Brazilian 18 year old Kauli Seadi (Naish/Naish) was victorious today here in Sotavento, Fuerteventura without even putting his foot in the water. Kauli is possibly the youngest sailor ever to win a PWA Grand Prix event.
He was waiting all day to see who would meet him in the final of the second mens double elimination. He must have had the Brazillian wind gods looking down on him as with only four heats to the final the wind turned onshore and completely stopped. Head judge Klaus Michel waited for 30 minutes to see if it would pick up, but it was not to be and as the end of event flag went up Kauli was thrown into the water by American Josh Stone(JP/Pryde).
Kauli´s only words after obviously thanking his sponsors were:
¨I will buy everyone in the tent a drink tonight, I´ve got enough money now!!´´
The prize purse for the event was 50 000 euros.
Today was not only important for the result of the event here in Sotavento but it was crucial to the Overall World Freestyle rankings. Four sailors were in contention all day for the number one ranking with only one event remaining, Norweigan Vidar Jensen(North), American Josh Stone(JP/Pryde), American Matt Prichard (AHD/Gaastra) and French man Antoine Albeau(AHD/Pryde). The pressure on these guys all day could be felt from the tense atmosphere on the beach as each heats results were called out.
Ironically the most important heat of the day was between the leader of the freestyle rankings Vidar Jensen and Josh Stone's brother Jason Stone(Gaastra). If Jason beat Vidar it would destroy Vidars chances of taking the World title for the year and hence improve Josh´s chances of retaining his Freestyle crown. Pressure on Jason?. Just a bit!!
Having sailed inconsistently all week Jason really pulled out all the stops and sailed the heat of his life landing every trick he tried, much to the delight of his screaming brother on the beach. The result was academic, all the judges gave the heat to Jason who was stoked to say the least. If that was not enough pressure for young Jason, his next heat was against Antoine Albeau, if he beat Antoine then Josh would be leading the Freestyle rankings for the year. The X factor however was Antoine as he is a much more experienced contest sailor than young Jason and has handled this sort of pressure before, despite the light winds Antoine kept his cool and won the judges decision over young Jason. In the other heat taking place at the same time Josh Stone had advanced to meet his team mate Dioni Guadagnino(JP/Pryde). This turned out to be the closest heat of the day but unfortunately for Dioni he was just out Spocked by Josh.
And then the wind stopped! With Josh set to meet Matt Pritchard(AHD/Gaastra) and Antoine set to meet Ricardo Campello (JP/Pryde) the event was eventually ended despite waiting for some sign of the wind returning.
So the final event results saw Kauli Seadi (Naish) winning, Matt Pritchard (AHD,Gaastra) second, Josh Stone (JP/Pryde) third and Briton Robby Swift (JP/Pryde) a very happy fourth.
The Overall rankings now see Antoine Albeau at the top, Josh Stone second, Matt Pritchard third and Vidar Jensen demoted from first to fourth. This leaves the championship wide open with one event remaining in Sylt, Germany. One thing is guaranteed, it will be an exciting end to the year.
The women were unlucky not to make it into the water today which meant that the event results from yesterdays competition will stand. This left Colette Guadagnino (JP/Pryde) taking the top spot on the winners podium ahead of Swiss Karin Jaggi(F2/Arrows) in second and Spaniard Daida Ruano Moreno (Mistral/North) in third.
Colette had two reasons to celebrate today, not only did she win the event but she also moved to the top of the womens freestyle rankings for the year, ahead of Iballa Ruano Moreno (Mistral/North) and Karin Jaggi (F2/Arrows). So just like the men the womens overall title hangs in the balance with just Sylt remaining.
So the wind blew and blew and eventually blew itself out!! The sailors were all in agreement that this event had truely raised the level of competition freestyle sailing. The performance of Kauli Seadi (Naish) was amazing and he has set the benchmark to where the other sailors should strive to reach.