The wind continued to blow on day 4 of the 2017 Waterz Hvide Sande PWA World Cup and thankfully the seaweed which caused so many issues yesterday was not a problem today with the overnight offshore winds solving the problem.
Today wasn’t always plain sailing as squalls caused large variations in both wind strength and direction, but overall there was further, excellent racing in 20-30 knots of breeze, which saw most of the girls on 6.2-70m and the guys on 7.8-8.6m’s. By the end of day 4, two further eliminations have been completed, which sees Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) place one-hand on the event and world title after winning two eliminations today, while Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) is firmly in the hunt for the event title after also winning both eliminations today to greatly reduce Matteo Iachino’s lead.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) may have started the event slightly slowly for her – 4th – but since then the 26-year-old has been in scintillating form, which has seen the curly gem complete a hat-trick of race victories. Offringa may have started the day in second place, but after her performance today she has now moved into 3.9 point lead, which puts her on the verge of capturing the 2017 Women’s PWA Slalom World title.
Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) is Offringa’s closest challenger after a solid day which saw the former two-time world champion claim two, 2nd places, but the 26-year-old will have to do more if she wants to take the title race into the last event of the season.
After an extremely bright start to the event – Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) – suffered a disastrous day. The vice-world champion led the event at the start of the day but drops to 3rd place at the close of play after disappointing 5th and 9th place results today. In the second race, Erdil was a little unlucky after crashing with Oda Johanne (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) before the start line, which all but ended her hopes of mounting a comeback.
Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails) sailed excellently again today as she secured two further 3rd places to cement her 4th place in the event rankings while giving herself a shot at breaking into the top 3 as she now trails Erdil by just 1.3 points and Cousin Questel by 3.
20-year-old Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / LoftSails) made a slow start to the event with 8th and 12th place finishes, but today she bounced back as she rediscovered the sort of form that sees her ranked in joint 3rd in the overall world rankings. Guilbaud will be much happier with her performance today after securing two solid 4th’s, which sees her rise into the top 5 at the expense of Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / NorthSails) and if the second discard comes into play then she could yet improve on that.
Reigning World Champion – Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses) – held a clear advantage at the top of the event rankings at the start of play today, but has seen his lead reduced to just 1 point heading into Day 4 after current world tour leader – Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) – bounced back with a bang to win both of the eliminations completed today. Albeau acknowledged that while his speed was excellent on the opening day that his concentration may have wavered when it mattered the most, but today he was back to his clinical best and there is now a thrilling battle for the event title on our hands – which could prove pivotal in deciding this year’s world championship.
Men on the Move
With the discard coming into play after Elimination 4 several sailors took their opportunity to climb the rankings:
– Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses) – who came into the event 4th in the overall rankings – was one of the days biggest movers. The Brit suffered a shock quarterfinal exit in the opening race but has since recovered impeccably with 2nd, 3rd and 5th place finishes, which sees him rise from joint 15th into 4th.
– Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) sailed close to his best today as the Israeli earned two, second places, which sees him rise from 7th to 3rd. Dagan was leading the second winners’ final of the day, but was a little disappointed that the wind dropped during the final, which allowed Antoine Albeau to reel him in and deny him the bullet.
– The biggest mover of the day though was actually Marco Lang (Fanatic / NorthSails) who climbs all the way to 10th. Lang had a disastrous start to the event after being knocked out in the second round, but has hit back with 3 consecutive top 10 finishes (8th, 9th, 9th) to brilliantly recover.
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) started the day in 2nd place, but falls 3 places to 5th after an indifferent set of results. The Frenchman began with a solid, if unspectacular 7th, but then jumped the gun in Heat 10 of Elimination 4 to be disqualified in the quarterfinals. The vice-world champion now faces a real battle to make the podium, which could then see him lose valuable ground on Albeau and Iachino in this year’s title race.
Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) and Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails) both fall one place to 6th and 7th respectively. 6th for Quentel would still massively improve on his 20th place from Costa Brava, while Rutkowski is still on course for his best result ever of the PWA World Tour. However, he will have to raise his game from today. The Pole began the day with 3 top 10 finishes but has since been eliminated in the quarterfinals and second round, which leaves his result hanging in the balance.
Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) rises to 8th after a top 10 and 16 finish, while the Frenchman is safely into the semifinals in race 5 – one place ahead Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Chopper Fins), who keeps his place in the top 10 – 9th
A Day to Forget
Germany’s Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails) saw his challenge for the podium dismantled today as the 26-year-old endured a day to forget. Kördel, who earned his first ever podium here in 2016 – started the day in 3rd, but falls to a lowly 12th after a quarterfinal exit in race 3, followed by two second round exits, which could see him plummet further down the rankings when elimination 5 is completed.
The forecast looks for tomorrow sees a volatile low approaching Hvide Sande, so depending on how that tracks will decide the day. At the moment it looks as though the morning will offer the best conditions, so the skippers’ meeting has been called for 9am with the action commencing from 9:30am (GMT+2).Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow all of the racing live.
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Current Ranking 2017 Hvide Sande PWA World Cup – Women’s Slalom
*After Four Eliminations
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
3rd Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360)
4th Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails)
5th Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loft Sails)
Current Ranking 2017 Hvide Sande PWA World Cup – Men’s Slalom
*After Four Eliminations
1st Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses)
2nd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde)
4th Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic)
5th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
6th Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti)
7th Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails)
8th Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
9th Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Chopper Fins)
10th Marco Lang (Fanatic / NorthSails)