won the last three races and looks set to continue her winning ways in New Caledonia having claimed victories here in 2014 and 2015.

However, while on course to end the season on a high, it appears there is now nothing she can do to prevent Sarah-Quita Offringa from becoming the 2017 Women’s PWA Slalom World Champion. Offringa sailed solidly again to secure two second places and she now holds a 13.9 point advantage over Marion Mortefon in third and with just one more day to go it is virtually impossible to see that changing.

 

 

Lena Erdil started the day in third looking to defend her place on both the event and overall podium, but sadly, despite trying to bravely sail through the pain, it looks as though she may miss out on both, with the foot injury she sustained on Day 3 badly impairing her performance.

Marion Mortefon, Erdil’s nemesis, trailed the Turk by 4 points at the start of proceedings, but after recording 3rd and 4th place finishes today the French girl has leapfrogged Erdil into 3rd place in the event rankings, while opening a 2 point advantage. If things were to finish as they were now then Mortefon would clinch the final place on the prestigious overall podium with 3000 points to Erdil’s 2990 points, which would be a bitter blow for Erdil, who has not finished outside of the top 3 since 2014.

 

 

Local girl Lilou Granier did briefly occupy 3rd place in the event rankings after a 4th place in the first race of the day, but the 17-year-old then missed out on the winners’ final, so she currently sits in 5th place.

 

Men’s

For the first time this week Antoine Albeau missed out on the winners’ final, but that was through no fault of his own after AA became the second person this week after Marco Lang to snap a harness bar in the semifinals, which left him with no chance of qualifying. While obviously disappointing, Albeau, still holds onto the event lead by 1 point over Matteo Iachino, who needed a 3rd place finish or better in the winners’ final to regain the top spot, but the Italian could ‘only’ manage a 5th.

While the battle for the title is all but over with Albeau holding a 27.6 point advantage over Ross Williams in 8th place (Albeau only requires top 8 finish to win) – the final day still promises to provide a thrilling finale to the season with Albeau, Iachino and Pierre Mortefon all fighting for the final event victory of 2017. Mortefon is now just 1.6 points behind Albeau after another excellent day which saw the Frenchman record a 2nd and 3rd place today.

 

 

Mortefon is also now firmly in pole position for the remaining place on the overall podium as he holds a 13 point advantage over teammate Marco Lang in 4th, so it is difficult to see Mortefon slipping down the rankings, which means that Ross Williams will now need to find a way from climbing from 8th to 6th place in order to defend his 3rd place from last year. A current deficit of 4.1 points, but that will vary after the completion of Elimination 7 when the second discard comes into play. We will revisit the rankings when that happens as there are too many connotations to outline.

However, Williams’ quest to re-establish himself in the top 6 has been made harder after Arnon Dagan – who is currently ranked 6th – snatched a dramatic late victory in Elimination 6, and with the second discard coming into play Dagan could potentially dispatch an 18.5, which would make him extremely difficult to overhaul.

In the final of Elimination 6 it looked as though Tristan Algret was on course to win his first elimination ever on the world tour after the 23-year-old burst into the lead and built a commanding advantage. However, with the victory seemingly at his mercy Algret wobbled through an extremely dodgy last gybe – only just staying on his board – which opened up the door for Arnon Dagan, who didn’t need a second invite to come through and snatch a dramatic late victory just before the finish line as things instantly turned from a dream into a nightmare for Algret, who will no doubt be reliving that moment over and over again tonight. His day will come one day soon though and 2nd place was still his best result of the week, which sees him jump from 20th to 14th.

 

 

Marco Lang looked extremely quick again today and his blistering pace earned him an excellent 4th place finish and with Sebastian Koerdel being disqualified from the winners’ final for a premature start, the Austrian leapfrogs his friend into 4th, while the German falls one place to 5th, but just one place separates them heading into the final day.

Elsewhere, Cyril Moussilmani climbs one spot to 7th after a 6th place finish, while Pascal Toselli falls 3 places to 9th after making only his second real mistake of the week after exiting Elimination 6 in the quarterfinals. The Frenchman could still fly back up the rankings if he’s able to take advantage of the second discard as he looks to remain on course for overall top 10. Meanwhile, fellow Frenchman Cedric Bordes completes occupies 10th, but only holds a half point advantage over Antoine Questel so his place is anything but assured.

