Monthly Archives: April 2015

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Another foiling catamaran circuit planned for 2016

 

FWC cat

Photo © Foiling World Cup

 

 

Foiling World Cup

 

 

Another foiling multihull series is planned for launch off in 2016 with some bold claims.

Close action, engrossing battles, slick commentary, short races, legendary skippers, wild rookies and all starting exactly on time. Sailed in innovative double trapeze foiling multihulls!

The Foiling World Cup plans short course racing, close to spectators and media in sailing arenas around the globe.

The events hope to breath fresh life into city lakes and port regions and create a festive atmosphere around the sailing arenas.

 

Foiling World Cup

 

The new full carbon formula foiling multihulls (20 footers) will have a ‘box rule’ to allow innovation and cost control. Every boat builder is welcome to join the race with his own design.

Events are planed in Europe, America, Asia, Middle East. One lap around the globe. The best male and female sailors in the world will be invited to compete,  open entry!

The circuit will have new racing rules written by the International Foilracing Association (IFA). These rules are specially designed for highspeed foiling and simular to land and ice sailing rules also influenced by F1 Motorsport.

 

More information at www.foilingworldcup.com

 

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Americas Cup organisers stumble along with a series of announcements 

 

AC 2017 venue 4

AC35 venue in Bermuda

 

Cup Qualifier shift to Bermuda announced at Competitors Meeting

 

 

In a statement published on the America’s Cup website in April it was reported that the America’s Cup competitors have agreed the format for racing in 2017 with all racing taking place on the waters of the Great Sound in Bermuda, the home of the 2017 America’s Cup.

All teams will compete in a double round robin format for the America’s Cup Qualifiers, which will be sailed in the new America’s Cup Class foiling catamaran.

The top four challengers from the Qualifiers will advance to the Challenger Playoffs that consist of a match racing semi-final and finals. The winner of the Playoffs will meet the defending champion, Oracle Team USA, in the America’s Cup Match.

Racing will take place in June, 2017. A detailed race calendar will be determined by the Commercial Commissioner in consultation with the competitors and Regatta Director and published in due course’, the statement concluded.

Not mentioned was how America’s Cup Events Authority, the commercial and marketing arm of Defender Golden Gate Yacht Club could overturn their previously published decision on February 15, 2015 that the Qualifier phase of the Regatta would be held in Auckland, New Zealand.

Emirates Team New Zealand has publicly challenged the decision via their statement on facebook.

 

 

Dean Barker

Dean Barker rumoured to be back in action at the next Americas Cup

 

Japan to announce America’s Cup bid

 

 

The long-heralded announcement that Japan is to challenge again for the America’s Cup is expected finally to be made at the beginning of May and will see not only a Japanese skipper but the appearance of former Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker in the lineup.

Barker was controversially dumped as helmsman by Team New Zealand who have placed their faith in Australian Glenn Ashby and rising Kiwi talent Peter Burling to take the wheel. Barker’s experience in the foiling catamarans and 20 years in the America’s Cup game would be a huge boost to any new syndicate.

With several one-design elements featuring on the new 48-foot catamarans, a lot of the technology advantages have been evened out, bringing the racing more into the hands of the sailors.

The team will be sponsored by Softbank for the Kansai Yacht Club and is expected, like the French team, to be offered some support by the cup holder and defender Oracle, which represents the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

It is expected that Oracle boss Larry Ellison and his sailing team boss Sir Russell Coutts will attend the signing ceremony along with Masoyashi San. Coutts, the America’s Cup Event Authority boss, suggested the current lineup of five teams, including Team New Zealand, were set to be boosted by late entries.

It is not known whether the late entry will compete at the warm-up regatta being staged in Portsmouth in May and organized by an associate company of the British challenger, Sir Ben Ainslie’s BAR.

The June regatta in Cagliari, Sardinia, has been cancelled after Prada boss Patrizio Bertelli withdrew his Luna Rossa challenge in protest at midstream changes to the rules for the next cup, due to be staged in Bermuda in 2017.

