Slow start to Hyeres
Thanks to the quick work of the race committee, 35 races were sailed in the women’s match racing.
In the first group, Claire Leroy’s team won their races against Trine Abrahamsen (DEN) and Mandy Mulder (NED). Other teams on a 100% win rate are Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and Ekaterina Skudina (RUS). The Russians didn’t make it past the round robin stage at both Rolex Miami OCR and Trofeo Sofia Mapfre in Palma, but appear to have turned their fortunes around today scoring three straight wins in their group today.
In group B, three teams lead on three wins apiece: Lucy MacGregor (GBR), Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) and Genevieve Tulloch (USA), while in the final group, Katie Spithill (AUS) and Samantha Osborne (NZL) top the field each with four victories. Lucy MacGregor, who is back in the top spot in the ISAF women’s match racing ranking, today claimed the scalps of Skandia Team GBR teammates Katie Archer, Lauren Martel and Nicky Muller, followed by Sofia Brander’s Swedish team and France’s Anne Le Helley.
In Hyeres for the women’s match racing, they have eight Elliott 6s, the combined fleets of the French and Spanish federations.
“We received lots of entries for this new event, but could only accept 24,” explained Event Manager, Bernard Bonneau. “Unfortunately, two Chinese teams couldn’t come because of flight problems.”
After a second day of round robins tomorrow, the top two teams will go straight into quarter finals.
The Stars also managed to get a race in today with French ace and 2003/5 World Champion Xavier Rohart (above) who claimed victory, despite sailing with his new crew – Pierre-Alexis Ponsot having taken over from Pascal Rambeau, who has jumped Star campaigns, now sailing with French former Finn sailor and Beijing bronze medallist, Guillaume Florent.
Another new addition to the Star class is Fernando Echavari, who after bringing gold home to Spain in the Tornado from the Beijing Games and then skippering Telefonica Black in the Volvo Ocean Race, has now joined forces with Fernando Rodriguez. His Tornado crew Anton Paz has gone 49ering with his brother.
“After a combined campaign in both the Tornado and the Volvo, I needed a break,” said Echavarri. “I wanted to race in the Star. It is very technical and I like that. It is a real challenge. We are based in Santander and train near by at the National centre. The Worlds in Brazil were our first regatta and we wanted just to see and learn. We started to train seriously last month with new coach Tytus Konarzewski . Hyères is only our second regatta.”
In the Laser only two groups managed to get a race in and these were won by Andreas Geritzer (AUT) and Josh Junior (NZL). Skandia Team GBR’s Paul Goodison finished third in the testing conditions, despite picking up a yellow flag penalty.
In the 2.4m, British results were better with Helena Lucas taking the bullet. “I got a good start and I was pretty pleased with my upwind speed,” the 34-year-old explained. “I had a good lead at the windward mark, although we did get mixed up with the Stars and Sonars who are also on our course on the downwind leg so I was getting a good bit of dirty air from them to slow me down.
“That made a bit of a dent in my lead but I managed to still hold on. It was a tricky day, but a good start to the regatta and hopefully more to come!”
Megan Pascoe finished third, just behind local hope Damien Seguin. In the only other racing today, the British Sonar and Star crews fared less well, with John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas picking up a sixth in the sole race of the nine-boat Paralympic Sonar fleet, where France's Bruno Jourdren came out on top.
Sadly the same conditions are forecast for tomorrow.
Full results here