Mar 1, 2011
Author: Andrew Buchanan/PWA
Day 5: Alice Arutkin draws the slalom fleet’s first blood with victory in the opening race elimination of the Vietnam PWA Grand Slam.
With the freestylers handing the baton over to the slalom fleets, day five of competition in Mui Ne gave a brief insight into what’s in store over the following five days of race action.
To open the action, a four buoy downwind slalom course was set, allowing racing to commence in the afternoons 7-14 knot thermal breeze. The first drama of the day came when the Netherlands' Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft) was sailed into mid gybe, sustaining a large fin gash to the underside of his foot. The collision not only crushed Van Der Steen’s chances of advancing within the race, but could also jeopardize his chances in subsequent eliminations if the injury affects his sailing.
The next upset came in the second round of heats, when the usually methodical pairing of Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) and Benoit Moussilmani (Starboard / Simmer) went over the start line early, fast tracking both of them to losers final where they’d battle it out for positions 11-20.
As the racing progressed late into the afternoon, Mui Ne’s usually super consistent thermal breeze began to falter, allowing only the men’s losers final to be completed before the race committee were forced to call a halt to the day’s proceedings. In that heat, Williams and Benoit Moussilmani made the best amends they could for their previous blunder, securing first and second respectively, followed by Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra) in third and Pieter Bijl (JP / NeilPryde) in fourth.
In the women’s first elimination, both Karin Jaggi (Partik / Severne) and Alice Arutkin (Fanatic / North) made strong starts by winning their opening heats. Continuing her run of form into the winners final, Arutkin dominated from the start line to secure a decisive victory, and early event lead. In her wake, stellar performances from Morane Demont (Starboard / Severne) and Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde) in second and third ensured that day five’s podium was an all French affair.
Tomorrow we pick up the slalom where it left off today, completing both men’s finals, and the women’s losers final before going into the second race elimination. Tune in from the 10.00am (GMT+7) skippers meeting to follow all the action live @ www.pwaworldtour.com
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