Team New Zealand, which recently had a publicly messy parting of the ways with Barker, is still expected to race in Portsmouth but, it seems, without the financial support of the Kiwi government. Its future remains precarious and, despite the French being offered by Coutts a design package of what will be a smaller, 48-foot foiling catamaran, French skipper Franck Gammas has yet to announce full funding. He is competing at the opening ISAF World Cup event in Hyeres as part of his Olympic bid.

Japan have contested three America’s Cups, in 1992, 1995 and 2000, with strong New Zealand connections. Kiwi Chris Dickson skippered their 1992 challenge in San Diego where they reached the semifinals of the Louis Vuitton Cup. At the 1995 regatta in San Diego, New Zealander John Cutler was at the helm of the Japanese challenge that also ended at the semifinal stage.

 

Regatta Director Iain Murray

 

 

Iain Murray says sailing to outweigh technology In 2017

 

 

Murray believes the rapid evolution in foiling will add to the [America’s Cup] competition.

The controversial move to make the boats smaller and include several one-design components will also put more reliance on sailing abilities.

“Leading into the last America’s Cup, there were so many major changes and collectively we learned so much about how to design, build and race these foiling multihulls,” Murray, who held the same role in San Francisco in 2013, said.

“Now we have the chance to fine-tune and make adjustments to make it even better.

“You will see the competition come down more to the players than just the technology – and that’s a good thing.

“The last time was really the first time the crews were racing flying boats.

“But this time around I think the acceptance of flying boats, whether it be in the little Moths or the bigger America’s Cup cats, the understanding of the technology and the development of the boats and skills of the crews will really take it to a higher level of close competition.

www.stuff.co.nz/sport/

 

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Fleet crosses the Equator for final time

 

L6 AD 27 Apr mk

Photo © Matt Knighton / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

 

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 6 – Itajai to Newport

 

Big routing decision facing navigators

The Volvo Ocean Race finally headed for the ‘homeward’ stretch after crossing the Equator for the fourth and final time on Tuesday – but there was no room to celebrate with a major decision facing all the boats in the next 24 hours.

The fleet still has a long way to go before the race reaches its climax in the final week of June in Gothenburg, Sweden, having set out on the 38,739-nautical mile (nm), nine-month marathon back in Alicante, Spain, on October 11.

But it has made its farewells to the Southern Hemisphere for the final time in this edition, with all six boats tightly bunched as they entered the north Atlantic with just under 3,000nm still to race in Leg 6 before arriving in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, around May 7.

Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) held a narrow lead of 4.1nm from Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) and MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) with overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) and Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) still very much in contention.

The fleet is heading for an area of light winds before entering what official race meteorologist, Gonzalo Infante (ESP), described as a ‘cone of possibilities and decisions’.

Each skipper and his navigator will need to decide whether east or west – or something in between – is the best direction and stick to that course. “It’s like arriving at a junction and having a variety of decisions about which road to take,” Infante explained.

“After they take an option, that route will not intersect with the others until they reach Newport. Mind you, it could be that they all take the same route.”

Meanwhile, several sailors were taking stock of passing the Equator and, effectively, completing a navigation of the globe – although this round-the-world race still has to take in its only North American stop in Newport before re-crossing the Atlantic and taking on its European ‘tour’ of Portugal (Lisbon), France (Lorient), The Netherlands (The Hague) and, finally, Sweden (Gothenburg).

“This is not a race to the Equator, but crossing the Equator for the last time is a part of our trip around the world,” said Team SCA skipper, Sam Davies, who is enjoying probably her best leg to date.

“My objective is to do really well in this race and particularly this leg. Having crossed the Atlantic more times than I remember, when we crossed last night I couldn’t help but feel a bit more at ease. I’m back in my territory, the north Atlantic.

“For the race, it’s not a big milestone, but for me personally, I’m happy to be back here.” Abu Dhabi Ocean Race skipper, Ian Walker, felt similarly.

“To circumnavigate the world by ocean puts you in an exclusive group of seafarers and one which the whole crew is proud to be a part of,” the twice-Olympic silver medallist from Britain said.

