Redline Extreme Sports

Day two of the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam had a little bit of everything as the racing began in light winds – 14-18 knots – and relatively flat water before the Fuerte wind machine gradually increased throughout the afternoon with gusts in excess of 30 knots again, whilst a small swell began to run to add an extra element for the world’s best racers to deal with, which resulted in some extremely heavy crashes and plenty of broken gear as collateral damage, but thankfully no injuries to any of the sailors. In the end, two sailors dominated proceedings on day two as Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) and Nicolas Goyard (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) both claimed clinical hat-tricks.

Slalom

Women’s

Sarah-Quita Offringa recovered from a blip in Elimination 6, which saw the Aruban fail to finish the final after spinning out metres before the line and crossing the wrong side of the buoy. That meant Offringa would finish 11th rather second, but she didn’t let that affect her. With the wind picking up as the afternoon progressed, the 31-year-old came into her own as she secured her second hat-trick of the event with a dominating display, which puts her in control of the event with three days to go. Offringa now has a 12.5 point advantage at the top of the rankings and has now won 6 out of the 9 eliminations completed so far. 

Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) enjoyed a solid day of racing, which saw the reigning world champion secure her first bullet of the day in Elimination 6 before finishing second, third, fourth and fifth, which she discards, in the other races to gain two places from the overnight rankings – fourth to second. 

It looked like Justine Lemeteyer (FMX Racing / S2Maui) had rediscovered her Lake Garda form at the start of day two as she kicked off the day with a second place, before showing the kind of speed she had shown in Italy to claim a convincing bullet in the next race. However, as the wind and swell picked up, Lemeteyer faded a bit, which sees her slip a place to 3rd.

Blanca Alabau’s (Starboard / Severne Sails) day got off to a disastrous start as the current World Tour leader was disqualified from Elimination 5 for dangerous sailing after a gybing incident involving herself and Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / Duotone), which the Brit was lucky to escape unscathed from. The Spaniard almost seemed to use that negativity to inspire her performance for the rest of the day as she recorded two second places and two thirds. Things could’ve been even better for Alabau, but she went down under pressure from Offringa at the second mark in the Elimination 9 final when in the lead. Alabau rises one place to fourth and is just one point off of Mortefon in second. 

Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / Duotone) did well not to let the racing incident with Alabau affect her too much for the day – as it could’ve easily knocked her confidence – as the Brit recorded a second, third and a fourth afterwards. However, with the way the other results played out today Gibson is relegated to fifth from third, but is still firmly in contention for the podium with just 3.3 points separating second to fifth.

Men’s

After a less than ideal start yesterday, Nicolas Goyard clicked into another gear today as he claimed a clinical hat-trick to storm to the top of the event rankings. The Frenchman started the day in seventh, but after enjoying a perfect day he now has fate in his own hands. Goyard, who set a new Foil GPS record here the day before the event – 41 knots max – was visibly quicker than the rest of the fleet when he was required to show it and used that to his full advantage and now seems to have the event at his mercy.

However, as good as Goyard was today, he’s still not going to necessarily have things all his own way as Johan Soe (FMX Racing / Point-7) is just 0.9 of a point behind him – although Goyard is currently counting a 9th, which he may be able to discard after the 7th Elimination. Soe, AKA ‘The Beast’ lived up to his name as he recorded two fourths and a second to complete day two, which sees the young Dane climb one place into second and keep himself firmly in the mix of not just a maiden podium, but also victory if Goyard makes any mistakes.

Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails) started the day in second place and seized initiative of the event after securing a second and a third in the opening two races. However, Vrieswijk then wiped out in the semifinals of the fifth elimination to miss out on a place in the Winners’ Final for the first time this week, which sees him drop to third despite winning the b-final. Like Soe, Vrieswijk remains firmly in the hunt should Goyard make any slip ups. 

Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) wasn’t happy after the completion of the quarterfinals in Elimination 4 – after the Pole hit the finish line buoy anchor rope, which he states resulted in him breaking his fastest sail and mast, whilst also breaking his boom. It will be interesting to see if that affects his results in the next races, but despite that the reigning world champion climbs one place to fourth from the overnight rankings. Meanwhile, with his main rivals coming into the event trailing him here, Rutkowski remains in a dominant position in terms of the world title race, whilst he remains just 1.7 points off of third. 

Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails) qualified for all three Winners’ Finals today, but maybe slightly disappointed after failing to really land a hammer blow in any of those top 8 battles – recording results of 6th, 5th & 7th, which is good enough for the 2016 world champion to move into fifth, but he will no doubt be hungry for more heading into the final three days of the event. 

Fellow Italian, Bruno Martini (JP / NeilPryde) comes storming into the top 10 with the 29-year-old discarding his 26.5 point quarterfinal exit from the opening race after winning two b-finals, before finishing 3rd in the last race of the day to jump from 13th to 6th. Martini is winning plenty of fans for his all of nothing attitude as he seems to be continually flirting between being electrically fast and barely keeping it under control. Just 5.7 points separate 3rd to 6th, so there should be a thrilling fight for the podium positions over the weekend!

Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins / Phantom Foils) is the only sailor to have qualified for every Winners’ Final thus far, but a bit like Iachino, Mortefon hasn’t been able to deliver a knock out blow when it matters most. The Frenchman has been extremely consisted with three 6th places, a 7th and an 8th in the opening five eliminations, but ‘only’ finds himself in seventh place at the end of the day two. 

Michele Becker (Patrik / Patrik Sails / Patrik Foils) recovered from a quarterfinal exit in the opening race of the day by qualifying for the Winners’ Final in the next two eliminations. The German tried to really take it to Goyard in Elimination 4, by gybing down the inside of the Frenchman at the last buoy to briefly take the lead before having to settle for an excellent second place, before finishing in a solid fifth to sign off the day. The German, who is in his first full year on tour, potentially stands to gain the most when the second discard comes into play as he is currently counting a 26.5 quarterfinal exit. Becker climbs into eighth from 9th. 

Overnight leader William Huppert (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Boards) couldn’t quite replicate the form he showed yesterday as the Frenchman failed to qualify for any Winners’ Final after making both on day one, which unfortunately sees the 28-year-old lose major ground as he slides from first to 9th. 

The top 10 is completed by Nico Prien (JP / NeilPryde), who gains two places from the overnight rankings. The German, who finished 5th in Gran Canaria, steadily improved today as he booked his place in the top 8 in the last two eliminations – finishing 6th and 8th respectively. 

Elsewhere, Prien’s teammate – Sebastian Kornum (JP / NeilPryde) – rises from outside the top 16 into 11th – only behind Prien on countback – equal on 41 points, whilst Daniele Benedetti (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) climbs into twelfth place just one point further back – after recording three top 16 results today as the Italian quickly adapts to life on the World Tour in just his second event.

Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) made a bright start to day two with the 32-year-old finishing fifth and eighth in Eliminations 3 and 4, but a huge wipeout on the last reach in the quarterfinals of Elimination 5, when comfortably qualifying in second place means the Croat is left counting a 22.5 – for now at least. Marotti was also one of the sailors to break some of the most equipment after being involved in several heavy crashes. Marotti finishes the day in 13th, but with three days of racing to go there is still time for him to fight his way back up the rankings.