The first three days of the PWA Reggio Calabria World Cup proved to be a frustrating affair, with light winds and a variety of weather conditions. However the final two days saw the event finish with a flourish as one race for the men, and two races for the women were completed. The world's best sailors were eventually able to put their winter training into action and battle it out for those crucial world cup points.
The men's action didn't begin until late on day five, after the wind on day three proved too fickle to allow any results to be obtained. The evening of day five saw a rigging frenzy as the wind miraculously appeared, and thirteen high octane heats were run before the wind dropped back and the light faded. The race was concluded in the dying moments of the event as the men managed to grab an overall result for the opening event of 2012.
Top seed Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear, Mystic) rose to the top of the pack at the end of the race. Despite holding back on his starts, Dunkerbeck demonstrated time and time again that his board speed was second to none. This proved to be the deciding factor in the final as Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Fanatic / North) led the entire heat, to within inches of the line, only for the terminator to come storming back and snatch victory from the jaws of the Argentinean. Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) was once again on the podium in third place having not quite had sufficient speed to overtake, after a start that was not quite up to his usual perfection.
Other notable performances came from Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti) who secured a respectable fourth on the new Avanti race sails, not previously tested in competition; Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North) who was as reliable as ever in fifth and a mention should go to Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point7) who made the final eight having only joined the Point7 team a few weeks previously and despite the fact that he had spent the final morning in medical care, on an intravenous drip, due to illness!
We also got a few words from Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti), after his shock early exit in the quarter finals: "A few days ago when I was out sailing I hit a plastic bag in the water, I didn't catapult but it really jolted my shoulder. Since then my shoulder has been inflamed for the last 3 days, making it difficult to move my head/neck. I definitely wasn't at my best. My main focus now is to go and get some physio and make sure I'm ready for Korea."
In the first race of the season, Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne) dominated the fleet, as she won both her semi-final and the winners' final with ease. The only real upset of the first elimination involved second seed Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic), who came unstuck in the marginal conditions of day three and thus missed out on a place in the winners final. With Arrighetti missing, Jaggi was presented with a great opportunity to get her season of to a flyer, and she made no mistakes as she led from start to finish, building a massive lead in the process. Filling the void left by Arrighetti, was Turkey's Lena Erdil (Patrik / The Loft / AL360), who fought hard to stay ahead of Alice Arutkin (Starboard / North) to take second and her highest PWA race finish.
Into elimination two and this time around Arrighetti made sure she was part of the winners final. Having pushed Jaggi all the way to the finish in the semi-final, and with sailors such as Arutkin absent from the top 8 after a premature start, Arrighetti was visually fired up and determined not to let the number one seed have it all her own way. The French woman sailed beautifully in the final and was rewarded with her first bullet of the season. Despite her best efforts it was not enough to knock Jaggi off her throne, who went on to be crowned the Queen of Reggio Calabria. Erdil sailed consistently to stay ahead of Arrighetti in the overall standings and take her first ever PWA podium in second.
Reggio Calabria has proved to be a venue with enormous potential both on and off the water, with a social scene and racing conditions that promise to create an exceptional event for years to come.
On the 5th May, the slalom action will continue, as both the men and women's fleets head to Asia to compete on the shores of Jinha beach, South Korea.
The 2012 PWA Reggio Calabria World Cup, Overall Standings : Men's Slalom
1st Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Mystic)
2nd Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Fanatic / North)
3rd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
4th Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti)
5th Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North)
The 2012 PWA Reggio Calabria World Cup, Overall Standings : Women's Slalom
1st Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne)
2nd Lena Erdil (Patrik / The Loft / AL360)
3rd Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic)
4th Alice Arutkin (Starboard / North)
5th Laura Linares (Challenger Sails / RRD)
Scope the action
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