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Paris 2024 Olympic Test Event at Marseille, France - Day 1

by World Sailing 9 Jul 2023 13:50 PDT 9-16 July 2023

Marit Bouwmeester made a strong start in the ILCA 6 while Michael Beckett and Finn Lynch hit the early ILCA 7 summit as the Olympic Test Event got under way in Marseille.

The first two races in both classes took place amid testing conditions on Sunday, as they did in the Mixed 470, which saw Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nora Brugman Cabot back up a runners-up spot in the opener with victory to sit top of the early standings.

Just one race was possible in the Formula Kite Men's competition, won by Axel Mazella on home waters, with the remaining two, along with the scheduled Formula Kite Women's races, postponed.

Tight start to ILCA 7 proceedings

Just one point separates the top four in the star-studded ILCA 7 field after two hotly-contested opening races.

Reigning Olympic champion Matt Wearn (AUS) made a perfect start to the Test Event by winning the first of those, ahead of Michael Beckett (GBR) and Finn Lynch (IRE).

Lynch then finished fourth in the second, with Beckett in fifth, to take both to seven points - one clear of Wearn and Portugal's Eduardo Marques, who recorded finishes of fifth and third.

Beckett said: "It was pretty interesting. There was a big range of breeze, from two or three knots up to 15, so it was a high stakes game. You were almost gambling your way around the course like a poker game.

"I'm happy with my results and looking forward to tomorrow. It's interesting doing this format, one person per country, which I've not done before. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can."

There follows an eight-point gap to Norway's Hermann Tomasgaard, with world champion Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) a further three back.

The second race of the day was won by Emil Bengtson, the Swede bouncing back from a 34th-place finish first time around to move back into contention.

He led home Pavlos Kontides (CYP), last year's World Championship silver medallist, sitting eighth overall after the first day of action.

Bouwmeester rewarded for early consistency

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) has medals of each colour from her three previous Olympic appearances and will be seeking to add more to her collection next summer.

Two second-place finishes represented a strong start to the Test Event and opened up an early six-point lead for the Dutch star from World Championship silver medallist Maud Jayet (SUI).

"It was a challenging day for everyone, so I am happy with a solid day," Bouwmeester said.

"I just tried to do the best I could and stay sharp. You never know in these conditions, maybe I was lucky, maybe I wasn't, but I'll take it."

Jayet added: "It was tricky, it was gusty, and it was easy to have a bad race. You had to look out for where the next pressure was coming.

"I'm happy I had a good day to start. I was pretty conservative on the first beat and once I was ahead, I tried to stay with the group I was with and not do anything crazy.

"It worked out and hopefully it will be a good next few days. It could be a high-point regatta if conditions stay like this."

Chiara Benini Floriani (ITA) sits third after taking victory in the opener, following up with 10th to leave her a point clear of Agata Barwinska (POL).

Emma Plasschaert climbed to fifth by winning Sunday's second race, with the Belgian and Line Flem Hoest (NOR) each two points clear of Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN), the reigning Olympic and world champion finishing seventh and 12th on day one.

Spanish stars lay down early marker

Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nora Brugman Cabot (ESP) were quickest to adapt in the Mixed 470, a new class for Paris 2024.

Consecutive finishes inside the top two, including a win in the second race, will see them head into Monday's races with a four-point advantage over Stu McNay and Lara Dallman-Weiss (USA), who were victorious in the opener.

Anton Dahlberg and Lovisa Karlsson's new partnership got off to a promising start, the Swedish pair finishing third in the second race to sit on 11 points overall, two clear of Yves Mermod and Maja Siegenthaler (SUI), and Germany's Malte and Anastaysia Winkel.

Mazella makes ideal start

Axel Mazella is doing his best not to think about Olympic qualification but the local kitesurfing star could not have made a better start to the Test Event.

The Frenchman, who grew up in Hyères, an hour up the coast from Marseille, made the most of home comforts to take victory in the only Formula Kite Men race to take place on Sunday.

Connor Bainbridge (GBR) was second, with Monaco's Alexander Ehlen in third. Reigning world champion Toni Vodisek was eighth and Singapore's rising star, 16-year-old Maximilian Maeder, came home 12th.

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