Antoine ALBEAU (Neil Pryde, AHD) of France has stormed into the lead in the men's racing after taking three out of four bullets on the opening race day here.
The 31 year old racer finished the day in pole position ahead of British sailor Ross WILLIAMS (Gaastra, Starboard) in second, Ben Van der STEEN (Fanatic, Neil Pryde) of Holland third and Brian ROGILD (Gaastra, Starboard) representing Denmark in fourth. With winds increasing and bright sunshine throughout the day, it was the turn of the racers to draw huge crowds down to the waters edge here in Sylt this afternoon.
The opening two races yesterday morning were held in 12-15 knot winds on an upwind, downwind course with the finish line right on the beach. Albeau dominated both races reveling in the choppy conditions and leading the pack by a considerable margin in both races. The French all rounder led the first race of the day from start to finish with Steve ALLEN (Neil Pryde, Fanatic) of Australia picking up second and current number one ranked PWA racer Micah BUZIANIS (Mistral, North) blistering across the line in third. World number two Wojtek BRZOZOWSKI (Starboard, Neil Pryde) had a bad start in the opening race and subsequently retired. In race number two, Albeau continued his winning ways finishing well ahead of British racer Ross WILLIAMS (Gaastra, Starboard) in second and Sam IRELAND (Starboard, Neil Pryde) of Canada in third. Wojtek BRZOZOWSKI had been right on the pace holding second place but sailed too close into the beach on the last upwind and hit the rocks in the shore break. The mistake cost him dearly and he dropped back to 18 after spending valuable time in the water recovering from his crash.
The afternoon saw the winds pick up from the south to 18-22 knots and a downwind leg was introduced at the end of the course to make for some exciting action right in front of the crowds. In the third race, Wojtek BRZOZOWSKI (Neil Pryde, Starboard) found form and dominated ahead of Ben Van Der STEEN and Ross WILLIAMS with Gonzalo Costa HOEVEL (Fanatic, Neil Pryde) of Argentina picking up fourth. Antoine AlBeau suffered after colliding with Kevin PRITCHARD (Starboard, Gaastra) on the start line, retired from the race and was later disqualified. In the final race of the day Albeau hit back with another sizzling performance and took his third bullet ahead of Wojtek BRZOZOWSKI, Gonzalo Costa HOEVEL and Ben Van Der STEEN. Race four saw Ross WILLIAMS and Steve ALLEN come to blows on the start line with the incident resulting in a protest from both sailors.
Last year's winner here in Sylt, Kevin PRITCHARD had a bad opening day on the race course after taking only one top ten finish and finishing the day back in twelfth position overall.
The forecast for today is calling for winds from the northwest blowing around 25 knots so it is likely that we will be returning to wave discipline.
MEN'S RACE RESULTS AFTER FOUR RACES (ONE DISCARD)
1. Antoine Albeau (Ahd, Neil Pryde)
2. Ross Williams (Starboard, Gaastra)
3. Brian Rogild (Starboard, Gaastra)
4. Ben Van Der Steen (Fanatic, Neil Pryde)
5. Micah Buzianis (Mistral, North)