 

 

Foiling

In the morning, two full fleet foil races were completed before switching to slalom, which saw Antoine Albeau and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel claim one victory apiece – although the Argentine could have won both races. However, he set his lay line wrong in the closing stages of the first race to allow Albeau to swoop in and steal the victory, while Costa Hoevel then took advantage of Julien Quentel’s misfortune in the second race of the day – catching the rope with his foil – to snatch the victory and remain firmly in control at the top of the rankings.

 

 

The forecast for tomorrow predicts less offshore winds than today, although still not the normal southeasterly direction, but it should allow for more racing on the final day to conclude what has been a superb event so far. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 9:30 AM – with the action commencing from 10 AM (GMT+11) onwards.

 

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Women’s Slalom *After 8 Eliminations

1st Delphine Cousin Questel

2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa

3rd Marion Mortefon

4th Lena Erdil

5th Lilou Granier

 

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Men’s Slalom *After 6 Eliminations

1st Antoine Albeau

2nd Matteo Iachino

3rd Pierre Mortefon

4th Marco Lang

5th Sebastian Koerdel

 

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Men’s Foil Exhibition *After 6 Eliminations

1st Gonzalo Costa Hoevel

2nd Nicolas Goyard

3rd Maciek Rutkowski

4th William Huppert

5th Thomas Goyard

6th Alexandre Cousin

7th Benjamin Tillier

8th Antoine Questel

9th Julien Quentel

10th Cedric Bordes

 

Day 4: Dominant Gonzalo Costa Hoevel Extends Advantage on Foil Rankings

Day 4 of the 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup wasn’t your typical day in New Caledonia as the usual wall-to-wall sunshine and consistent trade winds were replaced with cloudy, stormy at times, skies and intermittent rain. This led to a largely frustrating day, which limited the action to just one foil race being completed in tricky conditions by the middle of the afternoon, but during the early evening the wind did improve. This resulted in two further foil races being completed in undoubtedly the best conditions we’ve seen foiling competed in so far with solid winds transforming it into a truly dynamic and exciting spectacle.

 

Foiling

Gonzalo Costa Hoevel won the first foil race of the event yesterday and the Argentine, who is heavily involved in the research and development of foiling for Starboard and Severne, shone again today as he produced a truly dominant performance to win both medium wind races, while finishes second in the opening race today. Costa Hoevel’s dominance has seen him open up a 7.9 point advantage over his closest challenger Maciek Rutkowski in second place.

The 37-year-old also did extremely well to avoid hitting Julien Quentel in the final race of the day after Quentel went over the handlebars directly in front of him, which could’ve had dire consequences. After overcoming that obstacle, Costa Hoevel quickly regained his composure to close down Nicolas Goyard and the Argentine’s excellent tactical awareness paid dividends again with Goyard tacking too early, while Costa Hoevel set the perfect lay line to build an unassailable lead to claim another clinical victory. After such a dominant display it’s hard to see anyone dislodging him from the top of the rankings.

 

 

With the completion of the 4th race the discard comes into play and Maciek Rutkowski is the sailor to have gained the most from the discard. The Pole didn’t make a bad start to the event – finishing 6th – but was then disqualified from the final of Race 2 for a premature start – resulting in a 16th place. However, in the stronger winds, Rutkowski recovered brilliantly with two second places, which catapults him up to 2nd place in the current rankings.

The Goyard brother’s – Nicolas Goyard and Thomas Goyard – currently occupy 3rd and 4th place and trail Rutkowski by just 1 and 2 points respectively.

Antoine Questel started the season in excellent form – winning in Japan and finishing 2nd in Costa Brava – before a disappointing result in Sylt. However, the Frenchman has bounced back to form to a degree here and currently sits in 5th place, just ahead of fellow countrymen – Benjamin Tillier, William Huppert, Julien Quentel, Alexandre Cousin – who was unlucky to snap a UJ in the last race and drops to 9th – and Cedric Bordes. Meaning that 8 of the current top 10 are completed by Frenchmen.

The forecast for tomorrow predicts lighter east-north-east, but importantly clearer skies are expected, which should hopefully result in more consistent winds even though the gradient wind is not from its normal southeasterly direction. The sailors will meet again tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM with the action commencing from 10 AM onwards (GMT+11).

