The wind has been teasing the slalom fleet for the last couple of days in Costa Brava, but today the sea breeze provided winds between 8-15 knots, which allowed a light wind first elimination to be completed, so at the halfway stage of the 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup it is Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) who leads the race for the event title after he claimed a convincing victory in the opening race.
In the light airs Arnon Dagan looked exceptionally quick and the Israeli easily booked his place in the winners’ final with two comfortable victories in both the quarters and semifinals. Dagan carried that perfect form into the winners’ final as he led from start to finish with an astute display, which saw him extend his advantage over the duration of the course to secure a comprehensive bullet.
Meanwhile, Nicolas Goyard (RRD / Point-7 / Mystic), produced one of the performances of the day as the 21-year-old qualified for the winners’ final, but he wasn’t happy to purely make up the numbers in Heat 16 and at the first mark he leapfrogged Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / LoftSails / Chopper Fins) and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) to move into the top two – a position which he was able to defend over the remainder of the course to claim a superb second place.
Pascal Toselli will be pleased with his 3rd place finish in the opening race here after missing out on the finals in Japan, while Costa Hoevel has now qualified for both winners’ finals which have been completed this year and he sits in 4th at the end of day 3.
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) starts the event with a 5th place finish, while vice-world champion – Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) had to settle for 6th ahead of Andrea Cucchi (Starboard / Point-7) and Steve Allen (Patrik / Severne), who blew his start in the final but still sits in 8th.
After missing out on the winners’ final reigning world champion – Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Windsurfing Sunglasses) – put the disappointment of being absent from the final behind him as the Italian destroyed the rest of the field in the Heat 15 to secure 9th place, while limiting the damage to as little as physically possible.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Windsurfing Sunglasses) will be gutted that the first attempt to complete the second semifinal was cancelled as the Brit already held a substantial lead after the opening buoy and would’ve almost certainly qualified for the winners’ final. However, upon the restart, Williams tried to execute a tight inside gybe at the first as he battled against Cucchi, Costa Hoevel and Goyard for a place in the top 4, but in pushing so hard he ended up in the drink, which resulted in his elimination despite valiantly fighting his way back into 5th. The 37-year-old then finished second in Heat 15 to claim 10th.
In the same heat – Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / NorthSails) – who came into Costa Brava on the back of his first podium in Japan – was disappointed with how he gybed in the losers’ final, which ultimately cost him 10th place in the opening elimination as Williams and Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Chopper Fins) both punished his sloppy gybes to overtake.
The other main story of the day involved Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti), who came into the event as the tour leader, but he suffered a surprise early exit as he failed to advance from the quarterfinals. Quentel found himself with a large deficit to reduce as the fleet headed down the opening reach and he almost completed an unthinkable comeback, but ultimately his missed out in 5th and he made his frustrations and anger clear once back on the beach. The 30-year-old will now be praying that there is enough wind for a discard to come into play otherwise he will have undone all of his hard work from Japan.
The second elimination was started immediately after the conclusion of the opening race, but after the first heat had been completed, which saw Ben van der Steen (Patrik / Gun Sails / Mystic) safely progress after claiming the win ahead of Ramon Pastor (99NoveNove / LoftSails), Tom Malina (Fanatic / NorthSails) and Marc Paré (Simmer / Simmer) – the wind deteriorated and the sailors were soon released for the day.
The forecast for tomorrow shows easterly winds of 8-9 knots for tomorrow afternoon, so whether the sea breeze will kick in without enough south in the wind remains to be seen. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10:30am with the action commencing from 11am (GMT+2) onwards. Stay up to date with all of the latest developments from Costa Brava by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com.
Current Ranking 2017 Catalunya PWA World Cup – Men’s Slalom
*After One Elimination
1st Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Nicolas Goyard (RRD / Point-7 / Mystic)
3rd Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / LoftSails / Chopper Fins)
4th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins)
5th Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
6th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
7th Andrea Cucchi (Starboard / Point-7)
8th Steve Allen (Patrik / Severne)
9th Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Windsurfing Sunglasses)
10th Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Windsurfing Sunglasses)