The slalom sailors were blessed with a light 8-14 knot breeze and wall-to-wall sunshine in which to race down wind around a four-gybe course. A few lulls caused havoc with a couple of heats, but by one o'clock, a full elimination had been completed. The buoys remained set, and the sailors on standby for the rest of the afternoon, but what little wind there was had shut down completely forcing the competition on hold for the rest of the day.
Many times world champion, Bjorn Dunkerbeck dominated the winner's final to lead from start to finish and cross the line ahead of the current tour leader, Antoine Albeau and the Professional Windsurfing Associations's president, Diaz.
"Before the final I was really excited, I'd been doing well all day, and knew that I had decent board speed. I was also enjoying the longer run-ups that we had to the start line, it's not like Turkey where we only had about ten seconds to prepare. Here we could get lined up for at least thirty seconds enabling us to reach full speed as we hit the line" commented Dunkerbeck.
"The final was absolutely ideal for me. I tried to get a solid start in the middle of the line, trying to avoid the guys fighting it out at the pin, and also keeping away from the bunch at the boat, but still hitting it at full speed, and it worked out pretty well. Plus, I had great speed along the first reach to arrive at the first gybe ahead of Antoine, and from there on all I had to do was control him, and not make any mistakes. It felt like I had more board speed than anyone else on the water which really helped to give me confidence, and although the wind wasn't that strong, it was really consistent. My gybing was good, and I just took it home from there."
It doesn't look like we're going to be doing too much racing tomorrow, but the rest of the week looks pretty windy, so I reckon there's plenty of action still to come. And, it's great to start the event with a first place!"
Despite being beaten into second place Antoine Albeau felt he had a good day as well. "To be honest with you, I was really happy just to make the final because the conditions early on in the elimination were not the best for me. Pre-start, there was a huge battle for the pin between Alberto Menegatti and Kevin Pritchard, so I decided not to get caught up in that. I lined up just above them with Micah Buzianis and then Cyril Moussilmani came speeding up from the back and squeezed between us. I didn't see where Bjorn was, he must have been above all of us. We were all a little bit early to the start so sheeted out, which meant I had a good position, but didn't hit it at full speed. Bjorn literally came like a bullet past me, he must have had an amazing start upwind. He also had a better angle to the mark than me, was covering my wind, and was pushing hard to get to the mark first. I tried my hardest to stop him, but he gybed round the buoy first, and I had to fight with Kevin and Cyril too in order to hold my own position. At every gybe I felt like I was catching him up, but it was really difficult to get going again after each mark because I was in his wake. The course was actually fairly long at around four minutes, but it's hard to come back! I'm really pleased to be in second, it's a solid start to the event, but I'm not very happy that it's Bjorn who's in front of me!"
Stand out sailor of the day was former youth world champion Alberto Menegatti. The Italian racer continues to turn heads and following a couple of third place finishes in the early rounds, he stepped up his game to qualify for the winner's final. Menegatti's performance during the day went from strength-to-strength up to an unbelievably high standard and he claimed an impressive fourth in the final. Competing against those with at least ten years more experience, it will not be long before he is standing on the podium.
Results after one race
1. Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne, Mystic)
2. Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde)
3. Jimmy Diaz (Starboard, North)
4. Alberto Menegatti (Starboard, Simmer)
5. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine)
Top speeds today courtesy of My Geo Live
Antoine Albeau - 31.07 kts
Cyril Moussilmani - 30.57 kts
Bjorn Dunkerbeck - 30.37 kts
Jimmy Diaz - 29.87 kts
For more information on all the entrants, and to keep up-to- date with all the live action, click on www.pwaworldtour.com