April 22, 2012
Winners take all!
Today was a “winners take all” with breeze lovers making the most of the conditions by winning all races.
The first day of the Semaine Olympique Française, fourth event on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit, started in high gear with a strong South-Westerly and athletic racing conditions. A typical Hyères weather!
Today was a "winners take all" with breeze lovers making the most of the conditions by winning all races.
Julien Bontemps (FRA) excelled again in the breeze winning the day's two races after claiming the World title in the same windy conditions.
"It was good to win these races, especially when I was against Miarczynski in my group, who is very fast in the breeze. The conditions were similar as the Worlds with strong winds but the sea was very choppy and it made it hard!"
Toni Wilhelm (GER) sailed to similar standard and collects two bullets in his group. The Polish windsurfers are not far behind, Piotr Myska and Przemek Miarczynski place twice second in their respective group.
Li Ling (CHN) claimed the day with two victories in the women RS:X fleet. The SOF is the first SWC event this year for the Chinese. Moana Delle (GER) and Chaline Picon (FRA) takes second and third.
Sailors from Down Under enjoyed the conditions in the Lasers. World #1 and World Champion Tom Slingsby (AUS) made the most of the day taking the bullets in his group's two races while Andy Maloney (NZL) dominates his group with two wins. Andrew Murdoch (NZL) takes third position.
"Today was a good start to the event, it was very windy and very wild out there and I managed to get two wins so I'm pretty happy with that but there's plenty of racing to go," said Slingsby. "I started race one well and led coming into the bottom mark but actually capsized, I came up in about fourth position and had really good speed up the next upwind and was able to pull back the lead.
In race two I lead from start to finish, I played it a bit more conservatively this time as I didn't want to capsize again and went on to win," he said.
Croatian Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic raced to perfection winning to races and the lead in the 470 men. Other races went to the Coster brothers (NED) and Charbonnier/Mion (FRA).
"It was all about the speed and we had great speed today. Obviously we made good use of the four days spent here before the event, we practised in the strong winds here and it paid off." explained the Croatians.
After placing second on race one, World leaders Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) broke their rig while leading the second race by 200 meters. The Australians managed to finish in 25th place.
In the women's division, Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) and Japanese Ai Kondo with Wakako Tabata (JAP) are sharing the lead with a win and a second place.
In the Laser radial, the day belonged to Alison Young, the athletic British sailor gave it all winning both races in her group: "The racing got pretty full on today with the breeze kicking up - it made the downwinds good fun and made for a good old hike off upwind, but the last three days of training we've had out here have given us a good bit of breeze to get for this week so the preparation has gone well."
Krystal Weir (AUS) and Charlotte Dobson (GBR) won a race each to place in second and third position.
In the Finn, young Estonian Deniss Karpak (EST) showed his form in the breeze taking both races and the lead over Athens Silver medallist Rafa Trujillo (ESP) and Laser Olympic medallist Vasilij Zbogar (SLO).
Only one race was sailed for the Yellow group in the 49er. Starting the race with 18 knots, the 49ers saw problems to finish the race when the wind increased to 28 knots and the water transformed to a steep chop. Only 11 boats finished the race with young French team of Julien D'Ortoli, Noe Delpech (FRA) ahead. "We had a good start and despite capsizing before the top mark , we passed second, we took the lead on the downwind, we were fast with the spinnaker. We tried to control as much as we could and when we passed the line realised that behind us nearly everybody was swimming."
Megan Pascoe (GBR) and Helena Lucas (GBR) got the top two places in the only race completed in the 2.4mR. Damien Seguin (FRA) placed third while Thierry Schmitter (NED) lost an early lead when his boat filled with water on the last downwind leg. He is among eight boat not to finish the race.
"It was a really solid start and it's nice to have a windy Hyeres again as it's been a while!
Both me and Helena were going really, really well today - I had the pace upwind, she had the pace downwind but we both had the pace over the whole fleet, so something is going right in training! It does show that the trials are working and I think we'll get the best boat to the Games at the end of it." explained Megan Pascoe.
In the Skudd, Australians Daniel FITZGIBBON and Liesl TESCH won the day's race.
Only three flights were completed in the Women Match-Racing with the Americans Tunnicliffe and Barkow winning all their games. The lost matches will be added to tomorrow's programme starting at 9.30am.
Three races will be scheduled for all classes on Monday with four for the 49er Blue group who will start at 10am.
April 23, 2012
Sailing round the clock!