“Returning to the north marks a change of pace for the race. From now on the legs become rapid-fire; they get shorter and quicker and there’s a lot at stake before the race ends in Sweden. Forty five per cent of the points are ahead of us.”

Mapfre, however, were still cursing their luck after running under clouds over the past 24 hours, which sucked away wind pressure and slowed the boat.

“There’s some separation in the fleet and it depends on if you have luck or not with the cloud you catch, whether you gain or lose ground,” said navigator, Jean-Luc Nélias (FRA), on Tuesday.

“From yesterday, for us it’s been more loss than gain, but we will see further down the line whether the others also catch the wrong kind of cloud.”

 

For current positions see: www.volvooceanrace.com

 

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Rolex Fastnet Race: the world’s biggest offshore race

 

Fastnet start kurt arrigo

Photo © Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

 

 

The world’s largest, most diverse fleet of offshore racing yachts will set sail from the Solent on 16th August in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s biennial Rolex Fastnet Race. 2015 marks the 90th anniversary of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and with it a record-sized fleet with as many as 350 boats is expected to take part.

As ever the 603 mile course takes the fleet west along the south coast of England, across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock off the tip of southwest Ireland, south around Bishop Rock and the Scilly Isles and back east to the finish in Plymouth. Conditions on the race course can range from benign and summery to vicious and stormy and the event is well remembered for the horrific conditions in 1979 that claimed the lives of 15 competitors. Fortunately vast improvements in weather forecasting, safety and communications equipment as well as yacht design over the intervening years mean that a repeat of this disaster today is unlikely.

The Rolex Fastnet Race is also one of the most popular events in sailing: the original limit of 300 boats racing for the overall handicap prize under IRC was increased to 340 in 2013 due to the increased demand. This is more than twice as many places as the next most popular of other 600 mile races held elsewhere the world and still, when registration opened in January, all 340 places were filled within just 24 minutes! In addition to this group is the ‘non-IRC’ fleet, including many top grand prix race boat classes such as the IMOCA 60s, that compete in the Vendee Globe singlehanded non-stop round the world race, and the Class 40s.

As always, one of the attractive elements of the Rolex Fastnet Race is its diversity. At one end of the spectrum are the high profile professional sailing teams who congregate on the Solent from the four corners of the globe, many fielding the world’s biggest, fastest, most state of the art racing yachts. At the other end are the Corinthian entries, where individual crew will be embarking on what for them will be their own personal Everest – the culmination of a season’s training that will have included at least 300 miles of offshore racing (the mandatory requirement to qualify for Rolex Fastnet Race entry).

One of the important battles is the race for monohull line honours which this year looks set to be a much anticipated heavyweight bout between the two brand new American maxis: George David’s 88ft Rambler 88 and the 100ft Comanche of Jim Clark. Both are brand new, launched late last year and some gauge of their form will take place when both compete in the Transatlantic Race between Newport, Rhode Island and the Lizard (and on to Cowes).

Another battle to watch out for will be the battle of the multihulls which this year includes the world’s fastest race boat – the 131ft (40m) trimaran, Spindrift racing, skippered by Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli. In 2009 this boat covered 908.2 miles a day at an average speed of 37.84 knots and has been first home in the last two Rolex Fastnet Races.

However nipping at her heels will be the three MOD70 trimarans including Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet. This boat last year sailed an exceptional Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, setting not only a race record time, but also becoming the outright record holder for the Round Britain and Ireland course.

“I am looking forward to this race,” says Gavignet of the Rolex Fastnet. “It is the big race of our season, so we take it seriously. It has such an impressive line-up. Races like the Fastnet are very important for sailing because it is a classic and you know that it will always be there every two years.”

Once again Musandam-Oman Sail will be using the event in its continued programme of training up Omani sailors and three will be competing on board alongside Gavignet and round the world sailor Damian Foxall.

At the Corinthian end of the fleet, charter and sailing school entries are swelling in number. Typically these companies sell berths to individuals for the season enabling them to carry out their qualifications.

