Brit Finn sailors to the fore
A strong day for Britain’s Finn sailors at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyeres today ended with Giles Scott and Andrew Mills in the top two positions with two days of racing to go.The big winds forecase never fully materialised as a shifty 14-15 knot breeze prevailed across the six race courses for the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events.
Giles Scott, winner of the Palma World Cup earlier this month, won the first race of the day to advance to the top of the leaderboard ahead of Dutchman Pieter Jan Postma, while in the second of the day’s two races it was 27-year-old Andrew Mills who claimed victory, with Scott second. Mistakes by close rivals Postma, Frenchman Jonathan Lobert and Slovenia’s Vasilij Zbogar, who were among 12 boats black-flagged at the start of the second race, aided the British improvement in the overall standings with Scott now five points ahead of Mills in second.
“A first and a second - I couldn’t really ask for much more than that,” said Scott of his efforts on Thursday. “There were a few of the guys who’d been up there all week got a black flag in that second race as well, which is helping us out a little bit but I’d imagine it’s still pretty tight up at the top. There’s still the double medal races to go as well as two more gold fleet races before that, so we’ll see. I’ll just try and take it steady like I did today.”
Video © SailCoach
British Sailing Team Finn coach Matt Howard was impressed with his charges: “Millsy’s race win at the end was great on the back of his first race. In both races he had great starts and in the first race he was a bit unfortunate with a wind shift. For him then to come and win the second race was really good. The other standout would be Giles who had a really solid day, and also with three of his main competitors on OCS’s and not competing in that race for him to really capitalise on their mistake with a good, solid counter in second was exactly what we needed.”
Postma, who led overnight has slipped to fourth overall, ten points behind Scott. "Giles is sailing steady and fast," said the Dutchman. "Downwind he has a got an edge. There were three OCS in the top five so that has influence. It's still all close but [Andrew] Mills and Giles have an edge now with a five point lead or so and it's all to play for tomorrow. I've struggled with my technique and my speed is a little bit off. I'm happy with my strategy and starts but I feel it's not come together yet. Later on in the season if it comes together with the starts and the strategy then I'll be really happy."
Following their double bullets yesterday, Team GBR's Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook sees them hold on to the yellow leader’s jerseys for a second day in the 49er FX. However following their 4,7,4 posting today they lead by one slender point ahead of Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) while Britain's Penny Clark and Sophie Ainsworth posted a race win today moving them into sixth.
Very much like the third day Spain's Carlos and Anton Paz had two good races at the front of the 49er fleet and one towards the rear. Discarding an 18th and taking a bullet and a third they move to the top of leaderboard, now one point ahead of Britain's Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign in second and four ahead of Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) winners in Palma. Team GBR's Stevie Morrison-Ben Rhodes hold fourth and Dave Evans-Ed Powys sixth.
In the Nacra 17 catamaran fleet experimentation is continuing to work out whether it is better to have a male or female helm. A formula that is working well is Switzerland's male helm, Matias Buhler and female crew Nathalie Brugger. They posted a 2-2-3 today to move into the lead. On what works best Brugger said, "The Dutch would say its girls crewing and maybe I understand why they thought that because it's quite physical, but a boy being a skipper is really good for the start because they are quite aggressive. It's hard to say which balance is right but I am happy with the boy skippering as he's doing an awesome job on the starts."
Buhler and Brugger bring very little multihull experience into their Nacra 17 campaign as Buhler previously campaigned a 470 and Brugger sailed Laser Radial at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Nonetheless they are working well and find themselves at the top, "For us it's a bit surprising as it's only our second regatta in this boat and we've both sailed Olympic boats before but not really catamaran experience and we're happy to be here," continues Brugger. "We just want to learn as much as we can in this boat and we still have to try things. If we get a podium we are happy but it was not the goal of this regatta."
Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) lie in second overall, while overnight leaders Tim Shuwalow and Hanna Klinga (SWE) have dropped to third. Britain's Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond improved to fourth overall with 4,8,4 on their scorecard today.
Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) continues to hold off the Brazilian charge in the Laser from both Bruno Fontes and the Olympic legend Robert Scheidt whilst a bullet for World #1 Laser sailor Tom Burton (AUS) has brought him into contention for the medals. Team GBR's Nick Thompson has his sights trained on a top ten medal race position, with 6,14 from his two races seeing him into 13th overall after a difficult start to the week.
Despite only stepping back into the Laser Radial for this event, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) has taken the overall lead in the Radial after a second and a bullet. She says she is simply enjoying her time back on the water: "I had a really fun battle with Alison [Young] and it was just a lot of fun being out there. I'm still a bit wild with everything, so I'm just focusing on myself and seeing if I can get back to the level I left at the Games."
Ali Young has moved up to second overall with a third and a second today, leaving her six adrift of Bouwmeester. “The breeze didn’t really come in quite as forecast, but I had two good races today with a third and second so I’m pretty pleased with that,” she said. “A lot of the Olympic girls have come back for this event, so it’s been good to see how everyone is stacking up. For me it would be good to keep the momentum going here, keep moving things on from Palma. We’ve got a lot of racing still to go with another day of the finals series and then two double-points medal races so we’ll have to see!”
