Bruno JOURDREN, Herve LARHANT and Nicolas VIMONT-VICARY lead the Sonar series at the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition following the completion of two races on the first day of sailing.
Bruno JOURDREN, a professional skipper, is sailing in his first Paralympics, because 'it’s a new challenge, a new game,' as he said prior to the regatta. His thoughts on his first day of racing: 'I’m very happy about today’s overall results. However, it’s only Monday [the first day of the regatta], not Saturday [the last day of the regatta], so we have a long way to go.'
Vasileios CHRISTOFOROU, Theodoras ALEXAS and Nikolaos PATERAKIS (GRE) are in second with a 2, 5 for the day. The experienced Norwegians Jostein STORDAHL, Per Eugen KRISTIANSEN and Aleksxander WANG-HANSEN are in third with a 6, 2 for the day.
The warning gun for race 1 of the 2008 Paralympic Regatta for the Sonar fleet sounded at 14:15.
The 14-boat fleet sailed their first beat in flat water and a 5-7 knot southeasterly that had freshly settled in. The opposing current gave more of a boost on port tack than on starboard tack.
Jens KROKER, Siegmund MAINKA and Tobias SCHUTZ (GER) had a lead and a loose cover on the fleet to its right and was the first to overstand the starboard tack layline, giving Rick DOERR, Tim ANGLE and Bill DONOHUE (USA), who approached form the left, the opportunity to sneak ahead of JOURDREN, Jerve LARHANT and Nicolas VIMONT-VICARY, who had a better approach from the right than did the Germans.
DOERR, ANGLE and DONOHUE, JOURDREN, LAHRANT and VIMONT-VICARY and CHRISTOFOROU, ALEXAS and PATERAKIS bore away while the rest of the fleet gybe-set and got swept sideways toward the starboard tack layline to the windward mark. Dror CHOHEN, Arnon EFRATI and Benny VEXLER (ISR), who rounded second to last, were not to be fooled and bore away in a move that pulled them into fourth place in no time. It was a move that VEXLER described as, 'unbelievable.'
At the bottom gate, DOERR, ANGLE and DONOHUE, JOURDREN, LAHRANT and VIMONT-VICARY and CHRISTOFOROU, ALEXAS and PATERAKIS rounded the left gate. JOURDREN, LAHRANT and VIMONT-VICARY tacked immediately. Their large lead enabled them to occasionally look back at the rest of the fleet while they sailed their own race.
DOERR, ANGLE and DONOHUE demonstrated they understood the current the best and pulled ahead of CHRISTOFOROU, ALEXAS and PATERAKIS.
JOURDREN, LAHRANT and VIMONT-VICARY found themselves in a duel with COHEN, EFRATI and VEXLER. Everyone did a bear away set at the second windward mark.. DOERR, ANGLE and DONOHUE, the 2007 IFDS World Champions protected their position down the run and won USA’s first race of the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition.
CHRISTOFOROU, ALEXAS and DONOHUE were second. COHEN, EFRATI and VEXLER pulled ahead of JOURDREN, LAHRANT and VIMONT-VICARY to finish third.
By 15:40 the wind had picked up to 9-11 knots and the current was ripping, so there were some nice square waves to steer through up the beats and surf during the runs. The combination of the wind backing to the left and the current put a crowd toward the pin end of the starting line.
John ROBERTSON, Stephen THOMAS and Hannh STODEL (GBR) and KROKER, PREM and MAINKA were over early. The Germans recovered quickly, but the British team trailed the fleet by quite a bit.
This time JOURDREN, LAHRANT and VIMONT-VICARY sailed the shortest distance to the first windward mark and led throughout most of the race.
STORDAHL, KRISTIANSEN and WANG-HANSEN pulled ahead of JOURDREN, LAHRANT AND VIMONT-VICARY by sailing higher and more toward the middle of the course on the final run.
The British team steadily sailed through the fleet and finished third. In contrast the Americans struggled after their opening race bullet to finish down in tenth place.
Behind the leading trio, the Israeli team of COHEN, EFRATI and VEXLER, the 2004 Paralympic gold medallists, are in fourth. Americans DOERR, ANGLE and DONOHUE are fifth with the British team of ROBERTSON, THOMAS and STODEL in sixth, tied on points with Australians Colin HARRISON, Russel BOADEN, and Graeme MARTIN and the German team of and KROKER, PREM and MAINKA. Just seven points cover the top eight crews.
Three races are scheduled for Tuesday 10 September.
ISAF Paralympic Games microsite - www.sailing.org/paralympics