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Mediterraneans lead Manche and Atlantic at 420 CIMA at Martigues

by Tony Mapplebeck (420 UF) and Isabelle Rey (CVM) on 24 Apr 2011
Start (features international entry) © Michel Quilicim - 420 CIMA - Coupe Internationale Méditerranéenne de l’Amitié 2011 Michel Quilicim
420 CIMA Qualifying Series duos Yvann Thelier and Gulllaume Holin (CN Antibes) and Yvann Beckius and Pierre Petetin (SN de Sanary) headed up the qualifying races at CV Martigues, in a hard fought competition between the top French teams. Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Sipan (SNPH), Nicolas Ferrellec and Baptiste Szekely (USAM Voile) and Etienne L’Her and Hugo Lauras (SR Brest) were only divided by one point in the top six by the Danes, Balder Tobiasen and Magnus Jung Johansen, who took fifth overall.

Maelenn Lemaitre and Aloise Retornaz (EV Locquirec/SR Brest) extended their lead amongst the women, ending a place ahead of their day one place, in ninth overall. Morgan Kiss and Christina Lewis (USA) continue to hold second amongst the women in 18th.

110 teams from eight nations have descended on Martigues in the South of France for the CIMA (Coupe Internationale Méditerranéenne de l’Amitié), the French 420 Class’ international championship, held around Easter each year. After two years in Marseille, CIMA has returning to C V de Martigues on the Etang de Berre, west of Marseille.

There are 35 teams from outside France – Belgium (4), Denmark (1), Chile (1), Germany (8), Switzerland (13), Turkey (5) and USA (3), together with the French 420 fleet, here en masse! For many teams, this event represents the first major event of the year to test themselves against international competition, the next being Kieler Woche in June, but also is identified for some for team selection purposes.

It is the main event for the FFVoile and the French 420 Uniqua (Class) to choose teams for the ISAF Youth Worlds, European Championship and Junior European Championship. Two male and two female under-19 teams will qualify for a second stage of selection for the ISAF Youth Worlds to be held in Zadar, Croatia in July. The French team for the 420 European Championships in Tavira, Portugal later in July (14 boats) will be selected in full, together with five of the seven teams for the Junior Europeans, to be held jointly with the 470 Class in Nieuwpoort, Belgium in August, the remainder being picked as 'wild cards' at the French Coupe Nationale in Cherbourg in July.

The Chairman of the Race Committee, Eric Bournot of Le Havre welcomed the sailors and coaches, saying, 'I am very proud to be here in Martigues. To be here as Chairman on the Race Committee for this great sailing regatta, that is CIMA. CV Martigues is very used to organising large international racing events. I wish you all a very fine regatta. Take much pleasure on the water and in the sport, good sailing!' The famous ‘ambience’ here, a friendly, open and helpful club, is certainly suitable for the CIMAmitié! With close on 50 members of the Club mobilised to support the organisation, the Rotary Club of Martigues serving food and drink morning and evening and an impressive Race Committee, this promised the organisation for a great event. Club President, Pierre Cast, paid tribute to the Club’s partners who are helping to mount this event: the Conseil Général 13, la Région Provence Alpes Cote d Azur, la FFVoile and la classe 420 Uniqua.

The sailing for the first two days, the Qualifying Series, has been excellent, with a sea breeze of 15 – 20 knots, rising in the last race to 25. Racing in two groups, the conditions have been challenging physically. but, in spite of a range of experience, with many having competed in two World Championships in the last year, most recently in Argentina, and the Junior Europeans held in the 420s fiftieth year at La Rochelle, France, near its original birthplace, while for others this is their first international exposure.

Gulllaume Holin, who with his helm, Yvann Thelier, eventually led the Qualifiers, told us that in their second year together in the 420, they were just back from the Princess Sofia competing in the 470. Coming from Antibes, just along the Mediterranean coats, they are used to the thermic wind conditions, although the shallow waters of the Etang de Berre are reminiscent of the Mar de la Plata at Buenos Aires. This 'is the first meeting of the year, and we are working hard!'. Etienne L’Her and Hugo Lauras from SR Brest are the top-ranked French team on the basis of the Coupe d’Automne in La Rochelle last year and were the leading French team at the Worlds in Buenos Aires (by a few points from their Antibes rivals!). Hugo came off the water on day one declaring that it had been 'tiring! We are very happy with the level of competition, which is as we had anticipated. The sailing is a little different here from Brest (their home waters), where it is colder! The wind got stronger during the races, up to 25 knots in the last'. And Aloise Retornaz, who crews with Maelenn Lemaitre, the highest ranked women’s team in France and Bronze winners at the 2011 Worlds, said 'it was very windy and difficult, very much physical sailing!'

