ISAF World Cup: Four to contest two Medal Races for New Zealand

Racing in the Womens Windsurfer (RS:X) on the penultimate day in the SOF 2012
© Jean-Marie Liot /DPPI/FFV

Four New Zealand sailors will contest two Medal Races on the final day of the fourth round of the ISAF World Sailing Cup currently underway at Hyeres, France.

Strong winds returned for the final day of fleet racing, with the conditions causing a few withdrawals, including New Zealand's Dan Slater, but also 2008 Olympic Gold medalists, Iain Percy and Bart Simpson (GBR) in the Mens Two Handed Keelboat (Star) event when they broke their mast.

In the Mens Singlehander (Laser) Andrew Murdoch was the best performed of the New Zealanders scoring a sixth and third place on thr penultimate day of the regatta to lift back up into third place on the points table. He lies just one place, and one point, ahead of compatriot, Andy Maloney.

Murdoch, who has already been named as the 2012 Olympic Representative in the event, will have his work cut out to stay ahead of Maloney in the double scoring Medal Race. Murdoch is four points astern of the second placed competitor Phillip Buhl (GER) meaning that he will have to finish three places ahead, to take the Silver medal. Maloney meanwhile is only three points ahead of the fifth placed competitor - and Tom Burton (AUS) will need to beat one or both New Zealanders, by at least two places if he is to get amongst the medal action.

In the Mens Heavyweight Singlehander (Finn) Dan Slater (NZL) slipped another place in the overall standings, and now lies in fifth place overall after placing 13th in race 6 and then failing to finish in Race 7. After making a good start to the regatta, Slater was at one stage in third overall, but could not hold this level of performance through to the end of the regatta. Matt Coutts (NZL) held onto his eighth place overall, after scoring seventh and 12th places in the two races sailed today. Slater is the only one of the pair to have a chance of getting into the medals, but would need to beat Australia's Brendan Casey by six places in the ten boat Medal Race fleet - which would be a massive effort from the New Zealander.

The Mens HP Skiff (49er) did not race due to the conditions. The disqualification of the New Zealand crew of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke from Race 7, coupled with a soft end to their regatta has resulted in the 2012 Olympic representatives failing to make the cut for the Medal Race. A second NZ crew of Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski also did not race, and have of course retained their fourth overall in the Silver Fleet, or 29th overall in the combined fleet.

The Womens Windsurfer (RS:X) Natalia Kosinska (NZL) finished her regatta with two 18th places in the two races sailed and missed the cut for the Medal Race by just one place when she finished 11th overall.

In the Womens Match Racing (Elliott 7) the NZL crew helmed by Stephanie Hazard were unable to race because of the conditions, and if racing is also not possible on the final day, it will make an interesting dilemma for regatta officials. Currently the NZL crew lie in the middle of the fleet with six wins and were looking to progress by virtue of further race wins and then making the repechage phase of the event.

The Semaine Olympique Francaise, or simply Hyères as it is commonly known is the fourth of seven regattas in the 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup series. Over 900 sailors from 55 nations are competing in Hyères, France, however the fleets are significantly weaker in quality in some events due to the fact that many countries have elected not to send their top competitors, many of whom competed in the third round of the ISAF World Cup in Hyeres earlier in the month.

Live Tracking of the medal races is accessible through the Hyeres Regatta website, the Finn race will be at 10:15am (9:15pm NZT) and Laser 12:15pm (11:15pm NZT).

New Zealand’s standings after final series - Progressing to medal races

Laser (106 entries)
4th - Andy Maloney- 21pts
3rd - Andrew Murdoch- 20 pts

Finn (41 entries)
5th - Dan Slater- 37.2 pts
8th – Matt Coutts- 61 pts

2012 Semaine Olympique Francaise - Final Standings other competitors

Laser
13th Sam Meech
40th Thomas Saunders
91st Michael Cate

49er (56 entries)
13th- Peter Burling and Blair Tuke
29th - Josh Porebski / Marcus Hansen

RS:X Women (40 entries)
11th Natalia Kosinska

Women’s Match Racing (17 entries)
6 wins, 10 loss- Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen, Susannah Pyatt

For the full results http://sof.ffvoile.fr/!click_here
http://www.sail-world.com/96555