Eddie Warden Owen, Chief Executive of the Royal Ocean Racing Club explains the uniqueness of the Rolex Fastnet Race:

“The Rolex Fastnet Race is a world classic and probably the largest, most famous of its type. This year the demand has been huge with places selling out in 24 minutes and a waiting list of over 80 boats. The challenge for many is completing what can be a very tough adventure, but also its attraction for the experienced offshore racer is that they can compete with the top professionally raced yachts and have a realistic chance of winning. In 2013 the race was won by a very experienced father and son team sailing two handed which shows that anyone has a chance of winning the most prestigious race in the world calendar.”

 

Further information at fastnet.rorc.org

By James Boyd  thedailysail.com

 

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Fan turned up for action packed medal race day

 

N17 fleet mr jr se

Nacra 17 medal race – Photo c Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

 

 

ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères – Medal Races

 

 

The fan was turned up for the final day at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères as an exciting finale played out across two racing areas.

18-20 knots of breeze ensured the regatta concluded with thrills and spills aplenty. Seven races unravelled on the live broadcast area whilst a further three concluded nearby.

Across the ten Olympic disciplines, ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères medals were awarded, a share of the €72,000 was distributed and ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots were picked up.

 

FX DEN win pm se

49er FX winners – Photo Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy

 

 

49erFX

Last on the race track on the final day, the 49erFX provided a blockbuster conclusion.

Big breeze and big waves tested the 49erFX sailors and there were some thrills, spills and close shaves in a testing race.

One point split overnight leaders Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) and Denmark’s Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen coming into the day.

Following a clear start and intriguing upwind leg, the first mark saw the Danes hold the advantage, getting clear air in their sails. However a close rounding saw the Brazilians touch the mark resulting in a penalty turn and from there they were always playing catch up.

The Danes were able to edge away ensuring an uphill battle for the Brazilians. Pushing their 49erFX to its limits Grael and Kunze lost a bit of control on the second downwind but expertly held it together, with Grael hanging out of the boat yet keeping it upright.

Meanwhile the Danes were never under great pressure, working through the motions and despite being pipped to the Medal Race finish win by compatriots Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) they claimed gold by seven points over silver recipients Grael and Kunze.

“We had a really good race,” commented the pair almost in tandem. “We kept calm throughout the course and that was important in these conditions.

“We kept it simple, without pressure and sailed fast.”

Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) held on to bronze after a fifth. After racing Conti said, “We made a few mistakes so we’re a little disappointed but we’re happy because we had good boat speed and handling. We are happy with bronze. It means a lot to us. After silver in Miami it’s important for us.”

49erFX Results: (top three)

1 Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) – 87
2 Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) – 94
3 Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) – 99

 

470W BRA winners tt

Happy gold medal winning Brazilians – Photo c Thom Touw

 

Women’s 470

It was a winner takes all scenario in the Women’s 470 with any of the top four capable of taking gold.

Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA), Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR), Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) and Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) were all in the running with the capabilities to command and conquer.

In a close, exciting race Medal Race Brazil’s Oliveira and Barbachan came out of the blocks with intent and led at the first mark. They made some gains on the downwind but had Japan’s Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka for company on the second lap. The Japanese pair passed the Brazilians to take the bullet but it was irrelevant as the Brazilians were well clear of their rivals and finished in second to take gold.

“The points were so close,” explained Oliveira. “We thought that we must do our job and sail our own race. We thought about the points and the other boats but we just focused on us. It was perfect. We finished second in the race and we’re so happy.

“It was our goal to win here and we worked very hard for this and we got it. It’s amazing, we’re so happy.”

Aleh and Powrie came through in third in the Medal Race to move up into silver medal position. “It’s a great way to finish,” commented Aleh. “It’s been a tough week. The Brazilians have been great all week and it was an exciting Medal Race with us all fighting it out.”

Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) followed behind the Kiwis and clinched bronze. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) missed out on the podium by a single point.

 

Women’s 470 Results: (top three)

1 Fernanda Oliveira & Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA) – 45
2 Jo Aleh & Polly Powrie (NZL) – 53
3 Camille Lecointre & Helene Defrance (FRA) – 54

 

470M CRO win jr se

Hard work pays off for Croatians – Photo Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

 

Men’s 470

It was clear for all to see that Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic’s (CRO) winter training paid off. The pair came into the Medal Race 25 points clear of Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) to claim the gold medal a day early.

