by Lindsey Bell
John Robertson, Hannah Stodel, Stephen Robinson, Sonar - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres
John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas have claimed Great Britain’s first medal at the French Olympic Sailing Week in Hyeres, clinching gold with a day to spare in the Paralympic Sonar class on Thursday.
The trio, whose selection for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games was confirmed earlier this month, have led the three-person keelboat fleet since the start of the regatta, clinching eight race wins out of nine races so far, to notch up a seven point lead with one race still to go on Friday.
The Skandia Team GBR trio have found good speed in their new boat, being raced competitively for the first time in Hyeres. But helmsman Robertson, although pleased with the team’s performance, remains focussed on the main prize.
'It’s a good result and really pleasing that we’ve been sailing well, but this week’s really been about the getting new boat all ready.
'It’s not about this event – that’s just a stepping stone along the way to making sure we’re in the best shape we can be for Beijing.'
After a long stint on shore waiting for the wind to appear, Skandia Team GBR’s sailors eventually made it out on to the racecourses today, and head into Friday’s final medal races with three crews in podium positions in the Olympic classes.
Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield endured a tough day in the 470 men’s division, but hold on to the silver medal position heading in the 10-boat final showdown. They’re trailing the Dutch crew of Sven and Kalle Coster by just four points, and have the French crew of Nicolas Charbonnier and Oliver Bausset hot on their heels, seven points behind.
Ed Wright picked up a fourth in the sole Finn race of the day to keep him in third place overall, while Tornado sailors Leigh McMillan and Will Howden have also moved into the bronze medal position. The duo didn’t have the best of days on the water, picking up an 18th in their only race of the day, but with their main rivals also faring badly on Thursday, their consistency throughout the week has paid off to see them into third place heading into the final day.
Helena Lucas is level on points with German sailor Heiko Kroeger heading into the final race for the 2.4mR Paralympic Class, while Skandia Team GBR will have two sailors in the medal race for the Laser fleet. Nick Thompson, currently in fifth place is in the hunt for the medals, while Paul Goodison put in a great performance with two second places today to haul himself inside the top ten boats for the first time this week.
Dave Evans and Simon Hiscocks will be the sole British representatives in the 49er medal race, and are seven points off the podium positions, while two-time Yngling World Champions Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson are poised just outside the podium spots in fourth place, with results of 5,4,15 from their three races on Thursday.
'The aim of the day was to close the points, so we’ve achieved that,' Ayton explained.
'It was pretty tricky in the last race and we just got caught on the wrong side of a wind shift and with light winds and flat water like we’ve had today, those little mistakes cost you. But second place or bronze are still achievable.'
Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark will also feature for Skandia Team GBR in the 470 women’s medal race.
The French Olympic Sailing Week concludes on Friday 25 April.
Hyeres - Leading positions after Thursday
1: John Robertson (Great Britain) 7 points (Détail courses : 1,3,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,)
2: Jostein Stordahl (Norway) 14 points (Détail courses : 3,1,2,2,4,OCS ,2,2,2,)
3: Sven Reiger (Austria) 27 points (Détail courses : 5,4,7,7,2,3,5,3,5,)
4: Marco Collinetti (Italy) 27 points (Détail courses : 4,2,4,5,6,4,4,4,6,)
5: Tao Wang (China) 30 points (Détail courses : DNF ,OCS ,6,6,3,2,3,7,3,)
