Please select your home edition
Edition
GAC Pindar Superyacht Services

Semaine Olympique Francaise - Britain’s sailors claim four medals

by Lindsey Bell on 28 Apr 2012
Iain Percy-Andrew Simpson, Star - Semaine Olympique Francaise de Voile 2012 © Richard Langdon/Skandia Team GBR
Semaine Olympique Francaise de Voile 2012, the French World Cup Regatta, concluded in a strong wind finish in Hyères, France. Britain’s sailors claimed four medals with golds going to Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson after an impressive medal race, and to John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas in the Paralympic Sonar class.

Helena Lucas in the 2.4mR event and the SKUD crew of Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell, added two silver medals to the Skandia Team GBR haul, although no racing was possible for the Paralympic classes in Hyeres on Friday due to the breezy conditions.

The Sonar class, was the only one of the three Paralympic classes to leave the dock, but the 22 knot conditions, couple with big waves were deemed unsuitable for racing, allowing Robertson, Stodel and Thomas, who went into the day with a three point lead, to keep hold of their gold medal position.

'We’ve won, and had an awesome week but sadly no sailing today,' said helm Robertson. 'It was a bit disappointing not to get sailing and surf around out there for a bit, but that’s the way it goes unfortunately. It was getting a bit too fruity and the waves were huge!

'It’s a good result for us for the week – not that it was so important for us to win here. It was more of a process thing for us to get everything ticked off for [the Paralympics in] September.

'We’re quite pleased with how everything is going– it’s all good.'

Percy and Simpson however did have to race to keep hold of their gold medal position, and in some top end wind and wave conditions. The Olympic Champions had gained the medal race lead by the time they reached the first windward mark, and then sailed a conservative race to win by 1m20 while others around them battled with the tough conditions.

'After breaking the rig yesterday whilst leading we obviously didn’t want to make the same mistake twice – well, it wasn’t a mistake, the rig failed – so we were a bit more cautious today than we maybe would be normally,' Simpson explained.

'Iain did a great job and we managed to get into the lead at the top mark and sailed pretty conservatively from there, let everyone else wipe out a bit, go on their side and fill up with water! We managed to get round without too many issues, so it was great.

Percy and Simpson will race their World Championships at the same venue starting on 5 May, and while they have learned lots about the venue and their equipment, they also admit that their eyes are on Weymouth rather than adding a World Championship title to the one they won in 2010.

'The Worlds is obviously very different to the Olympic format, so we’re more focussing on how we’re going at Weymouth and focussing there. We probably wouldn’t have done the Worlds if we hadn’t had the injury to Iain’s back in Perth, so we’re here to try and make amends for that, and we’ve learnt a bit this week.

'It could be a completely nice sunny, light winds regatta rather than the breezy regatta we’ve had here, but it will be great learning and probably a bit of speed testing mainly as part of that event.'

The SKUD duo of Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell were disappointed not to have had the chance to try and reel in the Australian leaders Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch, but were content with their silver and their overall progress towards the Paralympic Games.

'We came here to the goal of getting a medal so we’ve ticked that box,' said Rickham.

'We’ve learnt a lot of lessons. We’ve made some quite rudimentary mistakes this week so I think the good thing is that we’ve had that reminder, it means that we’ll go back, reassess our processes and everything, and the battle will continue at Skandia Sail for Gold!

'It was really close racing and we slipped up races five and six and gave them the option. If we’d had more races then the result may have been different, but [the Australians] sailed well and we can’t take away from them.'

In the 2.4mR class, Helena Lucas adds a second World Cup silver to the silver she won at the Palma event earlier this month, and although disappointed to not have the chance to go racing on Friday, she is also happy with her performance amid testing conditions this week.

'The first two days we had pretty big breeze and I was going really quick, and really quick downwind so that was encouraging to know I’ve got the speed now in all conditions. It’s good to know and is like a little secret weapon to have in the armoury!

'If I can keep on my game and keep medalling now at Delta Lloyd and then Skandia Sail for Gold it would be great and would put me in really good stead hopefully for selection and then going into the Paralympics. If you can keep popping them in in the top three than that all bodes well for the real thing.'

After a promising week, there was disappointment for Alison Young in the Laser Radial event as she missed out on the podium spots by one point to the Netherlands Marit Bouwmeester, with gold going to China’s Xu Lijia and silver to Belgium’s Evi Van Acker. Charlotte Dobson finished ninth.

Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, poised fourth but on equal points with the third-placed Danish boat, were denied the chance to improve on their position when racing for the 49er class was called off.


Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor finish fourth in the women’s match racing event - strong wind conditions meant race officials were unable to complete a potentially decisive final round robin match for the GBR trio against USA’s Sally Barkow, meaning the medals were decided on percentage wins.

'After the mixed and light wind regatta World Cup regatta in Palma, Hyeres has proven a windy weather contrast for the majority of the week,' said RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park.

'Despite this playing havoc with the race management plans, the outcomes have been promising for Skandia Team GBR. It’s particular pleasing to see all three of our Paralympic classes on the podium and being in a position that we were realistically racing for gold in the Laser Radial. Following the silver for Percy and Simpson in Palma, taking the gold by a comfortable margin here provides confidence that they’re on the right track.

'It’s been a particularly frustrating week for the 49ers and women’s match racers where the programme has been curtailed by the strong winds. One more race in both fleets would have given the match racing girls and Morrison and Rhodes a good chance of being on the podium in their respective classes.

'Unfortunately that’s just the way it goes sometimes, and is just another justification for why we need to be competitive in all our Skandia Team GBR website

Related Articles

Kosinska to hit out against the Hyeres heavy metal in 2016 Olympic bid
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at Hyeres later this week. 2016 Olympic aspirant, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at the third round of the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Rio2016 - Winther hits ball firmly into Olympic selectors' court
2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team finishing 11th in the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico. Running a self-funded campaign which took in the Princesca Sofia Regatta in Palma, Spain followed by the World Championship on Banderas Bay, Mexico, Winther placed 11th overall and 10th country.
Posted on 21 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Kosinska flies out in RS-X Olympic bid
Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, in her final attempt to gain NZ Olympic selection. Kosinska has been training in her own program in New Zealand with the 2015 Women's World Champion, Chen Peina (CHN) in the RS:X Windsurfer, and Zhichao Zhang the Men's #4 at the 2015 Worlds in Oman
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther makes top three in final Qualifying race
2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds 2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds and has moved up the leaderboard to be in 12th place at the end of the shortened Qualifying Round. She placed third in the only race sailed today and continues to improve as the regatta progresses, and her confidence builds.
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther scores three single digit places - Day 3
New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table at the 2016 Laser radial Worlds being sailed in Mexico. She now lies in 15th place overall after three days of racing. She achieved single digit scores in the three races sailed today, despite hitting marks in two races and having to perform penalty turns.
Posted on 17 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Kiwis locked in Olympic selection fight - Day 2
The points gap has narrowed between the two elading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection The points gap has narrowed between the two lading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection in the Womens Singlehanded Laser Radial class.
Posted on 16 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther off to a handy start in light airs
Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. She is best placed of the three New Zealand competitors in the regatta, lying in 22nd overall after two races were sailing the Qualifying Round.
Posted on 15 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
GAC Pindar Superyacht ServicesBarz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearPantaenius - Worldwide Support