 

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Men’s Foil Exhibition *After 4 Eliminations

1st Gonzalo Costa Hoevel

2nd Maciek Rutkowski

3rd Nicolas Goyard

4th Thomas Goyard

5th Antoine Questel

 

Day 3: Tempers Flare After a Tricky Day but Usual Suspects Rise to Top

After close to perfect conditions on the opening two days of the 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup, Day 3 proved to be by far the most challenging day yet with big wind shifts and variable wind speeds making conditions extremely tricky. This resulted in several tempers flaring as things threatened to boil over at times. However, in spite of the tough conditions, it was generally the same set of usual suspects who rose to the top.

 

Women’s

After relinquishing the event lead to Sarah-Quita Offringa in the opening race today, Delphine Cousin Questel hit back almost immediately to regain the No.1 spot at the halfway stage. She continued her remarkable run of form, which has seen her not finish outside the top 2 places in the six races completed so far: 3 first places and 3 second places.

Sarah-Quita Offringa had moved into the event lead for the first time earlier in the day after winning Elimination 5, but she then surprisingly failed to qualify for the winners’ final of Elimination 6 after being overpowered during the semi-finals. Offringa was still in contention as they rounded the final mark but narrowly lost out to Marion Mortefon, who went on to record her best result out the event so far with an excellent 3rd place.

 

 

A mixed bag of results for Offringa means she now trails Cousin Questel by 4 points heading into the second half of the event. But that gap could be reduced to almost nothing again when the second discard comes into play after Elimination 7 and it’s going to be fascinating to see how the remainder of the event plays out.

After a slow start, Lena Erdil had recovered nicely with a series of 2nd and 3rd places. She kicked off the day with another solid 3rd to be prominently placed in the event rankings. However, disaster struck for the Turkish beauty when she injured her foot rounding the first mark in the winners’ final of Elimination 6, which resulted in an 8th place and she will now have to cross her fingers that it is nothing too serious with Marion Mortefon now being a genuine threat for the final place on the prestigious podium.

 

 

As things stand, Erdil holds a 4 point advantage over Mortefon – who is currently 5th – but if the French girl can turn the tables and beat Erdil by at least one place then she would snatch 3rd in the overall rankings, so there’s still everything to play for. However, after speaking briefly to Lena Erdil it sounds like her injury could be worse than initially feared so we will have to wait and see if she is able to sail. Everyone from the PWA would like to wish Lena all the best and hope to see her competing tomorrow.

Elsewhere, Lilou Granier, again made a slow start to the day as she missed out on the winners’ final in the opening race. But she was able to recover in Elimination 6 with an excellent second place after Yuki Sunaga dropped her final gybe when leading the final to unfortunately drop from first to last in an instance.

Men’s

Antoine Albeau enjoyed another fine day as he won the sole race completed, which sees AA move to the top of the event rankings at the close of play – holding a two point advantage over Matteo Iachino.

In terms of the title race, it’s almost impossible to imagine Albeau losing out from here as he holds a 26.6 point advantage over Cyril Moussilmani in 8th place and it would surely now take a catastrophic loss of form or an unbelievable run of bad luck to stop him from claiming a 24th world title.

 

 

Matteo Iachino occupies a clear-cut second place at the halfway stage and will still fancy his chances of signing off the year with a victory. The Italian blew the start in Elimination 5 but did remarkably well to recover into 5th place by the end of the course.

Meanwhile, the race for the final place on the prestigious overall podium couldn’t be closer between Pierre Mortefon and Ross Williams.

At the close of play yesterday, Williams trailed in the battle for 3rd, after holding the advantage coming into the final clash of the year. But today he fought back as he climbed two places from 9th to 7th in the event rankings. Although, the Brit did ride his luck at times as he left it until the final reach of Heat 11 to pass Basile Jacquin and snatch the final qualifying place into the semis. Had he been eliminated there and then, you’d had to have thought that that would have ended his challenge with Mortefon involved in the same heat and the Frenchman eventually going on to finish second in Elimination 5, which cements his place in 3rd for the event.

