Another tough day at the Semaine Olympique

Second day of fickle sea breeze conditions challenge competitors in Hyeres

Monday April 26th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Light conditions prevailed again for day two of racing at the Semaine Olympique Francais de Voile at Hyères, forcing the sailors to wait ashore for a flimsy sea breeze to build that rarely exceeded 4-5 knots. Eventually racing got underway at 1400 for most classes while for the Women’s Match Racing was able to start in order to complete their first round robin.

The light conditions favoured some of the younger and lighter sailors. In the Laser, Philipp Buhl (GER), 20, won today’s only race. Vice European Youth Laser champion in 2008, Buhl is now second overall, one point behind Evangelos Chimonas (GRE), who has scored two second places in the 150-strong Laser fleet. Olympic World and European Champion Paul Goodison picked up a third sitting him in fourth place overall.

In the Laser Radial, 22 year old Lithuanian Ausra Mileviciute leads the fleet after two races today with her teammate and Beijing silver medallist Gintare Scheidt in fourth, with Spanish sailors Susana Romeo and Patricia Coro placed second and third respectively, all three on eight points. Charlotte Dobson showed promising signs with a win in her second race of the day and currently holds sixth overall.

2009 Junior European champion Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) seems to be relishing the light conditions in the Finn, where he finished second today behind Beijing Silver medallist American Zach Railey and ahead of other big names such as Slovenian Gasper Vincec and Britain’s Ed Wright.
Railey commented: “Conditions were challenging today, along with the postponement and late start. The wind was very up and down and very shifty so just had to really play what you had around your part of the race course.”

Light wind means hard work on board the RS:X, where experienced sailors hold the lead with Piotr Myska (POL) claiming both races in the men’s division, where World Champion Nick Dempsey is third overall behind Israel’s Nimrod Mashiah.

However Beijing bronze medallist Bryony Shaw leads the women’s sailboarders. The 26 year old Brit was involved in a tough battle with her Spanish training partner Marina Alabau all around the race track. The highly rated Alabau crossed the finish line ahead of Shaw in both races, but was disqualified from the second for a black flag infringement, thereby handing victory and the yellow leaders’ jersey to Shaw.

“It was good to get racing today,” Shaw explained. “The wind was so fickle we had a number of general recalls and there was a lot of waiting around, but we did get in a couple of fair races, even if they were a hellish pump-off in such light winds!

“I had some good battles with Marina, I was right on her the whole time and we were fronting up the fleet. It was hard work today, both physical and tactical, but it’s great to be up there.”

Behind Shaw are French windsurfers Charline Picon and Pauline Perrin.

The Brits also did well in the Star class today, where the single race was won by John Grimson and Ed Greig, although Croatia’s Mate Arapov and Ante Sitic lead, yesterday’s winner Xavier Rohart and Pierre Alex Ponsot finishing last today.

The 49ers sailing in groups didn’t complete the same number of races and overall results are not available. Howver Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith are currently top British boat with 3,4 from their two yellow fleet races.

“We were all fired up and nowhere to go yesterday,” Brotherton explained, “so it was good to get out on the water today and with it being light and fluffy like it was, our priority was to not be too adventurous and just try and sail with the other boats, tack when they did.

“We’re not slow in those conditions so we tried to use that to get us a couple of decent results which is what happened. We got a couple of breaks as well as it happened, so we had a good day but even it hadn’t have gone our way it still would’ve been an OK day which is all you can really aim for when it’s like that.”

Two of the three groups in the Women’s Match Racing have completed their round robin where American Anna Tunnicliffe and France’s Claire Le Berre won their respective groups.

Afer a disappointing regatta at Priness Sofia, Tunnicliffe in particular seems to have righted some wrongs and was unbeaten in her group, including the ever powerful Claire Leroy. Tunnicliffe commented: “I think we just kept things simple, stayed cool under pressure and had very good team work communication. It was a very long day of waiting, so we tried staying focused throughout the day until we got into the boats to sail. Tomorrow, we will start the Gold round robin, so we will have a chance to race the top seeds. We are looking forward to it.”

World no1 ranked Brits Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Ally Martin finished second to Le Berre, but will move on to the gold group round robin. In the final group Katie Spithill leads undefeated in four flights.

Local hero Nicolas Charbonnier and Baptiste Meyer Dieu are ahead of Greece’s Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis in the 470 Men where Skandia Team GBR sailors have yet to make an impression – Jonny McGovern and Christian Birrell, the top boat in lowly 12th.

In the Women’s 470 just one race has been held, won by Israel’s Gil Cohen and Dana Mamriav ahead of New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie and Germany’s Victoria Jurczok and Josephine Bach. Top Brits are another surprise – Hannah Mills and Claire Cumming, who hold 7th.

In the 2.4m, double Paralympic medallist, Damien Seguin leads on equal points with Helena Lucas and British team mate Megan Pascoe is third. The Norwegian trio led by Aleksander Wang-Hansen are on equal points with Marcel Van de Veen’s Dutch crew in the Sonar.

Full results here



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