Fantela and Igor got off to a great start in the windiest and roughest sea state that the competition had seen all week to finish seventh in the fleet, ending the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères on an impressive 40 points.

The fight for second and third place however was much less certain.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) rounded the first mark in pole position. They held their lead throughout the race and went on the claim the Medal Race victory which handed them silver. Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) finished just four points behind the Australians in third place.

 

Men’s 470 Results: (top three)

1 Sime Fantela & Igor Marenic (CRO) – 40
2 Mat Belcher & Will Ryan (AUS) – 55
3 Luke Patience & Elliot Willis (GBR) – 59

 

RSXW NED win tt

Happy – Photo c Thom Touw

 

Women’s RS:X

Lilian De Geus (NED) booked her ticket to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Abu Dhabi World Cup Final by taking gold in the Women’s RS:X.

The Dutch sailor had a solid advantage heading into the Medal Race and knew a good performance would seal the deal. She put on an outstanding show in the Medal Race and established a commanding lead on the final downwind.

She pulled away to take her first race win of the week, ending 11 points clear of Charline Picon (FRA).

It was a high scoring affair in the Women’s RS:X with ups and downs aplenty.

Picon came through in second in the Medal Race to take silver, a result she was pleasantly surprised with, “If you had said to me three days ago ‘you’ll win silver this week’ I would have said that it was impossible but I’d never give up.

“I never gave up, I tried to fight and I’m happy because I have silver but I’m not happy about my week as I had a lot of bad races.”

Patricia Freitas (BRA) pushed Picon hard in the Medal Race in an attempt to overthrow her but at the penultimate rounding she misjudged the layline which allowed the French sailor to pass. Nonetheless Freitas came through in third, taking bronze.

 

Women’s RS:X Results: (top three)

1 Lilian de Geus (NED) – 90
2 Charline Picon (FRA) – 101
3 Patricia Freitas (BRA) – 104

 

RSXM Fra win pm se

More gold for France –  Photo c Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy

 

Men’s RS:X

A competition made up of the world’s most skilled male windsurfers was always going to be a tough challenge for all competitors. Throughout the week there have been many ups and downs with multiple race winners.

France’s Pierre Le Coq started the day knowing that he would take home a medal. The Frenchman entered the Medal Race at the top of the leaderboard with a 15 point lead. An eighth or better would seal the deal and Le Coq finished in seventh to wrap up gold.

Piotr Myszka (POL) was on top form in the big breeze, coming second to take silver whilst a fourth for Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) saw him drop into bronze medal position.

Louis Giard (FRA) revelled in the big breeze and took the Medal Race win. With three race victories, Giard recorded the most out of any racer but was not consistent and ended up eighth overall.

 

Men’s RS:X Results: (top three)

1 Pierre le Coq (FRA) – 74

2 Piotr Myszka (POL) – 81

3 Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) – 83

 

Finn winner tt

Another convincing win for Giles Scott – Photo c Thom Touw

 

 

Finn

Great Britain’s Giles Scott had gold all but wrapped up in the Finn and a Medal Race bullet confirmed his place at the top of the pack.

Scott has controlled the week with a discarded 24th his only result outside of the top ten and he was pleased with his performance, “Taking the event and the Medal Race win is a great way to round up the regatta, especially when it is my first win in Hyères.

“This was not an easy regatta. The conditions were super difficult with light and shifty winds for most of the week so the result is very rewarding.”

Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) gave himself a huge chance of taking a medal following double bullets on the penultimate day. He followed this up with a third in the Medal Race to hold on to silver.

Great Britain’s Ed Wright finished the Medal Race in eighth which was enough to hang on to bronze on 75 points. A fifth from Zsombor Berecz (HUN) left him three points off bronze medal position.

 

Finn Results: (top three)

1 Giles Scott (GBR) – 38
2 Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) – 62
3 Ed Wright (GBR) – 75

 

 

 

Las AUS pm se

Tom Burton strikes gold again – Photo c Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy

 

Laser

An overnight protest significantly altered the Laser leaderboard.

