PWA Grand Slam Fuerte – Day 2

Maynard closes the gap…

But Dunkerbeck still leads the slalom 42. Today Bjorn Dunkerbeck was not the fastest man on the water by any means, but his consistency here in the gusty waters of Sotovento keep him on top of the leader board. Today he knotched up two 3rd places in both finals. His route to the first final was by no means a certainty as he was second to last in the semi final at the first buoy. In typical Dunkerbeck fashion he then clawed back the places to qualify in 5th place. Apart from that little scare, he always seems to play it safe until the final.

The conditions were so unpredictable today, the winds up and down. The sailors returning to the beach many times and grabbing spectators to help them run up and down and hold kit as the shifting winds kept us all guessing. The tension was so high and there were many general recalls and premature starts. Even on the beach there were plenty of words exchanged between the top guys between the heats.

Back to Maynard. Finian Maynard romped home to take the first win of the day and his first win since 98. Only in the last half of the last reach did Albeau suddenly have a speed burst, overtaking Dunkerbeck but not catching Finian. We almost saw a bit of smile from the big man, but it was more of a smirk.

Race 2. 5.8, 6.3 or 6.8metre sails it was even more up and down, the wind was so much on the outside and the reaches so broad that with a big sail they would be totally out of control. Getting to the 12 man final is by no means a certainty as previous finalists Ross Williams (just missing out on a place) and Antoine Albeau (premature start) found out. Despite easily coming first and second in the losers final, the equivilent of 13th and 14th didn’t help their overall placing. A really good performance from Gonzalo Hoestel improved his ranking to 8th. Dioni Guadagnino was stoked to get to the final. Racing on older Pryde race sails with only one board (a pro edition Mistral Screamer – production only remember), he then went and blew it by being over early. He said he couldn’t help it, he just got pushed and pushed by the big guys.

The second round belonged to one man only, and not some one you might always expect. Not Micah Buzianis or Jimmy Diaz who yet again showed great speed. But it was Peter Bijl who was clearly faster than the rest, his gybing also flawless. In his first semi final he won by a almost a whole leg, in his second by almost as much again. Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Finian Maynard in second trailing. Today was definitely a day for Pryde.

The story on the womens side was similar to yesterday, Karin Jaggi again showing the fleet a clean pair of heels. Her nearest rivals are Alison Shreeve and Valerie Ghibaudo her nearest rivals. Alison commented that she is struggling a little bit on the gybes with the smaller board, since she is used to 1metre wide Formula boards. Valerie actually won the first race today by over half a leg, she has great speed but Karin has better gybing.

There is not a ever a break for the sailors. Once they finish the slalom it is straight to speed. Finian is taking top honours so far with 38.40knots followed by Patrik Diethelm and Bjorn Dunkerbeck.

Photo Credit: PWA/Carter


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