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Paris 2024 Olympic Test Event at Marseille, France - Day 4

by World Sailing 12 Jul 2023 14:18 PDT 9-16 July 2023

Gigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei enjoyed a perfect day in the Nacra 17 in tricky conditions at the Paris 2024 Test Event in Marseille.

The Italian pair recorded three bullets to jump into first place, while elsewhere Odile van Aanholt and Annette Duetz shone in the 49erFX for the Netherlands.

And after a day where conditions made life tricky for plenty of classes, not least the iQFOiL, who were restricted to a single race, excitement is building about the prospect of the Mistral conditions expected on Thursday.

Perfect day for Italian duo

Gigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei enjoyed their first perfect day at international level as the duo earned three bullets in the Nacra 17.

That was enough to open up a six-point lead at the top of the standings over Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer (GER), the overnight leaders.

Ugolini and Giubilei lead the way on 12 points from six heats, with Kohlhoff and Stuhlemmer level on points with Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson (NZL) in the chasing pack.

But while it was a perfect second day of action for the pair, they are well aware of how much work is still to be done.

Ugolini said: "This is the first time for us (winning every race in a day), we are quite happy but it's the second day and it's quite long until the end. It was a strange day, we waited a long time on shore. We were able to do all the races so we will rest tomorrow.

"The conditions were tricky, we started with 12 knots and then went to eight, six at the end. The wind went up and down so it was really tricky and nice to find a good set-up for the boat. We had a fast boat that gave us a chance to have a good day."

Dutch world champions on the charge

It was a strong day for the Dutch in the 49erFX as Odile van Aanholt and Annette Duetz won the second and third races of the day to move into first overall.

Those victories, after coming just 22nd in the opening race of the day, allowed the world champions to jump ahead of training partners Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler (SWE).

And on a day where not everything was easy, Van Aanholt and Duetz were delighted to bounce back from a sticky start.

Van Aanholt said: "It was a very interesting day, it was not straightforward and we didn't make it straightforward. But we are happy to end it with two very nice races."

The Dutch sit first on 14 points after six races, four points clear of the Swedes, who are level with Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea (USA), with Duetz aware that there are plenty of challengers for their title.

She said: "They are our training partners so we know they are fast. But we know we can be fast as well, so we are just trying to focus on ourselves. There are a lot of good boats so we are not only focusing on the Swedes."

Kiwis thrive in 49er lottery

The most unpredictable class of the competition so far has been the 49er, with six different winners in as many races.

Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie (NZL) took the final win of the second day of action and that was enough to move into top spot, ahead of Sébastien Schneiter and Arno De Planta (SUI) on countback, with the pair both on 27 points.

However, with the next four teams all sitting between 30 and 32 points, including third place for Mihovil and Sime Fantela (CRO), the 2018 world champions, the Kiwis are well aware of the precarious nature of their position heading into the rest day.

McHardie said: "It was a super tricky day, it was unbelievably shifty with big puffs and big lulls so it was all about getting off the start line, it was a bit of a left-hand track so you needed a good start and then go left, that made for an ok race.

"I'm sure there will always be a target on the back but we'll go out there and race our best. It's not a bad place to be coming into a rest day. It was always about coming here to do the best we can, so to come into a lay-day in first, we're pretty stoked."

French still on top in the kites

The standings in both the Formula Kite Men and Formula Kite Women are still dominated by home athletes, with Axel Mazella and Lauriane Nolot consolidating their positions.

Nolot picked up her sixth bullet of the competition, along with a third place in the opening race of the day, but saw her lead at the top trimmed by Ellie Aldridge (GBR), who earned two wins and a second place on a really strong day.

Nolot is still top on 11 points, with Aldridge five points back while world champion Daniela Moroz (USA) is lurking in third on 23.

Meanwhile, in the men's Mazella maintained his consistency with two third-place finishes, but like Nolot, is under pressure from a British challenger.

Connor Bainbridge won the first of the two races and now sits on 21 points, with Mazella on 13.2, although the Brit could only manage 12th in the second race, missing the chance to close the gap further.

Denis Taradin (CYP) and Maximilian Maeder (SGP) finished first and second respectively in the second race, and are the two best positioned to challenge the top two.

Windsurfers held up by the weather

The difficult conditions meant that only one race was possible for the iQFOiL women and men with the Chinese enjoying a great day.

Xianting Huang was victorious in the lone women's race, beating home favourite Lucie Belbeoch, and that was enough to move into second overall.

Emma Wilson (GBR) maintains a comfortable nine-point lead over Huang despite only finishing eighth, her worst result to date.

Meanwhile, Tokyo bronze medallist Bi Kun (CHN) took the only win in the men's, following a tough opening day, with Nicolo Renna (ITA) now up to top spot, leading overnight leader Nicolas Goyard (FRA) by a point.

No change at top of mixed 470

On a day which saw the mixed 470 crews start four times only to have come to terms with a couple of abandonments, the top of the leaderboard remained unchanged.

Spanish duo Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nora Brugman Cabot won the second of the completed races, while home pair Camille Lecointre and Jérémie Mion finished second in the opening race, won by Japan's Keiju Okada and Miho Yoshioka - to leave both teams on 28 points, 11 points clear of the rest of the field.

And while some might have been frustrated at not being able to complete every race, Xammar Hernandez enjoyed the opportunity to get a better feel for the conditions in Marseille.

He said: "We had two abandoned races but it meant that we had more races and got more knowledge of the venue which is what we are here for. Then we struggled in the first one, we made one mistake and it cost us a lot. And in the second one, we won."

For the French duo, it was a case of limiting the damage after a poor start in the second race, in which they finished sixth.

Lecointre said: "The conditions were crazy, there was crazy wind, it was very shifty. We're quite happy about the day because we came up during the race. We were at the back and we climbed slowly - so we limited the bad race. We are happy."

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