|PRITCHARD and ALBEAU battle it out
© PWA/Alex Williams
With the wind still first-class for racing, Race Director Juan Antonio ARAGON wasted no time in getting race 4 underway. ALBEAU, looking lethal from the start gun blew his chance by getting stuck in traffic at the first mark as Pritchard cheekily soared wide of obstruction and into the lead for another win.
The exciting 6-buoy, downwind course was left out for a fifth race to make the most of the steady 15-20 knot wind conditions. The big surprise in race 5 was ALBEAU'S risky and arguably unnecessary overtaking move in a qualifying heat that caused him to fall and fail to advance to the finals.
PRITCHARD exploited ALBEAU's absence, winning the final, regardless of starting shoulder to shoulder with Jimmy DIAZ (F2 / North), who applied pressure all the way to the finish.
Day four, more wind and it was Micah BUZIANIS' day to stealthily emerge from the shadows in the sixth and final race.
ALBEAU again failed to advance after being caught up in another mass disqualification in the semi-finals as nerves took their toll at the top.
In the final, Pieter BIJL (Fanatic / NeilPryde) and BUZIANIS had storybook starts and incredible speed over the course, but it was BUZIANIS who grafted the victory in the face of an incredible challenge from BIJL. PRITCHARD scored vital points to consolidate his lead, finishing third after a disastrously crossing the start line in last place.
No more wind over the last two days contributed to a pressure-cooker atmosphere as the wait for a seventh race, the vital discard it would have signified, and more importantly the opportunity for anyone to confront the leader never appeared.
Like JAGGI, PRITCHARD has taken a key psychological lead and devastated his opponents. 'I obviously came here to win' he said, 'But, I wasn't really thinking about it too much beforehand. I have to say good starts and the mistakes of others have helped, although I had really great board speed too. It was an important win because a lot of people look in to see what gear is doing well and my Maui Sails and Starboard combination was simply superb. It's a great start to the season for me and my sponsors, and it's definitely going to give me valuable momentum for the rest of the year'
BUZIANIS, undeniably stated he'd come here to win, but was upbeat about his podium finish. 'I'm happy with my gear, and I feel great. But, I'll be working on my starts in a big way after this competition, even though they got better as the event went on'
ALBEAU, who dominated in 2006, was also happy with his speed, but admitted his errors cost him dearly. 'I just made too many mistakes. This event has taught me that this season I will need to concentrate more in order to use my strengths'
The Ulsan World Cup was an undoubted success, hugely popular with the sailors, and put on with an amazing ambience by the Korean hosts. There was a mammoth amount of effort put into welcoming these international athletes to a new location, and the experience the people of Korea have given every visitor here will live long in their memories.
The PWA would like to express enormous thanks to the Ulsan Broadcasting Corporation and all the sponsors of this event. We look forward to returning in 2008 and for many seasons to come.
Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) Events are designated as ISAF Special Events. There are five main disciplines that are held on the PWA World Tour: Wave, Freestyle, Race (Slalom 42), Super X and Indoor. Competitors at each World Tour event score points towards the PWA Annual Ranking list. At the end of the season, the sailor with the highest total score in each discipline is the PWA World Champion for that year. For more information on the PWA, the events and the sailors visit the PWA website - www.pwaworldtour.com.
For all the new from the PWA World Tour CLICK HERE.