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Semaine Olympique Française day four light and shifty

by Corinne Rolland-McKenzie on 28 Apr 2011
Semaine Olympique Française day four © Jean-Marie Liot /DPPI/FFV
Semaine Olympique Française day four.

After a day of light and shifty winds, many classes ' favourites have collected high scores. The competition was tight today with classes racing in Gold group except in the Star and 470 women.

The Spanish are in command in three classes. Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos (ESP) are sailing away in the Women 470, 26 points from the Italians Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol. Emmanuelle Rol and Hélène Defrance (FRA) have mastered the day with two victories in their favoured conditions. The 2010 SOF-TPM winners are coming back to the score in fifth place. 'We were comfortable in today's conditions, We took good starts. This gave us confidence especially after our difficult start in the event. We couldn't afford any more mistakes.'

Blanca Manchon (ESP) is also increasing her lead in the RS:X women with a perfect day. She is adding two more victories to her score, now 14 points away from Charline Picon (FRA). Alessandra Sensini (ITA) is steadily making her way up the fleet to take third position overall. The Italian who won three times the French event is back in Hyères after a nine years' break with for mission to win her Olympic selections. Thinking about her racing here so far: 'I didn't make the most of the windy day. I am usually fast in the breeze but I made a mistake and fell in the water. Then I had to deal with the light conditions. I am happy with the way I am going. This is my sixth Olympic campaign! They are all different, the problems to overcome are not the same, you have to adapt. People think it is easier for me but actually it is harder because there are more expectations.'

Third Spanish in the lead is Javier Hernandez (ESP) who takes the top place from Tom Slingsby (AUS) in the strong Laser fleet. Today light conditions made changes in the rankings but distributed high score to all the top sailors. Tom Slingsby (AUS) collected three of his worse races in the event to step down to third. After a mixed day, Simon Grotelueschen (GER) gains one place to second: 'It was another hard day with not much wind. I am tall and had to try and make myself small in the boat! Everybody got bad races, I got mine as well but managed to gain one place so I am happy with the day.'

Andreas Geritzer (AUT) who started the day in 19th place, climbs to sixth overall after a fourth and a bullet in the last: 'Today were perfect conditions for me. When it is light and tricky, the other guys always say 'These are Andy's conditions!' That was true again today!' However, the Athens Silver medallist was not the day's best improver. Jesper Stalheim (SWE) improves from 35th to 10th and Olympic champion Paul Goodison (GBR) from 24th to sixth!

Despite scoring their worse score so far in the regatta, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) are conserving the lead. 'We are leading the regatta since day 1, we started well and can finish well. We are really happy with our results because we had difficult conditions and we raced consistently. There are still four races to go, tomorrow will be a big day so we will see how we go.' Today's only race's win went to Croatian Marin Lovrovic and Sinisa Mikulicic (CRO).

With two races' victory Piotr Myszka (POL) is climbing to second overall at only two points from the lead held by Shahar Zubari (ISR). 'Today we had the worst wind of the regatta. I had two good starts and led the race from the first mark.' explains Myszka, ' I had pure wind advantage and controlled all. I was very lucky in the second race and took the second bullet.' Julien Bontemps (FRA) is third.

The tricky conditions distributed high scores to the 470 competitors. Nicolas Charbonnier and Jeremie Mion (FRA) discard a place of 27thand a second. Mixed results as well for Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA) who scored a 44th and a fourth. They stay in second position five points ahead of Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS).

Ben Ainslie (GBR) wins his fifth race out the seven sailed in the Finn. The Olympic champion has proved once again his versatility in all conditions. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) conserves the second position while Giles Scott (GBR) is back in third.

Sarah Steyaert (FRA) takes the lead in the Laser radial from Sara Winther (NZL) despite a race of 25th. The French who plays her first Olympic selection regatta in Hyères knows where she stands: 'I think I took it too cool this morning, I was too relaxed. All the best were present and the level much higher.' About her top place she adds 'I have never looked behind and will not start tomorrow. I will do my job and will have a good day. I want to win the regatta and will not stop here!'

Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) is conserving her third place.

Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello (ITA) are now in the lead in the 49er after three races sailed in the Gold group with the top 25 racers. The day's best results were collected by Jonas Warrer and Soren Hansen (DEN) who progress to second place after two fourth places and a victory.

The matches for the seeding in the Gold group after five races saw a three way tie for the top three and last three.
The Top three: McGregor (GBR), Barkow (USA) and Groeneveld (NED) have scored 4-1. Leroy (FRA), Skudina (RUS) and Echegoyen (ESP) are placing fourth to sixth with a 1-4 scores. Le Berre (FRA) and Tulloch (USA) are completing the Gold group after winning the repechage on equal score 4-1.

Lucy MacGregor (GBR) explains the team regatta debut: 'We’re really happy with how it’s all been going this week. We’ve had some really good races – we just made a couple of silly errors in the two races that we’ve lost, but other than that we’re pleased with our speed and our communication on the boat. It’s clicking together pretty well so far.'

The quarter finals will start on Thursday with the following pairings: McGregor/Tulloch, Le Berre/Barkow, Groeneveld/Echegoyen, Skudina/Leroy.

Team McGregor (GBR) will open the quarter finals against Tulloch (USA). 'We haven’t raced against Jenny for ages really – at many of the events the groups tend to end up a bit the same and we race against people we’ve already raced against, so Jenny is one we haven’t come across recently. The American boats though are generally quite aggressive on the race course though so we’ll have to try and make sure we don’t get dragged into that' explains Lucy MacGregor (GBR).

The Paralympic classes are conserving the same leaders from day one. Damien Seguin (FRA) had increased his lead in the 2.4 to 21 points over Megan Pascoe (GBR) on equal points with Heiko Kroeger (GER). Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary (FRA) are in top place in the Sonar. In the Skud, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) were beaten for the first time today by Alex Hovden and Kate Mannerings (GBR).

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