Nadia Horwitz and Maria Sofia Middleton of Chile also spoke of the different conditions from home, where large waves and open sea is what they are used to. Here, they found the need to be aware of changing winds, but acknowledged similarities with the shallow waters to the Buenos Aires Worlds, where they took fifth place. But sailing is in the genes of both sailors and, having had to represent Chile in the 29er last year in the ISAF Youth Worlds, they are delighted now to be campaigning in the 420, 'our first choice!'

In second overall on day one, Balder Tobiasen and Magnus Jung Johansen, who also started their 470 careers at the recent Olympic Class event at Palma, had a 'good day' in the first three races, but Magnus was quite self-critical after the second day. Apparently, the second race had all gone the wrong way 'after a bad tack', so they were making do with fifth overall in the Qualifiers. Testing the water here at CIMA to decide how they will take forward further 420 sailing, we wish them well; the emerging Danish 420 Class will surely be cheering them on back home!

Meanwhile, the leading USA team, Morgan Kiss and Christina Lewis, teamed up this year after Morgan won silver at the Haifa 420 Worlds 2010, are running second women in the Qualifiers. Morgan seemed to relish the 'very windy conditions. It felt really fast, Christina was really good at flat trapezing' to keep the level.

Among the competitors, Hervé Lohier of SN St Quentin in Paris, who has been the leader of FFVoile’s very long veterans’ classification in the 420 for many years and a long standing CIMA competitor since 1986, just celebrated his 70th birthday! And his new crew, Pauline Boué, not yet 15 years old, must be among the very youngest sailors here. Pauline explained that she is more used to the lighter winds of the Ile de France in Paris, but that she was very excited at this opportunity to sail her first CIMA with Hervé, who has a strong track record of training successful 420 crews (including the current leading crew in the French rankings!), as well as in competing himself.

French 420 President, Christian Berhault summed up the Qualifying Series, 'this has been a great start to CIMA 2011, and I am very pleased at the good racing conditions, but also at the great organisation here at CV Martigues, with all their staff and volunteers welcoming a large international entry, as well as the French 420 fleet'.

Top twenty in the Qualifying Series after 3 races:
1 Yvann Thelier and Gulllaume Holin (FRA - CN Antibes) 6 points
2 Yvann Beckius and Pierre Petetin (FRA - SN de Sanary) 6 pts
3 Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Sipan (FRA – SNPH) 9 pts
4 Nicolas Ferrellec and Baptiste Szekely (FRA - USAM Voile) 9 pts
5 Balder Tobiasen and Magnus Jung Johansen (DEN) 10 pts
6 Etienne L’Her and Hugo Lauras (FRA – SR Brest) 10 pts
7 Corentin Bornet and Charlie Agneau (FRA – CN CP/Regates de Royane) 13 pts
8 Timothe Petetin and Charles Porez (FRA - SN de Sanary) 13 pts
9 Maelenn Lemaitre and Aloise Retornaz (FRA – EV Locquirec/SR Brest) 17 pts
10 Quenten Lootens and Stun van Hoye (BEL) 23 pts
11 Martin Bertrand and Xavier Lara (FRA – SR Rochelaises) 24 pts
12 Kevin Bloch and Damien Quere (FRA – CNV Aix Les bains/SN St Quay Portrieux) 24 pts
13 Olivier Moreau and Romain Bureau (ASPTT La Rochelle) 25 pts
14 Martin Aumont and Paul Davisard (FRA – EV Cherbourg/SR Havre) 27 pts
15 Clovis Leroux and Aymeric Paruit (FRA - SNO Nantes) 31 pts
16 Reinier Eenkema van Diji and Spencer McDonagh (USA) 32 pts
17 Max Popken and Emil Schlosser (SUI) 33 pts
18 Morgan Kiss and Christina Lewis (USA) 38 pts
19 Quentin Le Guellec and Mathieu Corruble (FRA – SN PH) 38 pts
20 Julien Rossi and Bruno Mourniac (FRA – YC Antibes) 42 pts

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