With registration out of the way by 11am on the opening morning of the 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup – attention soon turned towards the prospect of today’s racing with the trees already rustling and the sea breeze trying to kick in early.
Cue frantic scrambling on the beach as the sailors tried to make sure they had their chosen gear ready for a 1pm start. However, the flurry of action proved unnecessary as by this point the wind had dropped back and it wasn’t until 2:20pm that the first, of numerous attempts, were made to complete the opening slalom heats of the week.
Eventually, after umpteen failed efforts in the marginal conditions the decision was made to switch over from slalom to foiling in order to take advantage of the light winds on offer – with the breeze generally between 4-9 knots.
Earlier in the day, 24-men registered for the foil contest meaning that two semifinals were held to decide which 12 sailors would progress into the winners’ final – with the top six from each heat qualifying for the final.
Foiling is windsurfing’s newest discipline and it showed its advantages today with it being possible to complete two, exciting races on a day where otherwise it wouldn’t have been possible to gain a result.
Just as he did in Japan – Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) – continued to look like the danger man – showing that his performance in Japan was no fluke as he claimed back-to-back bullets today to proudly sit at the top of the event rankings at the end of day one and he currently looks like the man that everyone else has to beat – especially after his victory last week.
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) is currently Questel’s closest challenger with the 23-time world champion having to settle for second place on both occasions today. AA did almost close down Questel in the second race after flying down the final reach, but he’ll have to wait until tomorrow for a chance to overturn his fellow countryman. Even at this early stage, it looks as though there could be an epic battle brewing between them for this weeks foil title.
Sebastian Kornum (JP / NeilPryde) finished second in Japan and the Dane has made a solid start to proceedings to the contest with 3rd and 5th place finishes today, which sees him sitting in 3rd place at the end of day one, but faced with a significant 4-point deficit between himself and Albeau in second.
The top five is currently completed by Brazil’s Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde), who sailed consistently to record 4th and 6th places, while Malte Reuscher (JP / NeilPryde) and Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails) are currently tied for 5th. Reuscher may be a little disappointed as he made a strong start by finishing 3rd in the opening race, but then a massive crash resulted in an 11th place finish in the second elimination.
Having been in contention for the podium in Japan you’d have also expected to see Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) battling it out for the top places again, but things never clicked into place for the Argentine today, for whatever reason, and he makes a disappointing start which sees him down in joint 10th with Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) at the moment.
The forecast for tomorrow looks light on paper, but a number of locals are predicting at least the same wind for tomorrow afternoon – if not better – which should allow for more foil races to be completed at a minimum, but hopefully the sea breeze kicks in strong enough to allow the slalom to begin as well. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 9am with the action commencing from 9:30am (GMT+2).
Current Ranking Foil Exhibition Catalunya PWA World Cup –
*After 2 Races
1st Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
2nd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Sebastian Kornum (JP / NeilPryde)
4th Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde)
=5th Malte Reuscher (JP / NeilPryde)
=5th Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails)
=7th Nicolas Goyard (RRD / Point-7)
=7th Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne)
9th William Huppert (Fanatic / NorthSails)
=10th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins)
=10th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)