Who said Olympic sailing was boring? Big winds again characterised the final day of the ISAF World Cup, Hyeres
New Zealand sailors competed in two events in the Medal Race round of the fourth event in the ISAF World Cup, being sailed at Hyeres, France, winning Silver and Bronze medals.
The Kiwi medals came from the keenly contested Mens Singlehander (Laser), where Andy Maloney was able to turn the tables on the already nominated 2012 Olympic representative, Andrew Murdoch.
Racing once again in the strong winds which have dominated the event all week, Maloney moved from being fourth overall at the end of the Qualification Round to finish second in the double scoring Medal Race. Murdoch was fifth in the ten boat Medal Race, and retained his third place on the overall points table.
Andy Maloney, Mark Howard, Andrew Murdoch - Semaine Olympique Francaise 2012
The Medal Race was notable for the ten series leader, Tom Slingsby (AUS) breaking his mast, and dropping back to fifth in the overall standings.
Maloney's jump came about largely as a result of the very tight points position at the top of the fleet, which meant that a good showing in the Medal Race would result in a jump up the points table.. Second overall going into the final race, Philipp Buhl of Germany, won the Medal Race and eased away to a seven point margin over Maloney , with Murdoch a further five points further back.
Two New Zealand sailors competed in the Medal race for the Mens Heavyweight Singlehander (Finn).
Dan Slater (NZL) finished fifth in the Medal race and retained his fifth place in the competition, with Matt Coutts (NZL) representing the same feat for eighth in the Medal race and ninth overall.
The Finn fleet was typical of many at this regatta with many of the big names missing, including triple Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie (GBR).
The event was won by Australia's Brendan Casey, who won the last race of the Qualification series, plus the Medal race and secured the 2012 Olympic nomination for Australia in the Heavyweight Mens Singlehander.
In the Womens Match Racing (Elliott 7) the NZL crew helmed by Stephanie Hazard were placed 14th overall in an event which was shortened dramatically after officials were not able to complete the round robin phase of the competition. Racing was abandoned on the final day. Results were then calculated on the percentage of wins in the total number of races sailed. The New Zealand crew won six races, recovering from an indifferent start to the event, which was plagued by strong winds.
Matt Coutts (NZL-8) tucked in behind the silver medalist Rafael Truijllo (ESP) in the Mens Heavyweight Singlehander (Finn)
The Mens HP Skiff (49er) did not race their Medal race due to the conditions. After failing to make the cut for the Medal Race the New Zealand crew of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke ended the regatta 13th overall A second NZ crew of Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski also did not race, and retained their fourth overall in the Silver Fleet, or 29th overall in the combined fleet.
The Womens Windsurfer (RS:X) Natalia Kosinska (NZL) also missed the cut for the Medal Race by just one place and she finished 11th overall.
In the Womens Match Racing (Elliott 7) the reggatta was not able to have the first full rund completed due to the string winds. Some racing was possible on the final day. but officials then had to resort to determining a winner by ranking competitors according to their win percentage. On this basis with six wins, and a points deduction, the New Zealand crew finished 14th in the 17 crew 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.
The World Cup events was a build up for New Zealand sailors who will compete in several World Championships in May, including the Laser World championships will start on May 4th in Boltenhagen, Germany, and the Finn Gold Cup on May 10th in Falmouth, England.
Further updates on the NZL Sailing Team are available and on the NZL Sailing Team’s Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/NZLSailingTeam), twitter @NZLSailingTeam and Website (www.yachtingnz.org.nz).
NZL Final Standings
Laser (106 entries)
2nd - Andy Maloney
3rd- Andrew Murdoch
13th - Sam Meech
40th- Thomas Saunders
91st- Michael Cate
Finn (41 entries)
5th- Dan Slater
9th –Matt Coutts
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)
14th Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen, Susannah Pyatt
These sailors are supported by a coaching team of Jez Fanstone, Mark Howard, Phil Douglas, Ian Neely and Caroline Brisebois
Full results and Hyères regatta news is available on the regatta website (http://sof.ffvoile.com)