Valerie Ghibaudo grabs the Pegasus Airlines PWA World Cup Title
The women completed races 14 and 15 to reach the maximum amount of races allowed per event. Alaçati was the final event on the women’s racing tour and the also last chance to settle any outstanding scores on the water.
True to the forecast, light winds kept everyone on hold until, out of nowhere, 13-18 knots of breeze arrived to allow the games to commence.
photo PWA Carter
Women’s Race 14
Just as in the men’s event the tension to perform on the last day spread throughout the women’s fleet. Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) blew her chances by crossing too fast in a last-bid attempt to avoid another defeat by Ghibaudo. Jaggi was disqualified along with Femke Van Der Valk to leave a thinner bundle of racers at the re-start.
With her trademark pin-end start, Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou) led the pack along the first and second reaches of the re-sail, but her stall at the second gybe slowed the convoy behind her down significantly as almost no-one took the opportunity to turn wide around the traffic.
Valerie Fauster (F2 / Gaastra) was the only one who reacted fast enough to take a chance and pumped herself into the lead which she held until the final reach when Ghibaudo overtook using her considerable speed advantage to win ahead of the Italian who’s recovered well sine early season surgery on her knee. Local star Cagla Kubat (Starboard / North) showed once again how she can compete seriously at this with another third place.
Women’s Race 15
After race 14’s drama all the ladies took it really easy, barely planing, as the start gun cracked-off for the final race of the event.
Ghibaudo predictably kept low and on a direct line to the first buoy, whilst Fauster chose to come from higher up and windward near the boat. Jaggi however chose a middle line and used her choice wisely at the mark to carve inside Fauster to steal second.
Ghibaudo sped at full-tilt along the second reach to build a lead but wasted her good work with a slow exit from the second gybe whilst Jaggi pumped furiously to plane away early and take a high line for the third leg.
Despite her best efforts Jaggi just couldn’t dig deep enough or find enough pace to reel Ghibaudo in before the finish and the elated French women crossed the line to seal a double victory for her country at this event.
Ghibaudo has found renewed appetite for racing late this season and new boards, and new-found techniques have allowed her to discover a startling turn of speed. Jaggi has received a slap in the face here in Alaçati that only her spectacular world title can remedy, and deep down she’ll be both pleased and concerned to know that 2008 will bring an unparalled new standard of racing as a result of this spectacular season’s competition.
Our thanks go out to the super-efficient local organisers Sportworks, their sponsors, and the town of Alaçati for their hospitality. On the best tour on earth, the PWA are no strangers to a warm welcome, but it has to be said that the overpowering friendliness of our Turkish hosts will leaver a lasting impression and time cannot pass quickly enough before we can return to Cesme province for some outstanding action once again.
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