The 2016 Ulsan PWA World Cup proved to be a testing and tricky 6 days as light and gusty winds meant that only 1 elimination was able to be completed for both the men’s and women’s fleets. The sailors weren’t just battling against the gusty winds as seaweed also caused havoc for several sailors.
The final day provided plenty of drama, but with the wind continuing to be extremely inconsistent it was not possible to complete the men’s second semifinal — Heat 14 — while the same was also true in the women’s meaning that the results remained unchanged and thus Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7) and Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) walk away with an early season lead having claimed first blood in the first race of the year.
Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) has been consistently challenging for the top places at each event over the last few years and the 27 year old deservedly clinched the event victory after claiming the only bullet of the week in the winners’ final — which proved to be one of the most exciting heats with the lead changing hands several times. Erdil showed great pace and walks away with the early advantage in this year’s title race.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) begins the year with a second place — which the Aruban gem was delighted with after making a slow start to the final. Offringa recovered fantastically — turning on the afterburners on the second reach to move from 6th up into 2nd before holding off Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Gun Sails) nicely, but she couldn’t stop Lena Erdil. Offringa is attempting to win a hat-trick of world titles and she’ll be back even stronger when the women return to action in Alacati, Turkey.
Delphine Cousin will be disappointed that the first attempt to run the winner’s final was cancelled as the former 2-time world champion held a significant lead and looked set to claim victory. However, 3rd place still represents a solid start to the season and she’ll be a major threat again next time out as the 24 year old looks to claim back her world crown.
Meanwhile, Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Point-7) also made a solid start to the season as the Turk finished in 4th place ahead of Fujiko Onishi (Starboard / Point-7).
Men’s Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7) picked up where he left off last season by claiming an emphatic victory in the winners’ final. The Italian changed sponsors over the close season and quickly showed that he has adapted perfectly to his new gear. Iachino led the title race for much of last season and looks set to be challenging for top honours again based on his first appearance of the season.
Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) looks as though he’s ready to produce another title challenge in 2016 after a slightly disappointing showing last year — where he finished 8th. Moussilmani ended last year with a 3rd place finish in New Caledonia and has brought that form into the new year and should be challenging for the overall podium again this year.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) starts the season with an excellent 3rd place, but he is one of the sailors who was fortunate that the second semifinal could not be completed with the Brit taking a quarterfinal exit in race two, which would have seen the Brit drop down the rankings. However, Williams, again showed he’ll be challenging for top honours again over the course of the season.
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) — 4th — Malte Reuscher (JP / NeilPryde) — 6th — Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde / Chris Benz) — 7th — and Steve Allen (Patrik / Severne) — 10th — were also breathing a sigh of relief, like Williams, that the second race was completed as they all also took quarterfinal exits in the second race.
Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) made an excellent start to the season on his new equipment and the man from Saint Maarten was able to claim 5th place in the opening event of the season.
Meanwhile, the top ten is completed by Gonzalo Costa Hoevel — 8th — and Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails), who won the losers’ final to claim 9th place. Costa Hoevel was unfortunate in the winners’ final as Julien Quentel collided with the Argentinian at the first mark when holding 3rd place.
Elsewhere, Bruno Martini (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) made a bright start to the season as he won both of his opening heats before finishing 14th overall. The 22 year old had also qualified for the winners’ final in race two and looks an excellent prospect.
Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) almost caused a huge upset in the opening race as he pushed Antoine Albeau all the way in the semifinal for the final qualifying place, unfortunately for the Bonairean a piece of seaweed cost him dearly as Albeau just held on, but after a superb 2nd place finish in the opening freestyle event of the year the 20 year begins the slalom season with a 16th place, but that was very nearly a top 10 finish.
After a tricky opening to the season the men will return to action on the 7th June as they head to Costa Brava, while the women will be back in action in August. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to stay up to date with all the latest news from Costa Brava between the 7th-12th June to see if Iachino can hold onto his early season lead.
Result 2016 Ulsan PWA World Cup — Women’s Slalom
1st Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) 2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) 3rd Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Gun Sails) 4th Ça?la Kubat (Starboard / Point-7) 5th Fujiko Onishi (Starboard / Point-7)
Result Ulsan PWA World Cup — Men’s Slalom
1st Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7) 2nd Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) 3rd Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) 4th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) 5th Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) 6th Malte Reuscher (JP / NeilPryde) 7th Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) 8th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Point-7) 9th Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails) 10th Steve Allen (Patrik / Severne)
Scope The Action For information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, navigate to www.pwaworldtour.com