Stormy weather

Skandia Team GBR's Lindsey Bell reports from a windy Hyeres Olympic Regatta

Tuesday April 22nd 2008, Author: Lindsey Bell, Location: United Kingdom
British sailors remain in five podium positions at the French Olympic Sailing Week on Tuesday (22 April), after the third days’ racing was abandoned due to strong winds sweeping across Hyeres.

The 470 men’s fleet, currently led by Skandia Team GBR’s Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield, did manage to get a race underway in the 25-30 knot conditions.  The Athens silver medallists were leading the pack when the race was called off, leaving them with the yellow series leaders’ dots on their sails for another day.

Laser sailor Nick Thompson and the Sonar crew of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas also top the leaderboards in their respective fleets, while Helena Lucas sits in bronze medal position in the 2.4mR Paralympic class, with Megan Pascoe in fourth.

The new 49er pairing of Dave Evans and Simon Hiscocks are also in bronze medal position, heading into the final series tomorrow.

The double Olympic medallist Hiscocks, who turns 35 next month, is pleased with their debut outing:  “Our results have been encouraging,” he explained.  “It’d be nice to stay in and around the medals but it’s a big ask so we’re not getting too excited just yet. 

“We’ve got the final series coming up now where we’ll be up against the more established teams, so things will get tighter.  But we’re looking forward to it, and just need to keep the consistency that we’ve had over the past couple of days.”

The 22-year-old Welshman Evans says that sailing with the double Olympic medallist has been a good experience.  “Our boat’s stayed in one piece for a start, which has been encouraging in these conditions!  Probably the main thing I’ve learned from sailing with Simon has been the things you need to focus on, and the things you don’t – what bits of kit you need to make that extra bit of effort with to make the difference.”

Hiscocks and former helmsman Chris Draper missed out on selection for the Beijing 2008 Games to Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, but Skandia Team GBR were eager to harness Hiscocks’ experience.  He explained:  “I was at a loose end, and chatting with some of the coaches about how I might be able to help out.  We talked about me trying with some of the other guys in the squad, to help share some knowledge, but also from my own point of view, to see whether I had the motivation to continue with 49er sailing looking ahead to 2012.

“I sailed with John Pink in Palma, and Dave and I are sailing together here and in Holland next month – beyond that I don’t really know.   We’re looking at the options, and also whether I’m motivated and physically capable enough to aim for the Games in 2012.

“There’s a lot of potential to move the British 49er squad on to have some very strong teams leading up to 2012, so it’s a good thing to have that knowledge sharing.  You can learn lots from working with different people.”

Elsewhere in the Hyeres results tables, Tornado sailors Leigh McMillan and Will Howden are poised in fourth place, as are Yngling World and European Champions Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson.  Ed Wright is seventh in the Finn fleet, and Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark are in twelfth place in the 470 women’s event.

Racing is expected to resume in Hyeres tomorrow, with conditions set to improve for the remainder of the week.  The French Olympic Sailing Week concludes on Friday 25 April.

Results are available here .

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