The beautiful Aegean town of Alacati blessed the world’s fastest racers with an action packed few days of racing at the beginning of the week, followed by a couple of wind less days on hold, leaving those in the lead to endure a nerve racking time before they could finally claim their crowns.
A full fleet of sixty-four professional sailors competed on the crystal clear waters in the men’s fleet, and twenty-one fast and furious females in the women’s. With a strong Meltemi breeze blowing, both the men and women completed two full rounds of racing on each of the first two days in perfect conditions. During the middle of the week a gentle southerly wind put a halt to proceedings, and on the final few days the Meltemi returned late in the afternoon, but with insufficient force to complete any further eliminations, leaving the four completed rounds to count.
Buzianis Bounces Back
Following a fairly rough ride in Fuerteventura, former world champion Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde) was back on form in Turkey with some amazingly consistent results normally reserved exclusively for his team mate, Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde)!
Right from the word go Buzianis shot off the line and straight into the leading pack in every single heat. In the first race of the event he appeared to be far more comfortable in the lighter winds and flatter waters of Alacati, and a string of top two results saw him qualify for the winner’s final with ease where he dominated despite a star-studded line up.
The second race of the series saw a new format with the top 20 automatically seeded through. The intention being that the less experienced sailors get more chances to race, and the top guys don’t have to go through the formalities of the first round. Once again Buzianis sailed well despite the extra number of competitors in the heats and qualified for the winner’s final without a glitch. However, plenty of other big players failed to do the same. Of the top five ranked sailors in the world, only two made it through the first mark carnage. Many times world champion, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne, Mystic), 2009 vice world champion Finian Maynard (RRD, Gaastra), and flying Frenchman Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard, North) all fell at the first hurdle in the new elimination procedure! This left a fairly clear path for Albeau and Buzianis to take the top two spots in the final, but after a mediocre start, Albeau was left to play catch up allowing Buzianis a straight run for another bullet - the American had finished the first day with the best possible start to the contest.
For the third race in Alacati race director, Juan Antonio Aragon decided to switch back to the tried and tested 8-man heat format due to the short course, and lighter winds that the sailors were experiencing. Buzianis played it fairly safe to ensure he qualified for the winner’s final, and Albeau followed suit. When it came to the final however they both hit the water with all guns blazing. Albeau was back on unstoppable form, and surely hungry to seal the deal for his fifth consecutive slalom world title, leaving Buzianis to settle for second.
Race four saw another slalom giant with an appetite for success going by the name of Finian Maynard. His results thus far had been less than consistent, which surely psyched him up for the final. With a point to prove, he flew out of the blocks and straight into the lead where he remained for the duration. This left Buzianis to settle for another second, whilst Albeau fought hard for third.
Buzianis didn’t quite match his perfect first day, but it wasn’t far off! Two seconds had secured his place in the lead with Albeau and Maynard trailing in his wake.
The forecast didn’t look too promising after the first two days, but the Meltemi was supposed to return in time for the weekend crowds, which left Buzianis comfortably leading the fleet and expecting more racing. However, after a long stint on standby on Friday, it became apparent that the racing might not recommence after all, and Buzianis could possibly win his first world tour crown of 2010.
Saturday dawned with a light Meltemi breeze firmly ensuring the sailors were on the edge of their seats for the entire day. It was a nerve-racking time for those at the top of the fleet who could only lose out by racing any further. After a gruelling six hours on standby the first few heats finally began, but the pressure had already been lifted. With the possibility of only completing one race, Buzianis had the event in the bag. And, as it turned out the fifth race didn’t get any further than the first round anyway before the wind disappeared causing it to be obsolete.
Albeau Secures 2010 Title
Despite not winning in Turkey, the 2009 world champion, Antoine Albeau has secured his fifth consecutive PWA slalom world title with an event to spare. He’s consistently finished in the top two this season, and is now untouchable at the top – he doesn’t even need to step on his board in Sylt! However, Albeau being Albeau he certainly will race in Germany, not only to stamp his authority on the fleet, but to also claim as much prize money as possible. Congratulations Antoine!
What About Dunky…
Following a mediocre start to the week due to his kit not arriving on time, and therefore having to beg, borrow, and steal for the first day - even though he arrived three days in advance to ensure it would all be there – he began the second day of competition with a discard under his belt already. He then ended up in an early round heat on the second day with five of the top eight ranked sailors in the world, leaving absolutely no room for error. Poor old Dunkerbeck got buried at the start with no way of coming back, and therefore had to count a terrible result. Worst case scenario, he’ll need a top three result to maintain his second place ranking for the year in Sylt.
Frenchman, Julien Quentel (RRD, NeilPryde) had an excellent event, being one of only three sailors to qualify for the finals (winner’s and loser’s) in every single race to finish the competition in fifth place. Now that a discard has come into effect in the overall rankings, and having not entered Korea, he’s shot up to eleventh, and could easily break into the top ten if he repeats such a performance in Sylt.
Italian, Alberto Menegatti (Starboard, Simmer) also had one of the best events of his career to date, with a second place in the first race making him one to watch throughout the week. His seventh place finish in Alacati has lifted him into twelfth overall.
1st Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde)
2nd Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde)
3rd Finian Maynard (RRD, Gaastra)
4th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard, North)
5th Julien Quentel (RRD, NeilPryde)
6th Bora Kozanoglu (JP, NeilPryde)
7th Alberto Menegatti (Starboard, Simmer)
8th Sylvain Moussilmani (Starboard, Simmer)
9th Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne, Mystic)
10th Enes Yilmazer (JP, NeilPryde)
1st Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde)
2nd Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne, Mystic)
3rd Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde)
4th = Finian Maynard (RRD, Gaastra)
4th = Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard, North)
The 2009 world champion, Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic) sailed the most consistently out of all of her rivals on the first day of racing to place herself ahead of the pack, with a third in the first race behind current tour leader, Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne) and transatlantic hopeful, Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish). And, a bullet in the final race of the day.
During day two, Arrighetti consolidated her position at the front of the fleet with yet another first place, and a second behind the 2010 freestyle world champion, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, Gaastra). The freestyle world champ was firing on all cylinders on the second day of competition, and had there been any more races could have been a real threat to those ahead of her, but she was desperately in need of a further discard after a less than ideal first day.
With just two days of racing, Arrighetti endured the same stress as Buzianis, with four nerve racking days on hold before she could finally claim her first crown of 2010.
What About The Women’s World Title?
With four events now on the calendar, and more importantly a discard, most people believed that Arrighetti would have a shot at claiming the 2010 world title despite not entering Korea. However, close scrutiny of the PWA general rules (section 1.15.5 – Ties) has revealed that even if Arrighetti were to win in Almanarre and therefore match the current tour leader’s counting results she would not be able to take the world title from her, as long as Jaggi actually enters Almanarre. This is because the tiebreak would go down to the sailor with the greater number of firsts, seconds, and so on. Which, at a glance looks like they’d have the same, but in actual fact Jaggi would have one higher score simply for entering the final in Almanarre compared to Arrighetti’s non existent score for not entering Korea. Therefore, Jaggi’s 2010 slalom world title is well within her grasp, and would only slip out if she fails to turn up in France!
1st Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic)
2nd Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne)
3rd Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish)
4th Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, Gaastra)
5th Fanny Aubet (JP, NeilPryde)
1st Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne)
2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, Gaastra)
3rd Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North)
4th Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish)
5th Cagla Kubat (Starboard, North)
Following on from the action in Alacati, Starboard have consolidated their position at the top of the hotly contested board brand rankings, and NeilPryde remain in the top slot in the sail brand category.