sail-world.com -- Semaine Olympique Française - Thrills, spills and huge shifts on day 2
Semaine Olympique Française - Thrills, spills and huge shifts on day 2
Fri, 11 Oct 2013
Day two of the inaugural Semaine Olympique Française in La Rochelle saw the fleets in the 10 Olympic classes racing through thrills, spills and huge wind shifts. The fifth and final event in the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup is showing why new Nacra 17 class means it is not just the 49ers wiping out. But with gusts past 20 knots the four French women’s 49er FX teams decided to stay on land.
In the Nacra, the otherwise almost unbeatable Audrey Ogereau and Matthieu Vandame capsized just 100 metres from the finish in their third and final race of the day. The young French pair had dominated the first two races, winning both almost from the start and kept their overall lead.
'It was good today but we were not good on the last downwind and we capsized 100 metres before the finish,' said Ogereau, who met Vandame a year and a half ago when he emailed her wondering if she would like to team up. 'We were double trapeze on the downwind and on the gybe I fell between the two hulls, so we capsized. It was my mistake; I put my foot on the hull and a wave took me out. We had 15 knots but we had big half-metre really short frequency waves. With this boat, on downwind especially, it’s really difficult to go through the waves. We were around seventh, we finished (12th), but it’s our discard.'
'In the first two races we were really fast and when you have good speed it makes you smart. We chose the left on the upwind in the first race, tacked and were away from the rest. In the second race, Iker Martinez was in front of us at the first mark, but we passed him on the downwind and after that we sailed away.'
Martinez, the Volvo ocean racer and 49er gold medalist at the Athens 2004 Olympics, and Tara Pacheco, finished the day in third place, having been disqualified in the first race of the day after being over the line at the start. Ahead of them the Austrian pair, Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank, ranked number one in the world, continued to impress and won the last race of the day.
Giles Scott continued to underline why getting back in a heavyweight dinghy is like riding a bike to him by winning the last two of the three races on Thursday to move to the top of the Finn leaderboard. After an America’s Cup campaign with Luna Rossa he is back in the Finn full-time and says the common interpretation that Ben Ainslie has left the way clear for him does not hold any water.
'That’s definitely not how I look at it,' Scott said. 'There’s still a lot of good Finn sailors without Ben around. Also, Ben says he’s retired but I don’t think you’d ever bank on that. So, regardless if he has or hasn’t that doesn’t change anything in the way I approach things.'
'I’ve done no training, six days since Hyères (in May) so it’s all new again and I’ve come here to find out where I’m at and what needs to be focused on,' he said. 'It’s been hardest my legs, I haven’t done any work on them for a year so they are pretty sore.'
Estonia’s Deniss Karpak, who led after the first day, won the first race of the day and then the last, to keep the pressure on Scott. Mark Andrews finished second, second and third and is third place overall underlining the continued strength of Britain’s Finn squad.
Unhappy after only winning one bronze in Weymouth at the 2012 London Olympics the French are unsurprisingly out in Force in La Rochelle and dominating.
In the Men’s 470, France hold all the podium places, but there was some shuffling at the top with Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre winning all three races on Thursday after Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion had two bullets on Wednesday.
Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis, third in the 49er world championship in September, took their winning streak to four by winning the first two races of the day in the 49er. That held off the two Italian teams behind them on the leaderboard.
Sarah Steyaert and Julie Bossard, third in the women’s 49er FX world championships in September, won the last race of the day to keep their lead. That despite, missing the first two races because the four French teams played it safe in the strong, gusting winds. That left Austria’s Laura Schoefegger and Elsa Lovrek as the only boat racing the course.
Michelle Pernille still leads the Laser Radial, although she had a harder time in her two races on Thursday after winning all three on Wednesday. Norway have two sailors in second and third and Marthe Eide Enger won both races on Wednesday to move onto Pernille’s shoulder.
France are also trying some musical chairs off the water with their coaches swapping roles for a week. So, for example, the long-time Finn coach, François Le Castrec , will be in charge of the women's RS:X windsurfing team.
'It's done very seriously,' Guillaume Chiellino, the director of the French team said. 'After the last Games, we thought it must take advantage of each other's skills and develop our exchange of information.'
Poland have brought their powerful windsurfing squad and they enjoyed the extra breeze to dominate both the women’s and men’s leaderboard. In the men’s RS:X, Pawel Tarnowski, who won the second round of the Eurosaf cup in Hyères, knocked the French off the top through sheer consistency, finishing second, third, second and fourth in the four races on Thursday. France’s Julien Bontemps won the second race and held onto his second place overall but Poland’s former world and European champion, Piotr Myszka won the first and last race of the day to move into third.
In the women’s RS:X, Zofia Klepacka, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, kept her overall lead, winning the second the and fourth races of the day. Her compatriot Maja Dziarnowska moved into second by winning the first race and adding two more second place finishes.
They might not have the strength in depth of the Finn squad but Britain loves a dinghy and Nick Thompson is carrying the hopes in the Laser manfully. Despite being one of the smaller men in the fleet and not having a victory yet, he took the overall lead from Sweden’s Jesper Stalheim with a second, second and fourth place in the three races yesterday. Germany’s Philip Buhl won his second race of the competition in the first race of the day but slipped to eighth in the last race.
Exactly as they predicted in the stronger winds, Britain’s Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter, lost their lead of women’s 470 to the bigger Austrian pair of Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar, who were silver medalists at the world championships in La Rochelle in August.