02.08.2018 - Simon The Squirrel Takes A Look At The Title Race Implications If Things Were To Remain As They Are
With a think layer of cloud to start Day 8 of the Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam the wind never really kicked in and while the skies cleared during the afternoon, the racing remained on hold for the whole day, meaning the rankings are the same as they were.
After the first lay day during the racing, we managed to catch up with Simon the squirrel, who was kind enough to take a look at the implications of what would happen to the overall rankings if things were to stay as they are…
Title Race
Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) came into Fuerteventura with the title race lead, but with the Italian in second place behind Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) the two heavyweights would leave Fuerte tied on 40,400 points - meaning that the title race would basically come down to a straight fight between who performs better at the last event of the year in Sylt, Germany, at the end of September.
The only time either Iachino or Albeau have finished outside the top 2 this season was in Costa Brava - where just one elimination was completed - and you’d expect to see them battling it out for the final victory of the season in order to win the ultimate prize. Iachino is hunting world title No.2, while Albeau is looking to win his 25th world crown.
Away from the title race - Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) - who is currently ranked 3rd here would consolidate his place as No.3 in the world and while it looks unlikely that anyone will be able to deny him a place on the overall podium, it is also unlikely that the Frenchman can challenge for the title, unless both Iachino and Albeau have a shocker in Sylt. Mortefon trails the top 2 by 600 points, while has a safety net of 800 points to the next closest rival, which would be Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins) in 4th.
Behind the top 4 - Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) would rise one place to 5th after making another bright start here. The Flying Dutchman has taken his sailing to a new level this season and is firmly on course to record his 5th top 10 results in a row, while also looking to set to earn a place in the overall top 10 for the first time in his career.
The overall top 10 would be completed by - Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti), Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses), Cyril Moussilmani (RRD / Severne), Finian Maynard (I-99) and Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) - 6th-10th - with one event to go.
The forecast for tomorrow predicts less gradient wind, but clearer skies, so that in theory should offer a better chance of the wind materialising. The skippers’ meeting will be held at 11am with the action commencing from 12pm (GMT+1) onwards.

01.08.2018 - Another Perfect Day For Antoine Albeau as 24-time World Champion Makes it 4 Bullets From 4 Eliminations
The beginning and end of Day 7 saw a bit of a funky weather pattern with plenty of cloud and even a bit of drizzle affecting the wind. However, during the middle of the day Fuerteventura was on song again with winds gusting up to 40 knots, but one man was even more on song… Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), who ends the second day of racing with a perfect record after winning all 4 races so far.
Antoine Albeau’s record speaks for itself in Fuerteventura, but even so his start to this year’s event has been nothing short of remarkable with AA winning each of the 4 eliminations completed, so far, to blow the rest of the fleet out of the water. And on current form it’s almost impossible to see him not winning the event.
However, there are still 3 days to go in the Slalom and current world tour leader - Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) - is now Albeau’s closest rival after the Italian bounced back from a slightly disappointing day yesterday by securing two solid second places. Iachino’s consistency has been incredible so far this season, and although he trails Albeau by 5.9 points at the close of play, AA will know that he still can’t afford any slip-ups with Iachino waiting in the wings. 
In the event that things were to finish as they were right now, then Iachino would still lead the overall rankings on count-back with both he and Albeau tied on 40,400 points with one event to go in Sylt. 
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) falls one place to 3rd after another excellent day which saw the 29-year-old record two 4th places - meaning he hasn’t finished outside the top 4 in the opening 4 races, while the Big Top 3 complete the current top 3, just as they have at 3 out of the 4 events completed this season.
Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) is the man to slip out of the current top 3 as he lost valuable ground in the hunt for the podium, but still remains on course to smash his best performance in Fuerteventura. The flying Dutchman didn’t perform badly today with a 10th and then an 8th place finish, but a bit of bad luck cost him his chance in the second Winners’ Final. 
After a quarterfinal exit in the first race - Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses) - has improved his result in every race since - 11th in the second race yesterday - while qualifying for both Winners’ Finals today and taking home a 5th and a 3rd to fly up the rankings with the discard coming into play. The Brit was outside the overall top 10 this time yesterday but is now ranked 5th - tied on 19 points with Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) - with both men just 1 point behind Vonk in 4th - but 10 points behind Mortefon.
Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) will be a little bit disappointed with how the day panned out with the Israeli slipping one place to 8th. Dagan was second in the opening Winners’ Final of the day as they rounded the second buoy, but then couldn’t get away from the mark with the wind becoming lighter and eventually finished 8th. The 41-year-old discards his result from the 4th Elimination after jumping the gun in the quarterfinals. 
Cyril Moussilmani (RRD / Severne) remains in 8th place after recovering from a quarterfinal exit in Elimination 3 with a 6th in the next. 
The top 10 is completed by Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) and Finian Maynard (I-99) - with the latter breaking into the top 10 for the first time this event after being able to discard his opening result here.
Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / GA Sails / Chopper Fins) made it back-to-back Winners’ Finals in Elimination 3, but then suffered a quarterfinal exit to finish the day in 11th, while Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) earned a 3rd place in Elimination 3, but was then eliminated in Heat 7 alongside Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails) and Bruno Martini (RRD / Point-7) after all of them jumped the gun.
Elsewhere, Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses) earned his place in a first Winners’ Final since returning from injury in the last race of the day as the Bonairean continues his comeback. Frans’ 5th place finish sees him finish the day ranked 18th.
The forecast for tomorrow looks as though the wind will be lighter, but it will depend about the clouds again. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10am with the action commencing from 11am (GMT+1).

