Great Britain emerged as top nation at the conclusion of the French Olympic Sailing Week on Friday, with Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield adding a second gold to the total of four medals for Skandia Team GBR at the Hyeres event.
Rogers and Glanfield, Athens silver medallists in the 470 men’s class, added gold to the one already won by John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas in the Paralympic Sonar class on Thursday, with Finn sailor Ed Wright taking silver and Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson bronze in the Yngling event.
Rogers and Glanfield were in second place heading into the final double-points scoring medal race on Friday, with two bad starts to Thursday’s two races allowing the Dutch pairing of Sven and Kalle Coster to extend their lead.
But the Brits held their nerve amid the light wind conditions on Friday, rounding the windward mark of their one-lap race in third place and showing superior speed on the downwind leg to win the medal race. The Dutch pair finished the race fifth, which gave the Skandia Team GBR pair the overall victory by four points at their first regatta since the 470 World Championships in January.
'The wind was really light and patchy and didn’t reach any more than five knots throughout,' explained Glanfield.
'It’s pretty hard to sail under pressure in those sorts of fickle winds – you have this kind of nervous energy and have to make good decisions – so it’s pleasing that we managed stay calm and sail well under those circumstances.
'While you’re kind of obsessing about light winds for China, we could easily be in a situation where a third of our races at the Games are sailed in strong winds, so you still need to be able to race well in the strong stuff and we’ve been really pleased with our strong wind sailing this week.'
In spite of missing out on Olympic qualification to Ben Ainslie, Ed Wright still proved his mettle amongst a world class Finn fleet in Hyeres. He was in the bronze medal position heading into the penultimate day, but a fourth in the medal race, was enough to boost him into second place, behind the 2006 World Champion Jonas Hoegh-Christensen of Denmark.
'I was leading the race at one point today,' recalled the 30-year-old Wright, 'but I’m really happy with my result here. We’ve had a real mix of conditions this week, and I think that’s where I’m at my best when there’s a bit of everything thrown at you.'
Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson also boosted themselves into the podium positions, with a second place in the Yngling medal race handing them bronze. Gold went to Siren Sundby’s Norwegian crew, with Sally Barkow, Carrie Howe and Debbie Capozzi taking silver.
Dave Evans capped off his most successful regatta at senior level, with a fourth place for him and Simon Hiscocks in the 49er class. The 22-year-old Welshman joined forces with the double Olympic medallist for the first time in Hyeres, and is buoyant after their strong debut performance.
'It’s just the simple things that we need to improve upon. It’s the routines really, like starting, and those aren’t the sorts of things you get usually get right in your first time racing with someone.
'So I’m really pleased – and it’s my first time racing here in Hyeres as well.'
Laser sailor Paul Goodison and the 470 women’s pairing of Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark had strong finishes after disappointing starts to the event. The three-time European Champion Goodison won the medal race to see him end the event in fourth place, with training partner Nick Thompson in fifth, while Bassadone and Clark finished their final race in second place for an overall result of sixth.
Tornado sailors Leigh McMillan and Will Howden and 2.4mR sailor Helena Lucas narrowly missed out on the medals, and both end the regatta in fourth place.
'We’ve seen some extremes of weather at this event, from a demolition derby at the beginning of the week, to very light China-like conditions for the medal races today,' said RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park.
'Although the team was light in numbers here, we had a reasonable outcome. It would have been nice to have converted some of the four fourth places we had to some podium positions, but I’m happy that we’re on track and where we need to be in our China preparations.' 2008 French Olympic Sailing Week – Leading results
1.Nick Rogers-Joe Glanfield, GBR (39pts)
2. Sven Coster-Kalle Coster, NED (43pts)
3. Carl Evans-Peter Burling, NZL (56pts)
13. Nic Asher-Elliot Willis (73pts)
1. Siren Sundby-Lise Birgit Fredriksen-Alexandra Koefoed, NOR (44pts)
2. Sally Barkow-Carrie Howe-Debbie Capozzi, USA (51pts)
3. Sarah Ayton-Sarah Webb-Pippa Wilson, GBR (51pts)
1. Ai Kondo-Naoko Kamata, JPN (46pts)
2. Stephanie Rothweiler-Vivien Kussatz, GER (51pts)
3. Giulia Conti-Giovanna Micol, ITA, (62pts)
6. Christina Bassadone-Saskia Clark (84pts)
1. Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, DEN (42pts)
2. Ed Wright, GBR (45pts)
3. Gasper Vincec, SLO (46pts)
1. Darren Bundock-Glenn Ashby
2. Francesco Marcholini-Edoardo Bianchi, ITA (43pts)
3. Mitch Booth-Pim Nieuwenhuis, NED (48pts)
4. Leigh McMillan-Will Howden, (52pts)
1. Damien Seguin, FRA (11pts)
2. Heiko Kroeger, GER (20pts)
3. Thierry Schmitter, NED (20pts)
4. Helena Lucas (22pts)
6. Megan Pascoe (37pts)
1. Michael Leigh, CAN (40pts)
2. Andrew Murdoch, NZL (52pts)
3. Andreas Geritzer, AUT (64pts)
4. Paul Goodison (68pts)
5. Nick Thompson (71pts)
1. Iker Martinez-Xavier Fernandez, ESP (50pts)
2. Tim Wadlow-Chris Rast, USA (50pts)
3. Frederico Alonso-Arturo Alonson (58pts)
4. Dave Evans-Simon Hiscocks (68pts)