Semaine Olympique Francaise - Light and shifty winds shake up results
by Corinne Rolland-McKenzie on 26 Apr 2012
At the Semaine Olympique Francaise in Hyeres, different skills were tested with light and shifty winds on the race course. Few leaders could maintain their position while others collected high points.
Finn Class: Trujillo leads to mark © Phillipe Laurenson / DPPI / FFVOILE
Piotr Myszka (POL) is keeping his first position in the RS:X men with top five results, but the day's conditions suited better his team mate Lukaz Grodzicki (POL) who claims both races. Shahar Zubari (ISR) climbs to second with Toni Wilhem (GER) in third on equal points with Przemek Miarczynski (POL).
Tom Slingsby (AUS) proved once again he truly deserves his World number one status. The Australian placed twice second in the light air, after top three scores in the breeze. He leads from German Philipp Buhl who scored mixed results with a 15th and a first. Andy Maloney (NZL) hangs on to third.
Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) are in top form after dominating the fleet in the breeze, they were able to pull out a good race to increase their lead while their direct opponent scored high points. 'The level in this event is high and we knew that today would see some changes with the light wind. Despite a 15th in the first race we managed a good result in the second and keep our lead.'
The Dutch are enjoying a solid lead over last year winners Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos (ESP) in second. French Camille Lecointre et Mathilde Géron climbed to third after a fourth and a first.
Despite mixed results scored by top ranked sailors, Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) are conserving the lead in the 470 over the Coster brothers and Mantis/Kagialis. With two second places, Portuguese Marinho Alvaro and Miguel Nunes(POR) climbed to fifth. Regatta victories were taken by the Japanese duo Harada/Yoshida and Swedish Joonas and Niklas Lindgren.
In the 2.4, Damien Seguin (FRA) scored two victories to increase his lead to 11 points over Helena Lucas (GBR) and Thierry Schmitter (NED) on equal points.
For others, the day didn't prove easy and the lighter conditions penalised the early leaders.
For Maja Dziarnwska (POL) the day was not ideal, the young Pole suffered from the tricky conditions placing 15th and 20th in the RS:X women. She loses the lead to French Charline Picon (FRA) who raced to perfection with two victories. 'It has been a while since I sailed in these pumping conditions. It was very physical.' explained Picon. 'We expect waves and breeze tomorrow, it will be technical but it can suit me!'
After three races in the Star and two won by Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR), the British take the first position from Canadians Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn. The Swedish team of Loof/Salminen win the last race to place third overall.
'We had a mixed bag- I guess overall it was a good day.' explains Percy. 'We won two races but we should have won three – we certainly had the speed to but it got very patchy and light in the last race and we just got a bit unlucky on the last run and a group of three boats got past us which made it a little but frustrating to end like that. Overall, the good news is we’re really fast upwind – we’re struggling a little downwind which is unusual for us but we’re really fast upwind and that's a nice place to be after a couple of years of not having that.'
Athens Silver medallist Rafa Trujillo (ESP) takes the lead in the Finn class with a first and a second place. Deniss Karpak (EST) suffered from the tricky conditions and drops to second overall in front of Vasilyi Zbogar (SLO) who wins the last race.
It is tight at the top of the 49ers. After a long day and four races sailed in the Gold group, World champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) are in first place with two races win. They are on equal points with French Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis while Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) lose two places to third. It is the first time in Hyères as a team for the Australians who are back into the competition after winning the ISAF Worlds in Perth.
The day delivered mixed results for the top girls in the Laser radial. ISAF World champion, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) gets to first place with Lijia Xu (CHN) in second. Earlier leader Alison Young (GBR) has found it tough today and scores high points to place third overall. The bullets go to World number one Evi van Acker (BEL) placed 5th and Tina Mihelic (CRO)11th.
The results are getting close between the top three in the Sonar. The British John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas are taking the lead. Aleksander Wang Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg (NOR) win two races to place second. Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont-Vicary et Eric Flageul (FRA) are in third at only four points from the leaders.
It is a dual for the title in the Skud. Miami OCR winners Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS) are two points ahead Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR). They held a good lead over Americans Jennifer French and Jean-Paul Creignou.
The Women Match Racers had a long day trying to finish the round robins. At the end of the day and with some flights still to race, Anna Tunnicliffe and her team remain undefeated.
The Women Match Racers will be the first out to race at 8.30 am with the fleets starting earlier than scheduled at 10am.
The forecast is once again quite extreme for the fifth day of racing in Hyères with the easterly bringing in big waves and strong winds.
Semaine Olympique Francaise website
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