 

 

If things were to finish as they are right now with Mortefon 3rd and Williams 7th, the two sailors would finish tied on 4960 points. But Mortefon would take 3rd on count back, so Williams either needs to climb at least one place or hope that Mortefon drops to at least 4th. However, with Mortefon holding a 9 point advantage over his closest challenger Sebastian Koerdel in 4th, it is likely that Williams will need to find a way to continue his climb up the event rankings.

Koerdel may have missed out on the winners’ final, but the German remains in 4th place heading into Day 4 after sailing well to secure 2nd place in Heat 15 – 10th for the elimination.

Marco Lang also holds firm in 5th place from the overnight standings after making his third winners’ final of the week – where he finished 8th.

Elsewhere, Pascal Toselli recorded his best result of the event so far as he took home 3rd place in Elimination 5, which sees the Frenchman regain 6th place at the expense of fellow countryman Cyril Moussilmani. Moussilmani was absolutely fuming that Heat 10 wasn’t cancelled after he entered the first mark in the lead before failing to get away and dropping to the back of the pack, but despite his furious protests once returning to the beach the result was upheld. That quarterfinal exit sees Moussilmani drop two places to 8th.

 

 

Arnon Dagan, who won the last race on Day 2, falls one place to 9th after jumping the gun in the semifinals, while Antoine Questel completes the top 10 after recording his best result so far 4th. The same is also true for fellow countryman Alexandre Cousin who qualified for his first winners’ final of the week before finishing 7th – in a race that was dominated by the French who occupied 1-4th.

 

Foil

First thing today the opening foil exhibition of the week was completed and it was Gonzalo Costa Hoevel who struck first blood as he managed to hold off the valiant challenge of Nicolas Goyard, while Alexandre Cousin finished just ahead of Antoine Questel to complete the top 3.

 

 

On paper tomorrow looks as though it could be another challenging day on the water with winds of a similar strength: 13-20 knots and from the same direction: ENE – currently forecast. The sailors will meet again at 9:30 AM with the action commencing from 10 AM (GMT+11) onwards.

Day 3 Rankings

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Women’s Slalom *After 6 Eliminations

1st Delphine Cousin Questel
2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa
3rd Lena Erdil
4th Lilou Granier
5th Marion Mortefon

 

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Men’s Slalom *After 5 Eliminations

1st Antoine Albeau
2nd Matteo Iachino
3rd Pierre Mortefon
4th Sebastian Koerdel
5th Marco Lang

 

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Men’s Foil Exhibition *After 1 Elimination

1st Gonzalo Costa Hoevel
2nd Nicolas Goyard
3rd Alexandre Cousin
4th Antoine Questel
5th Cedric Bordes

 

Day 2: Offringa and Albeau Solidify Title Winning Credentials

Anse Vata Beach served up another intense dose of racing on Day 2 of the 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup with the wind blowing 20-30 knots for almost the entire day, which allowed a further three eliminations to be completed in superb slalom conditions.

 

 

At the close of play, the same man and woman head up the event rankings as overnight – Matteo Iachino and Delphine Cousin Questel – and despite their best efforts they remain powerless to prevent Antoine Albeau and Sarah-Quita Offringa from claiming the 2017 Men’s and Women’s PWA Slalom World Championships with both Albeau and Offringa reducing the deficit to rise into second place in the event rankings, while solidifying their title credentials.

 

Women’s

After a slightly slow start yesterday the current world tour leader – Sarah-Quita Offringa responded in the perfect fashion by bouncing back superbly and winning the first race of the day. However, it still wasn’t all plain sailing as a slow start in Elimination 3 almost cost her dearly, but she did well to battle back into 3rd place over the remainder of the course.

In the very next race. Offringa survived another scare after dropping her second gybe in the semifinals, but she managed to recover before going on to secure her second bullet of the day in Elimination 4 – which reduces current event leader Delphine Cousin Questel’s lead to just 1 point, while putting her firmly back in control of the title race as she now holds a comfortable 5.6 point advantage over Lilou Granier in 4th place – when she only requires a top 3 finish to secure the title.

 

 

Delphine Cousin Questel still heads the top of the rankings at the close of play on Day 2 after another excellent performance today which saw the former two-time world champion record two seconds and a first from the three races completed.

Lena Erdil, who came into the event, second in the overall rankings, suffered a disappointing opening day after finishing 7th, but she rediscovered the sort of form we have come to expect from her in recent years by bouncing back with a 2nd and two 3rd places, which sees her rise four spots from the overnight rankings into 3rd place – keeping her on course for the overall podium.