Video © SailCoach
An eighth and a fourth by some team's standards would be a job well done on the water, but not for Women's 470 World #1 pair Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) who by their own admission struggled on the water. "Today was so difficult for us," said Oliveira. "We made some mistakes at the beginning of the first race and it took a long time to get better during the race so we finished eighth and fourth in the second.
"The wind was changing a lot, shifting and different from yesterday. Even if it was the same direction it was changing to the other side so it was a little bit hard to understand how everything was going."
Oliveira and Barbachan maintained their eight point lead as France's Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron moved up to second overall and the Brazilians remain focused on the task ahead, "Tomorrow we need two good races and let's see what happens," added Oliveira. "We need to think about the two races tomorrow and then we'll think about the Medal Races."
Britain's Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre lie in sixth overall.
Team GBR's Men will chalk today down to ‘experience’: A testing first race saw Luke Patience-Joe Glanfield and Nick Rogers-Elliot Willis finish 14th and 19th respectively before a boom breakage for Patience and Glanfield forced their retirement from the second race. Rogers and Willis were also disqualified for being OCS leaving them in 18th overall, with Patience and Glanfield in 11th.
Meanwhile at the front of the fleet, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) made it three wins from four races in the Final Series to open up a nine point lead over Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre (FRA).
Louis Giard (FRA) and Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) shared the spoils in the Men's RS:X with a bullet and a second each. Giard has a two point lead over the Polish London 2012 bronze medallist whilst Spain's Ivan Pastor is within touching distance in third.
Making it a top day of French RS:X racing was France's Charline Picon who fended off Bryony Shaw (GBR), now two points behind her. Blanca Manchon (ESP) moves into third.
Friday 26 April is the penultimate day of racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères as sailors fight for the top spots ahead of Saturday's Medal and Stadium Races.
Meanwhile in the Paralympic classes, medals will be decided on Friday. Germany’s Heiko Kroger almost has gold in the bag in the 2.4mR class, but the fight is on for the silver and bronze medal spots which are currently occupied by Britons Helena Lucas and Megan Pascoe. Two more fleet races are scheduled for tomorrow which will decide the final standings in the Paralympic one-person event, and also in the three-person Sonar event where Britain’s John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas are in fifth place at their first regatta back since the Games.
RS:X Women after 5 races
1 – Charline Picon (Palmyr Atlantic Voile): 4 pts
2 – Bryony Shaw (GBR): 6 pts
3 – Blanca Manchon (ESP): 12 pts
RS: X Men: after 5 races
1- Louis Giard (Yacht Club de Carnac): 6 pts
2- Przmlyslaw Miarczynski (POL) : 8 pts
3- Ivan Pastor (ESP) : 11 pts
Finn after 5 races
1 – Gilles Scott (GBR): 8 pts
2 – Andrew Mills (GBR): 13 pts
3 – Josh Junior (NZL): 18 pts
Laser Radial after 5 races
1 – Marit Bouwmeester (NED):7 pts
2 – Alison Young (GBR): 13 pts
3 – Tuula Tenkanen (FIN): 13 pts
Laser Standard after 5 races:
1 – Stipanovic Tonci (CRO): 7 pts
2 – Bruno Fontes (BRA): 15 pts
3 – Robert Scheidt (BRA): 16 pts
470 Women after 5 races:
1 – Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) : 10 pts
2 – Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Géron (SR Brest - Equipe de France militaire / CMVSB - Equipe de France militaire) : 18 pts
3- Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) : 20 pts
470 Men, after 5 races :
1 – Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) : 4 pts
2- Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre (ASPTT Nantes / FFVoile) : 13 pts
3 – Sofian Bouvet and Jéremie Mion (YC Antibes / SR Havre) : 18 pts
49er : after 7 races :
1 – Carlos Paz and Anton Paz (ESP) : 31 pts
2 – Dylan Fletcher and Sign Alain (GBR) : 32 pts
3- Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) : 35 pts
49er FX, after 7 races :
1 – Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook (GBR) : 15 pts
2 – Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL): 16 pts
3 - Martine Soffiatti and Kahena Kunze (BRA) : 21 pts
Nacra, after 7 races :
1 – Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI) : 20 pts
2 – Billy Besson and Marie Riou (SNO Nantes / USAM BREST) : 24 pts
3 – Tim Shuwalow and Hanna Klinga (SWE) : 29 pts
2.4 MR, after 8 races:
1 – Heiko Kroeger (GER): 8 pts
2 – Helena Lucas (GBR) : 21 pts
3 - Megan Pascoe (GBR) :23 pts
Sonar, after 8 races:
1- Alexander Wang-haansen, Marie Solberg and Kristiansen Per Eugen (NOR) : 13 pts
2- Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont Vicary and Eric Flageul (CN Carantec, PEC Voile Poitiers, YC Carnac) : 13 pts
3- Jens Kroker, Robert Prem and Siegmund Mainka (GER) : 18 pts