Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Semaine Olympique Francaise - Against the world's best

by Corinne Rolland-McKenzie on 20 Apr 2012
Julien Bontemps, favourite in the 2012 Semaine Olympique Francaise ©Guillaume Durand / FFVoile / DPPI
The 2012 Semaine Olympique Francaise is the fourth event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit and is now all set to get underway on Sunday in Hyeres, France for a week’s worth of thrilling racing action.

With less than 100 days to the Olympic Games, the stakes are high for some of the teams playing in Hyères their last chance for London. The Semaine Olympique Française will also be one of the rare opportunities for sailors to race against some of the World's best before the Olympics. Most of last year's winners are back to defend their title and win some points towards the Sailing World Cup standings.

The Polish windsurfers will surely have their word to say. World Number One, Piotr Myszka (POL) will be defending his title with strong opposition from recent World Champion Julien Bontemps (FRA), or European champion Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL). In the women, Zofia Klepacka (POL) will be one of the favourite after placing second at the last two World Championships. French Charline Picon, second last year in Hyères will defend her colours on home ground.

Racing is promising to be tough in the Lasers and Radials with most of the top sailors in Hyères. Javier Hernandez (ESP) will be keen to get another victory; however the job will not be easy with the strong Australian contingent lead by Tom Slingsby and Tom Burton, European champion Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) or 2010 winner and Athens Silver medallist, Andreas Geritzer (AUT).

A world contest is expected in the Radial with most of the World best sailors on the starting line. World Number One Evi van Acker (BEL), 2011 ISAF World Champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) or Lijia Xu (CHN), who has started the series by winning both Sail Melbourne and Miami, will start as hot favourites. However, Alicia Cebrian (ESP) who has won two weeks ago her first Sailing World Cup event in Palma, Tina Mihelic (CRO) or last year SOF Silver and Bronze medallists Sarah Steyaert (FRA) and Gintare Scheidt (LTU) will also stand a good chance to take the title won last year by Sarah Winther (NZL).

The French 470 men teams will have to work hard to keep last year record. Placed first and second in 2011, Pierre Leboucher/Vincent Garos and Nicolas Charbonnier/Jeremie Mion, will face the World Number One and World Champions Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS). The Australians had a great start this year after winning the Rolex Miami OCR and the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre in Palma. They have a good lead in the ISAF SWC standings. Other threats to the French include the strong Japanese team of Yoshida/ Harada, the Italians Zucchetti/Zandona or the Croatians Sime Fantela and Igor Marenis, only to name a few.


Despite racing below their usual level in Palma last month, World Number One Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos (ESP) are expected to defend their 470 title in Hyères. The Spanish team had perfect results last year after winning the European and World titles and should be at the front if the wind blows. World Number Two Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP), Berkhout/Westerhof (NED) or Italians Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol (ITA) will spice up the contest.

The Semaine Olympique Française is the last Olympic 'observation 'regatta for the French 470 women teams who will be under scrutiny all week. A race within the race.

Another one will be among the Danish 49ers playing in Hyères their last Olympic selection event. After Palma only a point separate the top two teams of Warrer/Hansen and Norregaard/Lang. This year, the SOF promises to be exciting and full of challenges.

Last year winners, the Sibello brothers, will only be back with Gianfranco at the helm while his brother is waiting for the green light to get back on board after last year health problems. The hot favourites for the title will be World champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) who will start their European season in Hyères. The French will provide some good competition with Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) and young team of Julien D'Ortoli and Noe Delpech who placed second last year.

Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) are back in top form to defend their Star title. After winning back to back the ISAF Worlds in Perth, the Rolex Miami OCR and the Trofeo Sofia Mapfre in Palma, the Brazilians have set the bar high for the title. Loof/Salminen (SWE), World Number Two Melleby/Pedersen or Bacardi Cup winners French Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot will need to gear up to defeat the strong Brazilians.

The Finns will see some action while Olympic selection continues for the Polish, Czech, Turkish and Slovenian teams. Already selected for London, Athens Silver medallist and World champion Rafa Trujillo (ESP) will only have his eyes set on the title. The young generation with Caleb Paine (USA), Matt Coutts (NZL) or Deniss Karpak (EST) will be ready to get to the front, in the absence of most class's favourites.

The Women Match-Racing will see another week of great battles against the best teams. The Mermaid team of Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou will enjoy racing on home waters against four strong US teams or last year winners the British team of MacGregor/Lush/MacGregor.

In the Paralympic classes, the 2.4 sees one of the best fleet ever with 28 of the World’s best. World Champion Damien Seguin (FRA) will be back to try and win his seventh title! He will face Trofeo Sofia Mapfre winner Thierry Schmitter (NED), Beijing Gold medallist Paul Tingley (CAN), or last year runner up Megan Pascoe (GBR).

Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont-Vicary and Eric Flageul (FRA) will defend their title in the Sonar and World champions Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell will be back for another victory in the Skud after claiming Sail Melbourne and Miami OCR.


Racing will start on Sunday at 10am for the Women Match Racing and at 11am for all other Olympic ad Paralympic classes.

Semaine Olympique Francaise website

Barz Optics - FloatersInSunSport - NZNorth Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
The importance of being Alive
Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, the team have lined up for a lot of things, won plenty and nabbed a record, as well. She’s presently in a yard in the Philippines having a minor refit in readiness for the Australian season. It will commence with the upcoming Brisbane to Keppel and then head sharply into this year’s Hobart.
Posted on 10 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr