On a day where it looked like no racing would be possible, Jinha beach once again produced the goods out of nowhere with a late show of dramatic slalom, upsets and shock exits. The wind on day five was extremely light until 4pm. At this point the cloud cover increased and the temperature plummeted, resulting in everyone running for their hoodies and coats, but more importantly the wind began to increase. The intense racing action didn't begin for another hour and a half, with heat four finally starting at 17:40. In the end ten quick fire heats were completed.
When the wind arrived, heat four was the first heat of the day to be sailed. As the green flag was raised it was Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra) who made the best start, but by the first gybe mark it was Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti) that had burst into the lead, as he flew down the first reach followed by Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) and Dagan. This heat proved to be extremely competitive with the lead interchanging throughout. By the end though it was Albeau who came out on top, with solid gybing in the choppy waters proving key. Joining him in the next round would be Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde), Maynard and Enes Yilmazer (JP / NeilPryde), after the Turkish man benefitted from Dagan falling victim to sea grass on his fin.
Heat five saw Pieter Bijl (JP / NeilPryde) cruise to victory as he coped well in the tricky conditions. Sylvain Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer) finished in second place with Turkey's Ertugrul Icingir (JP / NeilPryde) in third. The real story in this heat though involved Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne), who had been in second place going into the first gybe mark and looked as though he would safely qualify for the next round. However the Australian was super unlucky as he hit an unknown object in the water, which caused him to fall, ending his hopes of progressing. Chris Pressler (Starboard / Severne) was more than happy to take advantage though as he claimed the crucial fourth place.
Into the quarter finals and the major incident was the fact that the winner of the first elimination, Bora Kozanoglu (Starboard / Severne), failed to progress, despite crossing the start line in the lead. At the second gybe mark Kozanoglu fell on his gybe and from this point on the Turk was unable to recover, resulting in a devastating finish to day five for him. Going through to the semi-finals would be Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7), who looked in fine form as he made the choppy conditions look extremely easy in comparison to his competitors. Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft Sails / Mystic) and Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic) safely navigated their way into the next round too. The real battle in heat twelve was for fourth place. This saw an intense battle between Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) and Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti) develop as they fought tooth and nail from the first gybe mark until the finish line. In the end Mortefon managed to hang onto the remaining spot despite stalling his final turn. Other notable names who missed the cut were; Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Fanatic / North), who finished second in Italy, Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne / Mystic) and finally Finian Maynard, whose torrid run of luck continued as he suffered a broken boom. Maynard will be hoping for an upturn in fortune after a terrible run of luck at start to the season.
The semi-finals started in dramatic fashion, with a total of three general recalls in heat thirteen. First of all disaster struck for Antoine Albeau, as the big Frenchman was a tad too eager to cross the line, he will now have to settle for a place in the loser's final, knowing he has opened the door for his nemesis Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) to place himself right back in contention for the final two days. Julien Quentel then made the same mistake. With only 6 sailors left in the heat there was a chance that the remaining men would hold back on their starts, knowing that they had less competition to beat in order to qualify for the winner's final, but Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra) demonstrated how important the start is considered as he false started too. On the fourth time of asking the race was eventually underway. Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft Sails) made the best start of the bunch but he couldn't hold onto his lead. Dunkerbeck had overtaken Jossin by the first mark, and the terminator looked as though he had rediscovered the speed he had shown in Italy. From this point on he never looked back, and by the time he reached the final mark he had opened up a substantial lead. The wind had begun to drop and this cost Pascal Toselli (RRD / Point-7) dearly as he dropped off the plane, enabling Jossin, Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) and Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails) to race clear and book their place in the winner's final. Heat fourteen, was started but it had to be abandoned due to the wind becoming increasingly patchy and decreasing in strength.
At the end of day five there's all to play for as we enter the final two days of the competition. With the top two from the first elimination, Kozanoglu and Albeau, missing from the winner's final, it is shaping up to be an exhilarating climax. Anyone of the top guys could still plausibly be crowned the champion, whilst the women's division is still up for grabs too. With a great forecast for Thursday and Friday it looks as though the action should go right down to the wire in Korea. Expect tempers to flare and emotions to run high as we head towards a nerve jangling finale. The skipper's meeting has been called for 08:30 tomorrow morning with the first possible start being at 9am. Make sure you don't miss any of the action by heading over to www.pwaworldtour.com and follow it all on the live stream.
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