 

 

Elsewhere, Lilou Granier who came so close to winning the opening elimination yesterday suffered a disastrous start to the day as she was disqualified in the semifinals for a premature start. However, after that, the 17-year-old recovered well with two 4th places, which sees her sitting in 4th place at the close of play – 4 points ahead of Marion Mortefon in 5th.

 

Men’s

The event lead swung hands on a couple of occasions today in the men’s division with reigning world champion Matteo Iachino continuing to go head-to-head with Antoine Albeau.

In the opening race of the day, Iachino struck again to maintain his perfect start to the event, but then a 6th place in Elimination 3 combined with Albeau winning his first race of the week saw AA move to the top of the event rankings, while also assuming complete control of the title race. However, Iachino finishes the day with a 1.7 point advantage over Albeau at the top of the rankings with the discard coming in to play.

 

 

In terms of the title race though Albeau is in command as he now holds a 16.5 point advantage over Arnon Dagan in 8th place and Albeau only needs to finish 8th or better in order to guarantee himself an incredible 24th world title.

For Dagan, the first two races were a bit of a disaster, but he has since recovered superbly with a 4th place and a bullet to bring himself back into contention to maintain his hopes of finishing the season in the overall top 10.

While the title race may look to be all but over the race for the remaining place on the prestigious overall podium is firmly on with the momentum swinging in Pierre Mortefon’s favour. The Frenchman came into the event in 4th place, but if things were to finish as they currently stand, then Mortefon would overtake Ross Williams in the fight for 3rd place. Mortefon currently occupies 3rd place in the event rankings after discarding an 11th place from Elimination 2 before recording two solid results – 2nd and a 5th – while Williams, by his standards, had a bit of a day to forget. The Brit started the day with a decent 5th before suffering a quarterfinal exit in Elimination 3 soon followed by missing the winners’ final in Elimination 4, which leaves him in 9th place in the current event rankings.

 

 

Williams hasn’t finished lower than 9th all season and came into the final event of the year on the back of 3 consecutive podiums, so while you certainly wouldn’t bet against him recovering from this small blip you also feel that he can’t really afford anymore slip-ups with Mortefon applying the pressure.

Elsewhere, Sebastian Kördel rises one place to 4th after another excellent day – apart from a small blemish in Elimination 3. However, the German then hit back with his best result to date in a single race – 2nd – and will look to continue to build over the remainder of the event.

Cyril Moussilmani is one of the biggest movers of the day after a consistent set of performances – 3rd, 10th and a 7th – sees the Frenchman rise 8 places to 6th, while fellow countryman Pascal Toselli falls one place to 7th.

 

 

The top 10 is currently completed by Malte Reuscher, who has been extremely consistent with two 9th places and a 12th and the German looked to be on course for another top 16 finish in Elimination 3 until Maciek Rutkowski gybed into him at the final mark – when both sailors were in the qualifying positions – resulting in Reuscher falling. The 27-year-old lodged an official protest against Rutkowski for dangerous sailing, but those appeals turned out to be in vain.

After a pulsating day of racing, the sailors were released shortly before 5 PM and they will meet again tomorrow morning.

Day 2 Rankings

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Women’s Slalom *After 4 Eliminations

1st Delphine Cousin Questel
2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa
3rd Lena Erdil
4th Lilou Granier
5th Marion Mortefon

 

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Men’s Slalom *After 4 Eliminations

1st Matteo Iachino
2nd Antoine Albeau
3rd Pierre Mortefon
4th Sebastian Koerdel
5th Marco Lang

 

Day 1: Cousin Questel and Iachino Show Fighting Spirit to Keep Title Hopes Alive

The reliable trade winds that New Caledonia are known for didn’t disappoint on the opening day of the 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup, so once registration was out of the way it was straight into the thick of the action with 20-25 knots of breeze on offer.

By the close of play on Day 1 the opening elimination for the men’s and women’s fleets has been completed and the title races remain very much still open after Delphine Cousin Questel and Matteo Iachino claimed respective victories to keep current world tour leaders Sarah-Quita Offringa and Antoine Albeau on their toes.

