Heat six - the first heat of the day - was eventually completed just after the wind eventually settled down sufficiently to allow suitable racing conditions. Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic) and Sebastian Kördel (Gaastra), both made fantastic starts, and the Frenchman took full advantage of his perfectly timed start to finish the heat in first place ahead of Pieter Bijl (Angulo / NeilPryde), Andrea Cucchi (Patrik / Point-7) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear). The terminator successfully defended off the attack of Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Different) to book his place in the quarter finals. The remaining two heats of the opening round saw no major upsets as the top seeds made in through unscathed.
Usual Suspects Compete In Quarter-finals
Into the quarter-finals and it was the usual suspects who managed to successfully qualify from heat nine - which saw only seven sailors competing after Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) missed his heat. Meanwhile, heat ten, witnessed a big upset as Matteo Iachino (F2 / Challenger / AL360) - who finished second yesterday - failed to advance into the semifinals after being made to pay for a poor start. The Italian battled hard to fight back, but agonizingly had to settle for fifth place as Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti), Maciek Rutkowski (Patrik / Point-7), Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra) and Patrick Diethelm (Patrik / Loft Sails) all advanced. The last of whom did well to qualify as he overtook Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti) on the exit of the third gybe. The penultimate quarter-final proved to be a chaotic affair after Alexandre Cousin dropped his gybe at the first mark, causing a several sailor pileup.
Fortunately for Andrea Cucchi and Bjorn Dunkerbeck they both managed to miss the carnage and enjoyed an easy passage into the semifinals from there on, whilst Pascal Toselli (RRD / Point-7) and Pieter Bijl (Angulo / NeilPryde) managed to grab the remaining qualifying places. Heat twelve was a very tough heat packed with several big names, but in the end it was Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra), Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) and Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails) who were able to advance as they ended the hopes of Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails), Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North) and Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft Sails). Questel will be left ruing his luck as the first attempt to run heat twelve saw the race cancelled at the fourth gybe mark - when the Frenchman was comfortably leading.
Albeau and Dunkerbeck - Head to Head in the Semi-Finals
The first semifinal was dominated by Patrick Diethelm after the Swiss maestro stormed across the line with a perfect start to lead from start to finish with an accomplished display. Also joining him in the winners' final will be Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) and Finian Maynard, but there was no place in the final for Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) after Cedric Bordes showed good pace and was able to overtake the Italian giant on the final reach, with Menegatti underpowered on his 7.8m.
The final heat of the day - the second semi-final - saw two arch rivals go head-to-head as Antoine Albeau and Bjorn Dunkerbeck battled it out for a place in the winners' final. The two heavy hitters of slalom both made great starts and they played cat and mouse with each other over the duration of the course. Eventually it was Albeau who crossed the finish line first, but Dunkerbeck will be more than happy to have successfully booked his place in the winners' final, after a disastrous first elimination - by his standards. Meanwhile, Britain's Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) put yesterday's error behind him to claim his place in the final, as did Josh Angulo.
Unfortunately the wind dropped just before the conclusion of race two and at 18:15 the call was made to end the day with the deteriorating wind conditions. Tomorrow promises to be an excellent day on the water with the best forecast of the week - on paper - thus far. Tomorrow's skippers' meeting has been called for 10:30am with the action commencing from 11am if conditions allow. Join us at www.pwaworldtour.com to follow the incredible action as it happens.
Scope The Action
For information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, navigate to www.pwaworldtour.com