31.07.2018 - Writing On The Wall As Albeau Makes Dream Start With Back-To-Back Bullets​
After 3 light wind days, Fuerteventura returned to its normal self for the opening day of the Slalom, which allowed two and a half races to be completed in nuclear winds, which saw most of the competitors reaching for their small boards and 6.2-6.4s. However, today belongs to one man only… Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) after he destroyed the rest of the fleet to end the day with a perfect record - two bullets from the two races completed.

The writing is already on the wall for the rest of the slalom fleet with Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) making a flying start to the slalom by winning both eliminations today. The 24-time world champion is a formidable force in any destination, but here it seems he is almost unbeatable, boasting an incredible record of winning every year here since 2006 - except in 2012. And even at this early stage, after such a blistering start, it’s hard to see anyone denying him a 5th consecutive event victory in Fuerteventura.

Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) is Albeau’s closest rival at the close of play after also making an excellent start with a 2nd and a 3rd. The 29-year-old has earned 3 podiums from the first 4 events and looks as though he’ll be right in the thick of the action again after a promising first day. Whether he or anyone else can challenge Albeau though remains to be seen. Mortefon currently trails Albeau by 3.6 points.

The top two currently look quite solid with Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) a further 5 points behind Mortefon, but the flying Dutchman, who is enjoying his best season to date, will be delighted with his start today. Up until now Vonk’s best result here is a 14th last year and he is well ahead of schedule to better that. The 25-year-old finished 7th in the opener before claiming 3rd in the second elimination.

Current world tour leader - Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) - suffered a slightly disappointing day, but still finds himself in 4th place. The Italian was battling for the lead in the final of the first elimination but went down when fighting for the lead with Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) at the second mark. Iachino made a quick recovery and still managed to secure 4th place in the opener, before he, Questel and Maciek Rutkowski (I-99 / Challenger Sails) were all disqualified for premature starts in the second final and had to settle for joint 8th. Iachino will now look to reduce Albeau’s advantage in order to not lose ground on the title race.

Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) carved his way through the pack numerous times to qualify for the opening winners’ final where he was able to avoid Iachino and Questel to grab second place, but then surprisingly dropped his opening gybe in the semifinals. Quentel still finished 12th overall for the second elimination but missed a slight opportunity to be higher ranked.

Meanwhile, Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) looked quick throughout and finishes the opening day in 6th place after a 5th and 10th, while Antoine Questel is just a point further back after two, eighth places. Cyril Moussilmani (RRD / Severne) finds himself a further 4 points back after a 6th place finish was followed up with a 14th.

One year on from suffering a potentially career-threatening injury - Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) - showed that not only has he showed a tremendous amount of character to bounce back, but that he is also sailing somewhere close to the best he ever has. The 20-year-old won the b-final in elimination one, before securing another top 16 result in the next.

The top ten is currently completed by Italy’s Andrea Ferin (RRD / Challenger Sails / AL360), who also recorded two top 16 finishes - 13th and 14th.

Marco Lang (Fanatic / Duotone) must have come into Fuerteventura thinking that he was finally over the illness/virus that he has been suffering from since South Korea, but unfortunately, it would seem that everything is still not okay. The Austrian, who won the event in Sylt last year, looked blisteringly quick again, but after almost blacking out while in the lead of Heat 9, he suffered a quarterfinal exit in the first race. Things then went from bad to worse as Lang’s fin broke when leading Heat 7 and the 29-year-old cut a very frustrated figure when returning to the beach.

The forecast predicts that tomorrow will be even windier, which should almost guarantee more world-class racing. The sailors will meet again tomorrow morning at 10am for the skippers’ meeting with the action commencing from 10:30am (GMT+1) onwards.

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