It was a long day on the water for the sailors engaged in the 44th Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères. In order to catch up with the racing schedule, after yesterday's cancelled races, sailing started early and finished late in the afternoon.
Double 470 World Champions Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) are back in top form and are enjoying the breeze in Hyères. The pair has built up a solid lead 13 points ahead of Japanese Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata. Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan (USA) are in third.
“This is an important event for us.” explain the Dutch pair, “We need to show form to the Dutch Olympic committee. So we want to get that out of the way. That would be great. But it is also very nice to sail in the breeze again and see how we go with that. But our speed is good, we are very happy with that. And we are working on some processes and things are coming together now. That is always easier with wind than with light airs. Today we sailed a 1 and 2 and yesterday a 2 and 1. So that is great. Today was not so easy as yesterday. More shifts less wind. But we discussed the opportunities on board and got the most out of them.”
The results are getting tighter in the 470 Men. The Greeks, Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis, are taking a narrow lead over Zandona/Zucchetti (ITA) and and the Coster brothers (NED). In fourth position, Pierre Leboucher is sailing with his coach Nicolas Leberre, after Vincent Garos injured his foot last week. The new team is placing fourth! After braking their mast yesterday, the World #1 Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page are back on track and claim both races to climb to tenth.
Australians and New Zealanders are still leading the standings in the Lasers. Only three points separate the top six with Andy Maloney and Tom Slingsby hanging on to top two places. Tom Burton (AUS), Philipp Buhl (GER), Andrew Murdoch (NZL) and Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) are getting close to the leaders after winning races today.
Alison Young (GBR) conserves her lead in the Laser Radial after scoring a first and second. Only a point behind, Krystal Weir (AUS), and World #1 Evi van Acker (BEL) place second and third with identical results.
Deniss Karpak (EST) increases his lead in the Finn class after adding another victory and a second place to his score. Rafa Trujillo (ESP) keeps second while a victory in the first race places Dan Slater (NZL) in third.
The Polish dominate the RS:X competition in the men and women division.
World #1 Piotr Myszka (POL) takes the lead from Julien Bontemps (FRA) after taking two bullets in the RS:X men races. Toni Wilhem (GER) protects his second place with Bontemps in third.
“I am really fast in these conditions.” explain Myszka, “I know I needed a good start. I planned it well and got to third at the top mark. I caught up downwind and was in a good position to control the fleet.” The Pole is keen to retain his SOF title won last year.
Maja Dziarnowska (POL) claims the day's two races and the lead in the women's. Moana Delle (GER) is second and Olga Maslivets (UKR) third.
It was a busy day on the 49er course with seven races sailed among the two groups to catch up on yesterday's lost races. After taking Silver last year, French Julien D'Ortoli and Noe Delpech (FRA) take the lead after four races in the 49ers. Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) are second while World Champions are placing in third.
Damien Seguin (NED) has taken the lead after three more races sailed in the 2.4. Bjornar Erikstad (NOR) is second and Helena Lucas (GBR) third. She wins the first race with Dutch sailors Thierry Schmitter and Andre Rademaker taking the others.
It was a very long day on the water for the Star sailors. Three races were scheduled but the second took nearly three hours to complete. After many general recalls, race 2 was given but abandoned when the top mark started drifting. The Stars came back at 7pm. World #5, Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn(CAN) are in the lead with top three results. Olympic Champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) are in second place with Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (FRA) third.
After winning the first race, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) have retired from the event due to personal reasons.
It was a long day also for the Sonar who came out twice today to complete three races. Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont-Vicary et Eric Flageul (FRA), take the lead with Udo Hessels, Marcel Van de Veen and Mischa Rossen (NED) second and in third position Aleksander Wang Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg (NOR).
Triple World champions, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) are sharing the lead in the Skud with Miami OCR winners Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS). They claim two races each and place second in the others.
The Women match racers had by far the longest day out. Starting at 9.30am, the teams finished at 7pm their second day of round robins which will continue for the next two days. Results are tight at the top for Tunnicliffe (USA), MacGregor (GBR), Leroy (FRA) and Barkow (USA).
With a pessimistic weather forecast for tomorrow, racing will start as early as 9 am to try to secure at least a race in each class.
April 24, 2012
Early start for third day
The third day of the Semaine Olympique Française started early. With a pessimistic weather forecast predicting strong winds, the race committee had decided to start the day as early as possible to make the most of the sailable conditions.
