Day three saw tough racing conditions on the water for the slalom fleet as light wind turns the racing into a particularly tactical affair. In order to take advantage of what promised to be an epic day of wind, the PWA crew and the freestyle sailors were ready and raring to go at 6:45am, however it was only a gentle breeze that greeted the fleet, preventing them from strutting their stuff on the water. The sun was not even up, when the freestyle sailors showed up for the skippersmeeting. The wave ladies, who also were at the skippersmeeting at 6.45 got sent back into bed immediately. The freestylers had to stay on stand-by, but got released very soon.

It was still dark, when the freestylers had their skippersmeeting - Pic: PWA/John Carter

As the morning progressed the crowd on the beach built, as did the wind, and by 13.30 pm the conditions were deemed suitable for the slalom sailors to blast their way around the four mark downwind course.
Winds blowing around 8-12 knots put the sailors on their largest equipment and ensured the best starts and the finest light wind skills were essential in order to qualify into the next round. Obviously eager to secure a good result, Jules Denel (Exocet) and Malte Reuscher (RRD / Point-7 / AL360) pushed the start a little too hard and went over early in the first heat, allowing the rest of the pack an easy pass into the next round without having to sail.
The drama continued throughout the first round, with a number of key players missing out on qualifying positions including one of the biggest names in the fleet, Finian Maynard (RRD), who suffered from the effects of a wind hole at the third mark, allowing his opponents to sail past. The tough conditions also played havoc with Gunnar Asmussen (F2 / North) and Pascal Toselli’s (RRD / Point-7) game plan and they also failed to qualify in the difficult conditions.

Slalom action

Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) was on fine form and he displayed some incredible light wind skills, leading the fleet all the way around the course, as was Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra), Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra), Kurosh Kiani (Simmer / Angulo) and the flying Frenchman Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic). The massive crowd on the beach also witnessed exceptional sailing from Chris Pressler (Starboard / Severne) as he fought his way into fourth place past Asmussen.

Watching the action

The upsets continued in the second round of the elimination with Peter Bijl (JP / NeilPryde) falling victim to a wind hole, deeming him unable to complete the heat in qualifying position, and Peter Volwater (Fanatic / MauiSails) going over early, leading to his disqualification.

All eyes were on the 2011 world champion Björn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / DunkerbeckEyewear), who looked to be taking things at a relaxed pace in his first race, not wanting to risk making a mistake, whilst his biggest threats Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) and Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic) were charging hard to guarantee their qualifying positions.
Heat eleven got started a few times, got finished once, but got then cancelled. As well heat twelve was run a number of times, but got not finished. With the wind dropping below the suitable level for racing, the sailors were released for the day at 4:30pm. Overall 10 heats in elimination 1 saw a result. Have a look on the elimination ladder of day 3 here.


The skippers meeting for all three fleets will kick off at 10am tomorrow morning with the first possible start to competition at 10:30am.

©Text: Ed Sinclair/PWA, Continentseven