by Dana Paxton
Semaine Olympique Francaise (French Olympic Sailing Week) fourth day of racing saw light wind which was a complete change from the previous three days’ 20-plus knots.
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US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider holds four top-10 positions: Jen French and JP Creignou third in the SKUD-18; Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan fourth in Women’s 470; Mark LeBlanc is tenth in 2.4mR; and Paul Callahan, Tom Brown and Bradley Johnson are tenth in Sonar. In Women’s Match Racing, Anna Tunnicliffe’s 'Team Maclaren' of Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi continued to go undefeated.
Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl finished the day’s racing with a third in race eight. They’ll advance into the gold fleet, which is the top half division in the Men’s 470 fleet. They currently sit in 11th overall and will need to finish in the top 10 tomorrow in order to advance to Friday’s medal race.
'It has been a very windy event,' said Biehl. 'The first day went well for us. Generally it has been going well. We have been trying some new things and checking on our settings because we haven’t had this kind of wind for a while.'
Exclusive video with Biehl, who talks about OCS scores and how that affects the overall plan:
Erik Storck and Trevor Moore won the first 49er race of the day and as they explained in their daily racing blog:
'We were happy to notch a race win in our first race as US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes today! This is a brilliant partnership, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.
It’s been a crazy week in Hyeres, as shown by our posts thus far. We put up two great races (1,7) today in some lighter conditions and in silver fleet. We did not sail the third and fourth races. Trevor has been dealing with a shoulder injury since last September, and it has flared up a bit in the past month or so. We are taking the necessary steps now to make certain that he will be in top shape for the Olympics.
Today, that meant not going back out after being sent in to race in two more races in more wind. Tomorrow Trevor will be flying home to get treatment. We are confident that we have laid out a solid plan to address his issue, and we will come out ready to race for Sail for Gold in June and again for the Olympics. As we’ve said all spring, there is only one regatta this year. It’s the Olympics. We will do everything in our power to be ready for that.
My schedule is still in the works. I may still get to do the Worlds to get some tiller time and keep my mind fresh with racing scenarios. More on that will come tomorrow.
Finally, the other big news that we are very happy to share is that our own sponsor, Sperry Top-Sider has signed on as the title sponsor of the US Sailing Team. We were happy to notch a race win in our first race as US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes today! This is a brilliant partnership, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.
Thanks to US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, especially title sponsor Sperry Top-Sider and Gold Partners Atlantis WeatherGear and Rolex. Also, thanks to all of our supporters.'
In the Men’s RS:X windsurfer, Bob Willis has been struggling in the breeze, but working hard to harness the power. 'It’s very hard to sail tactically sound and keep your head out of the boat when you’re focused on boat speed, which is our number one priority,' said Willis. 'In Hyeres, with the Mistral, it’s been really shifty, choppy and windy. For the most part I feel my speed has been really good, but I’ve had some issues with staying in phase, and my results indicate that.' Willis is currently in 26th.
Exclusive video with Bob Willis where he talks about the RS:X World Championship last month, and what it’s like going from a Mistral to very light wind in Hyeres. Racing continues through Friday, April 27.
New Title Sponsor: On April 24, Sperry Top-Sider®, the leading global nautical performance and lifestyle brand, announced its title sponsorship of the US Sailing Team, newly named US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. The title sponsorship is the brand’s highest profile sailing sponsorship to date and is effective immediately through December 31, 2016.
There are 26 USSTAG athletes competing at this event, 15 of whom have qualified for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Teams.
Competing in the French Olympic Sailing Week:
2.4mR - Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.)
49er - Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (N. Pomfret, Vt./Naples, Fla.)
470 Men - Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.)
470 Women - Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Finn - Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)
Laser - Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.)
RS:X Men – Bob Willis (Chicago, Ill.)
RS:X Women - Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.)
SKUD-18 – Jen French (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and JP Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Sonar – Paul Callahan (Cape Coral, Fla./Newport R.I.), Tom Brown (Castine, Me.) and Bradley Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
Women’s Match Racing:
Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.)
Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham (Miami, Fla.)
Genny Tulloch (San Francisco, Calif.), Jenn Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.) and Alice Manard Leonard (New Orleans, La./East Haven, Conn.)
Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.), members of the 2012 US Sailing Development Team, will compete in the 49er.
The US Sailing Team is not represented at French Olympic Sailing Week in the Laser Radial or Star classes.
US Sailing Team website