At 8am, all the sailors were ready to hit the water for their races scheduled at 9am. With the end of the qualification ending tonight, priority was given to the classes sailing in groups.
Stars, Sonars and 49ers sailed only one race, while Finns, 2.4mR and Skud stayed ashore. All other classes were able to complete their two scheduled races.
With similar conditions as the first two days the results didn't change much.
Dutch sailors are making the most of the windy conditions in the 470 women with Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout conserving the lead with another race win. Japanese Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP) stay in second with Americans Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan third.
The Polish are still in command in the RS:X men and women with Piotr Myszka and Maja Dziarnowska winning more races to comfort their lead. The 22 years old women windsurfer summarised her first three days: “I am very tired but satisfied with my results. I have great speed in the breeze. I came to give my best but didn't expect to be leading the event.” Maja is Zofia Keplacka's training partner for the Olympic Games. “I am very fast in the breeze and I can help her be faster in these conditions.”
Olga Maslivets (UKR) and Charline Picon (FRA) are second and third overall.
In the men's Myszka (POL) leads World Champion Julien Bontemps (FRA) by one point.
The top three remain unchanged in the Star after one race won by Olympic champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR). They keep their second position with Canadians Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn in the lead and French Rohart/Ponsot third.
After one race early this morning in the Sonar, Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont-Vicary et Eric Flageul (FRA) are conserving their lead over, Aleksander Wang Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg (NOR). The race goes to John Robertson, Hannah Stodel ans Steve Thomas (GBR) who climb to third overall. “It’s been a while since we actually sailed in this kind of breeze” explains Hannah Strodel, “So it’s nice to come back and put the boat through its paces. We’ve brought the new boat here and are testing a few things, and I’m pleased to say it’s going well! The forecast is looking pretty cool actually – we’re one of the fittest crews in our fleet so this is certainly our game!”
It is very tight at the top of the Lasers classification. With the worse race excluded from the results, Philipp Buhl (GER) takes a narrow one point lead over the next four boats! After winning two races Murdock (NZL) places second on equal points with Slingsby (AUS), Stipanovic (CRO) and Burton (AUS).
The 49er managed to sail one race despite the strong breeze. After placing second, Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) take the lead from French Julien D'Ortoli and Noe Delpech who suffered in the breeze. After many capsizes, the early leaders didn't finish the race and are placed third overall. Many Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) win the race and take second overall.
World # 1 Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page have climbed from tenth to first. After discarding a 24th place from the race where they broke their mast, the Australians are only counting top three results. Croatians Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic are second with the Coster brothers (NED) third.
“It was pretty windy today, you know when they start you at 9am that you’re expecting a pretty scary forecast” said Belcher. “The race committee did a great job and we got two races in. We had a bit on but just tried to get around the course and keep it upright. We’re sailing really well and are happy with our form from Palma and to continue that here is great” he said. “We had a bit of a hiccup with the broken rig on day one but are sailing really well and are in a nice spot at this stage, we just have to work hard and keep it going.”
The Laser radials had a long day on the water. They were among the first to go out at 8am this morning to reach their racing area some 3 miles offshore, but when they reached their racing area, the wind had increased making sailing too dangerous. They came back to the shore and waited until the RS:X had finished their races to take their place in a calmer area.
Alison Young (GBR) had another great day placing 1 and 2 in the windy races.
“It was pretty breezy for the two races this afternoon, piping up as well all the way through. It was pretty shifty on that course area so some good racing. It definitely gets harder from here going into the gold fleet. There are four races and the medal race to go, so still a lot of racing. I just need to be consistent for the remaining races.”
Dutch sailors Marit Bouwmesteer (NED) and Claire Bom (NED) scored equal results (1-2) to get to third and six positions. Krystal Weir (AUS) maintain her earlier second position.
At the end of the day, all classes sailing in groups were able to complete their qualification stages. Tomorrow will be the first day of finals. The Women Match racing will conclude their round robins.
Sailing will start at 8.30 am for the Women Match racing and 11am for the other classes.
April 25, 2012
Light winds shuffles results!
Different skills were tested today with light and shifty winds on the race course. Few leaders could maintain their position while others collected high points.
Piotr Myszka (POL) is keeping his first position in the RS:X men with top five results, but the day's conditions suited better his team mate Lukaz Grodzicki (POL) who claims both races. Shahar Zubari (ISR) climbs to second with Toni Wilhem (GER) in third on equal points with Przemek Miarczynski (POL).