RS :X Men
1: Casper Bouman (The Netherlands) 12 points (Détail courses : 1,2,2,1,4,2,41,)
2: Przemyslaw Miarczynski (Poland) 18 points (Détail courses : 3,4,1,2,6,3,5,)
3: Ricardo Santos (Brazil) 20 points (Détail courses : 10,6,4,6,1,1,2,)
4: Julien Bontemps (A S P T T Nantes) 23 points (Détail courses : 1,3,7,4,7,12,1,)
5: Byron Kokalanis (Greece) 26 points (Détail courses : 5,4,8,3,2,5,7,)
RS :X Women
1: Zofia Klepacka (Poland) 19 points (Détail courses : 1,1,1,3,8,5,19,)
2: Olga Maslivets (Ukraine) 33 points (Détail courses : 2,30,3,6,20,1,1,)
3: Jannicke Stalstrom (Norway) 36 points (Détail courses : 7,14,8,2,2,3,27,)
4: Jessica Crisp (Australia) 42 points (Détail courses : 13,9,6,11,1,2,17,)
5: Flavia Tartaglini (Italy) 45 points (Détail courses : 8,4,5,15,3,11,14,)
1: Sven Coster / Kalle Coster (The Netherlands) 33 points (Détail courses : 1,3,6,8,1,2,12,30,)
2: Nick Rogers / Joe Glanfield (Great Britain) 37 points (Détail courses : 1,2,1,5,6,10,20,12,)
3: Nicolas Charbonnier / Olivier Bausset (Yacht Club Antibes) 44 points (Détail courses : 11,7,20,2,5,14,4,1,)
4: Gabrio Zandona / Andrea Trani (Italy) 48 points (Détail courses : 9,4,7,4,7,6,27,11,)
5: Eyal Levine / Yam Amir (Israel) 50 points (Détail courses : 2,16,5,3,28,5,6,13,)
1: Sarah Blanck (Australia) 12 points (Détail courses : 1,2,1,1,2,2,14,3,)
2: Anna Tunnicliffe (United States O) 30 points (Détail courses : 6,11,2,1,7,3,6,5,)
3: Evi Van Acker (Belgium) 37 points (Détail courses : 2,2,3,6,3,6,26,15,)
4: Nathalie Brugger (Switzerland) 44 points (Détail courses : 5,3,4,7,11,5,9,29,)
5: Jo Aleh (New Zealand) 57 points (Détail courses : 5,BFD ,7,4,16,1,3,21,)
1: Damien Seguin (France) 10 points (Détail courses : 1,3,2,1,1,5,2,)
2: Thierry Schmitter (The Netherlands) 17 points (Détail courses : 2,1,3,5,3,4,4,)
3: Heiko Kroeger (Germany) 18 points (Détail courses : OCS ,2,1,2,2,6,5,)
4: Helena Lucas (Great Britain) 18 points (Détail courses : 3,4,4,3,4,1,3,)
5: Megan Pascoe (Great Britain) 31 points (Détail courses : 4,6,5,7,7,2,12,)
1: Darren Bundock / Glenn Ashby (Australia) 29 points (Détail courses : 6,7,5,2,7,1,1,7,)
2: Francesco Marcolini / Edoardo Bianchi (Italy) 33 points (Détail courses : 8,1,11,OCS ,3,2,6,2,)
3: Leigh Mcmillan / Will Howden (Great Britain) 34 points (Détail courses : 7,6,4,7,2,5,3,18,)
4: Fernando Echavarri / Anton Paz (Spain) 38 points (Détail courses : 3,3,2,5,OCS ,3,7,15,)
5: Mitch Booth / Pim Nieuwenhuis (The Netherlands) 44 points (Détail courses : 1,5,12,1,1,19,5,20,)
1: Ai Kondo / Naoko Kamata (Japan) 34 points (Détail courses : 4,10,2,3,6,7,17,2,)
2: Giulia Conti / Giovanna Micol (Italy) 46 points (Détail courses : 9,13,3,5,30,1,8,7,)
3: Stefanie Rothweiler / Vivien Kussatz (Germany) 49 points (Détail courses : 14,12,9,10,1,5,6,6,)
4: Therese Torgersson / Vendela Santen (Sweden) 69 points (Détail courses : 22,23,6,19,5,3,2,12,)
5: Maria Ferna Sesto / Consuelo Monsegur (Argentina) 69 points (Détail courses : 13,4,8,2,20,11,11,26,)
1: Tim Wadlow / Chris Rast (United States O) 40 points (Détail courses : 5,6,2,2,10,6,4,6,6,3,)
2: Xabier Fernandez / Iker Martinez de (Spain) 44 points (Détail courses : 2,1,3,12,1,14,12,10,1,2,)
3: Federico Alonso / Arturo Nest Alonso (Spain) 54 points (Détail courses : DNF ,5,10,5,6,2,13,3,5,5,)
4: Jonas Warrer / Martin Kirketerp (Denmark) 60 points (Détail courses : 4,5,15,11,3,7,7,8,9,6,)
5: Dave Evans / Simon Hiscocks (Great Britain) 61 points (Détail courses : 5,2,2,2,7,4,14,14,11,18,)
1: Siren Sundby (Norway) 32 points (Détail courses : 8,5,1,6,2,3,4,8,18,3,)
2: Ekaterina Skudina (Russia) 41 points (Détail courses : 5,9,8,11,1,8,10,1,2,7,)
3: Silja Sofia Lehtinen (Finland) 44 points (Détail courses : 2,4,6,2,12,2,3,14,16,13,)
4: Sarah Ayton (Great Britain) 47 points (Détail courses : 3,1,14,3,7,10,16,5,4,15,)
5: Sally Barkow (United States O) 49 points (Détail courses : 4,3,16,10,11,11,8,3,1,9,)
1: Michael Leigh (Canada) 36 points (Détail courses : 2,