 

Women’s

Delphine Cousin Questel snatched a remarkable victory in the opening elimination to deny 17-year-old local girl Lilou Granier a famous first victory on the World Tour. Granier safely rounded the last mark after leading from start to finish and looked to be on course to record a memorable first ever bullet in front of her home crowd only for Cousin Questel to fly down the final reach and clinch a thrilling win in a photo finish. Cousin Questel is the only girl still standing that can deny Sarah-Quita Offringa. And her gritty performance here shows she’s more than up for the challenge and is ready to lay down the gauntlet to her rival.

Granier may have been disappointed to be denied her first bullet, but after only making her debut at this event two years ago she showed the sort of fearless attitude that comes with youth. Clearly she wasn’t intimidated in the slightest by going up against her peers and it will be intriguing to see if she is able to sustain that level of performance. If she can sail anywhere near as well as she did today, then she is a serious contender for the podium.

 

 

The battle for 3rd and 4th place saw another extremely tight finish. Marion Mortefon was clearly disappointed to just miss out on 3rd to Japan’s Yuki Sunaga. Particularly as her main podium rivals Maëlle Guilbaud and Lena Erdil could only muster 5th and 7th place finishes respectively.

In terms of the title race things remain wide open, for the time being at least, with Sarah-Quita Offringa unable to recover from a rare poor start, which left her having to settle for 5th place in the opening race. But at least four eliminations must be completed to give Cousin Questel any chance and then Offringa must finish outside of the top 3 and you would expect her to raise her performance over the coming days. But from a neutral’s perspective, it keeps things interesting heading into Day 2.

 

Men’s

Reigning World Champion Matteo Iachino came into the final event of the year as Antoine Albeau’s main rival and that’s certainly how things remain at the close of play on the first day with the Italian doing everything in his power to reduce the deficit by leading from start to finish to claim the opening bullet of the week.

 

 

However, the clear advantage remains with Albeau who produced a solid performance to secure 4th place, which keeps him well ahead of the 8th or better finish he requires to be crowned the world champion. It is however early days and Iachino has shown he’s ready to pounce on any mistakes should the opportunity arise.

Marco Lang came into the final event of the year off the back of his first ever victory on the world tour in Sylt and it was almost like the Austrian hadn’t been away from the race course. He started the week off with an excellent second place; meaning his results from his last three eliminations read 1st, 1st, 2nd. You’d have to say he looks ready for another deep run in the competition!

Meanwhile, teammate Pierre Mortefon showed a blistering turn of speed on the second reach in the final to fly into 3rd place. The Frenchman was then able to hold off able to open with a 3rd and with Ross Williams down in 7th place, the race is certainly on for the prestigious overall podium.

 

 

Sebastian Kördel who started the season so positively before seemingly losing his form slightly bounced back to life today. He booked his place in the winners’ final before securing 5th place, one ahead of Pascal Toselli in 6th. Meanwhile, Amado Vrieswijk navigated his way into another final – although Argentina’s Gonzalo Costa Hoevel wasn’t too happy with the Bonairean after a coming together at the final mark in Heat 14.

Elsewhere, Malte Reuscher made a solid start to the week by securing 9th place in the opening elimination after winning Heat 15 ahead of Costa Hoevel and Antoine Questel.

The opening elimination wasn’t without it’s upsets though. Current world No.5 Julien Quentel, world No.9 and 10 Arnon Dagan and Jordy Vonk and world No.13 Cedric Bordes all eliminated in the quarterfinals. And 2014 event champion Ben van der Steen also suffered the same fate.

 

 

The opening two rounds of the second elimination were also completed before the official opening ceremony was held at the Chateaux Royal Beach Resort.

The sailors will meet again tomorrow morning at 10 AM with the action commencing from 10:30 AM (GMT+11) onwards. On WindGuru, the forecast looks quite similar to today although the wind is expected to be more easterly. We will have to wait and see what happens.

Day 1 Rankings

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Women’s Slalom *After One Elimination

1st Delphine Cousin Questel
2nd Lilou Granier
3rd Yuki Sunaga
4th Marion Mortefon
5th Sarah-Quita Offringa

 

Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Men’s Slalom *After One Elimination

1st Matteo Iachino
2nd Marco Lang
3rd Pierre Mortefon
4th Antoine Albeau
5th Sebastian Koerdel

 

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