Tom Slingsby (AUS) proved once again he truly deserves his World #1 status. The Australian placed twice second in the light air, after top three scores in the breeze. He leads from German Philipp Buhl who scored mixed results with a 15th and a first. Andy Maloney (NZL) hangs on to third.
Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) are in top form after dominating the fleet in the breeze, they were able to pull out a good race to increase their lead while their direct opponent scored high points. “The level in this event is high and we knew that today would see some changes with the light wind. Despite a 15th in the first race we managed a good result in the second and keep our lead.” The Dutch are enjoying a solid lead over last year winners Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos (ESP) in second. French Camille Lecointre et Mathilde Géron climbed to third after a fourth and a first.
Despite mixed results scored by top ranked sailors, Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) are conserving the lead in the 470 over the Coster brothers and Mantis/Kagialis. With two second places, Portuguese Marinho Alvaro and Miguel Nunes (POR) climbed to fifth. Regatta victories were taken by the Japanese duo Harada/Yoshida and Swedish Joonas and Niklas Lindgren.
In the 2.4, Damien Seguin (FRA) scored two victories to increase his lead to11 points over Helena Lucas (GBR) and Thierry Schmitter (NED) on equal points.
For others, the day didn't prove easy and the lighter conditions penalised the early leaders.
For Maja Dziarnwska (POL) the day was not ideal, the young Pole suffered from the tricky conditions placing 15th and 20th in the RS:X women. She loses the lead to French Charline Picon (FRA) who raced to perfection with two victories. “It has been a while since I sailed in these pumping conditions. It was very physical.” explained Picon. “We expect waves and breeze tomorrow, it will be technical but it can suit me!”
After three races in the Star and two won by Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR), the British take the first position from Canadians Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn. The Swedish team of Loof/Salminen win the last race to place third overall.
“We had a mixed bag- I guess overall it was a good day.” explains Percy. “We won two races but we should have won three – we certainly had the speed to but it got very patchy and light in the last race and we just got a bit unlucky on the last run and a group of three boats got past us which made it a little but frustrating to end like that. Overall, the good news is we’re really fast upwind – we’re struggling a little downwind which is unusual for us but we’re really fast upwind and that's a nice place to be after a couple of years of not having that.”
Athens Silver medallist Rafa Trujillo (ESP) takes the lead in the Finn class with a first and a second place. Deniss Karpak (EST) suffered from the tricky conditions and drops to second overall in front of Vasilyi Zbogar (SLO) who wins the last race.
It is tight at the top of the 49ers. After a long day and four races sailed in the Gold group, World champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) are in first place with two races win. They are on equal points with French Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis while Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) lose two places to third. It is the first time in Hyères as a team for the Australians who are back into the competition after winning the ISAF Worlds in Perth.
The day delivered mixed results for the top girls in the Laser radial. ISAF World champion, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) gets to first place with Lijia Xu (CHN) in second. Earlier leader Alison Young (GBR) has found it tough today and scores high points to place third overall. The bullets go to World # 1 Evi van Acker (BEL) placed 5th and Tina Mihelic (CRO) 11th.
The results are getting close between the top three in the Sonar. The British John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas are taking the lead. Aleksander Wang Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg (NOR) win two races to place second. Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont-Vicary et Eric Flageul (FRA) are in third at only four points from the leaders.
It is a dual for the title in the Skud. Miami OCR winners Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS) are two points ahead Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR). They held a good lead over Americans Jennifer French and Jean-Paul Creignou.
The Women Match Racers had a long day trying to finish the round robins. At the end of the day and with some flights still to race, Anna Tunnicliffe and her team remain undefeated.
The Women Match Racers will be the first out to race at 8.30 am with the fleets starting earlier than scheduled at 10am.
The forecast is once again quite extreme for the fifth day of racing in Hyères with the Easterly bringing in big waves and strong winds.
April 26, 2012
Survival mode in Hyères
With another day of extreme conditions in the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, the sailors and racing committees have used this week lots of time and energy on the water. While some classes and especially the Women Match racing are behind schedule, other classes could enjoy a full programme dominated by breezy races. The famous Easterly wind has transformed overnight from calm sea into a carpet of rolling waves.
The 2012 SOF is a done deal for Dutch team of Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout. The double world champions have already won the event today with an impressive 26 points lead over Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Géron (FRA).
“We have sailed a really good series with a very solid performance. No ups and downs, resulting in the fact that we are leading with more than 20 points. That is a really nice feeling, we want to do that again this year,” Berkhout said with a big smile.
The French who have steadily climbed up the results throughout the week are playing in Hyères their last Olympic “observation” regatta. “We sailed well this week in the breeze, the hard day was yesterday in the lighter and shifty winds, it was important we sailed well and without risk. We did our best and are happy with a second place so far.”
The battle for Silver will be tight in tomorrow's medal race, with teams placed second to fifth within five points. The strong Japanese team of Ai Kondo ans Wakako Tabata and last year winners Pacheco/Betanzos (ESP) have won a race each and will be fierce opponents for the French in their quest for Silver.
Piotr Myszka (POL) is keeping his first position in the RS:X men but World Champion Julien Bontemps (FRA) is getting closer after claiming today's races. The podium is open for the top six.
In the women's division, Maja Dziarnwska (POL) is back at the top with a narrow two points lead over German Moana Delle and Charline Picon (FRA) another two points behind.
Tom Slingsby (AUS) takes another bullet to comfort his top place going into the Laser's medal race.
“It was sort of my conditions out there today,” said Slingsby. “I was a bit sluggish off the line but once I got into a bit of a groove I was going nice and fast and was able to sail away for a win.
Going into the medal race anyone can win, I can’t concentrate on just one boat but it was always going to be one of those series after everyone was having good scores,” he said. “I’m happy that I sailed really well and have one more to go to try and win it.”
Philipp Buhl (GER) remains second while Andrew Murdoch (NZL) replaces team mate Andy Maloney (NZL) in third. The Croatians have performed well in the difficult racing conditions this week with three boats in the top ten. However with medals within reach of the top six, only Tonci Stipanovic could have a chance to climb on the podium on Friday.
With two victories in today's races, Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) clearly enjoyed the wind and waves and are extending their lead to 18 points over European champions Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO). The Croatians trailed the Australians in both races to place second. “It was another challenging day, with strong wind and big waves, especially downwind was quite an undertaking not to capsize. We are very happy with our two second places, just behind the Aussie pair: it was quite a battle! We are looking forward to tomorrows medal race!”
The Coster brothers (NED) are placed third and have at the same time secured their NOC nomination for the Olympic Games.
The Star race was a survival operation with 13 boats retiring from the race. Among them, Olympic Champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR), broke their mast while in the lead. They are still leading the regatta with Swedish Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen climbing to second and Canadians Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn third. The race was won by the French team of Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot in fourth position.
Australian Brendan Casey won the only race sailed in the Finn. With average points awarded by the jury on yesterday races, the Australian gets to third position overall. “It was quite a long day as I had to replace the hull this morning then we launched, were sent back in due to the committee boat not being able to hold anchor and then eventually got one race in,” he said. “I was lucky that I had the opportunity to go out and tune up for the race that we didn’t have as I was able to come back in and make sure everything was sitting well. When we eventually got racing we had quite a strong breeze and big waves but it went really well and I came away with the win and am in a good spot heading into the medal race,” he said.
Rafa Trujillo (ESP) conserves the lead with Deniss Karpak (EST) second.
The extreme conditions kept the 49ers ashore today, however the leaders had changed this morning. Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis won their protest overnight against the New Zealand team of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke in race seven and take the lead from World champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) placed a point behind in second. Only the top four can get to the podium after tomorrow's medal race.
The top three remain unchanged in the Radial after two races sailed in the strong afternoon breeze and big waves. Marit Bouwmeester (NED) keeps her first place with race winners Lijia Xu (CHN) in second and Alison Young (GBR) third overall. The results are tight and the top seven can claim Gold in tomorrow's medal race.
French team of Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont-Vicary et Eric Flageul won the only race in the Sonar and take the second place overall. The British John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas are keeping the lead. “It was pretty epic. It was pretty much near my limit I think really just for the wave conditions- it was a pretty short steep sea wind driven. Big, steep, with breakers on top – it was pretty full on, but good fun though.” explain Robertson. Aleksander Wang Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg (NOR) are in third position.
There was no racing today for the 2.4 and the Skud. The paralympic classes can race up to three races on Friday, weather permitting!
The tough conditions prevented the Match racing to conclude the round robins and with seven flights remaining, the finals seem to be an unlikely option. The leading teams are Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) who remains undefeated, followed by Skudina (RUS) and Barkow (USA) with 79% victories. The round robins will resume Friday at 8.30am.
The forecast for the last day of racing in Hyères is for very strong winds that could compromise racing.