The results before the protest saw Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) with a solid lead over Tom Burton. However, during the final fleet race Stipanovic pushed Burton off of the proper course and gained a significant advantage as a result. Following the protest, Stipanovic was scored a non discardable 41st having infringed Tom Burton (AUS). The Australian received 21 points following a redress.

Burton came into the day leading on 45 points, followed by Nick Thompson (GBR) on 47 points. Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) and Nicholas Heiner (NED) followed on 57 points with Robert Scheidt (BRA) on 58. Stipanovic, meanwhile, was down the pack on 75 points.

The race commenced in a good breeze and Heiner was over the line early and disqualified ensuring he dropped out of the running.

Charlie Buckingham (USA) came out strongly and grabbed the lead. He was closely followed by Burton and the pair jostled at the front of the pack.

Buckingham had the best of the back and forth exchange, taking the bullet. Burton followed 11 seconds behind to claim gold much to his delight as he hit his Laser with a mixture of relief and frustration after a tough week.

With Heiner out of the running it was between Thompson, van Schaardenburg and Scheidt for the remaining medals.

Thompson remained in control and picked up a fifth to take silver. Scheidt kept van Schaardenburg at bay to finish fourth, claiming bronze.

 

Laser Results: (top three)

1 Tom Burton (AUS) – 49
2 Nick Thompson (GBR) – 57
3 Robert Scheidt (BRA) – 66

 

Rad BEL win tt

Another gold for Evi van Acker – Photo c Thom Touw

 

 

Laser Radial

Evi Van Acker (BEL) made it look easy in the Laser Radial taking out the Medal Race bullet to win by 21 points.

It was all on for the remaining podium spots between Gintare Scheidt (LTU), Josefin Olsson (SWE) and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN).

Scheidt ventured into the Medal Race on 38 points with Rindom on 44 and Olsson on 46.

Whilst Van Acker ran away with the victory Olsson gritted her teeth and got down to business. Pushing hard throughout the race she finished second, doing all she could have possibly done, having started the day in fourth overall.

Olsson had an anxious wait to see where she would finish overall and she witnessed Rindom coming through in fourth followed by Scheidt in fifth. As a result Olsson leapfrogged Rindom but it was not enough to overhaul Scheidt who claimed silver.

 

Laser Radial Results: (top three)

1 Evi Van Acker (BEL) – 25
2 Gintare Scheidt (LTU) – 48
3 Josefin Olsson (SWE) – 50

 

49er NZL winners jr se

Dominating Kiwis – Photo Jesus Renedo – Sailing Energy

 

 

49er

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) had gold and silver wrapped up in advance of the Medal Race but there was a fight on for bronze.

The advantage ahead of the day was with David Gilmour and Rhys Mara (AUS). They had an eight point advantage over Germany’s Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel and were in control for the first 50% of the race. However, on the second downwind disaster struck for Gilmour and Mara as they capsized and lost their third position.

The Australians dropped down the pack and came through in ninth. The Germans capitalised on the Australians misfortune, coming through in fourth to steal bronze.

49er Results: (top three)

1 Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL) – 49
2 Nathan Outteridge & Iain Jensen (AUS) – 98
3 Erik Heil & Thomas Ploessel (GER) – 144

 

N17 winners tt

More bling for Billy & Marie – Thom Touw

 

Nacra 17

Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) stylishly sealed gold and an Abu Dhabi Final spot in the Nacra 17 by winning the Medal Race in convincing fashion.

The French team have been dominant in the Nacra 17 and had gold wrapped up in advance of the Medal Race. Besson and Riou got off to a blistering start and were able to grab an early advantage over the pack and never looked back, taking the bullet by 14 seconds over Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED).

“We’re feeling good,” smiled Besson, “It’s a great day and it’s great to win the Medal Race and finish the week off like that.

“It was really important for France to win here and everybody, including me, is really proud.”

A real battle was on behind the French team between the two boats from the Netherlands with Rio 2016 Olympic selection on the line.

Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) brought in an advantage from Trofeo Princesca Sofia and confirmed their spot by finishing second in the Medal Race and second overall. “We’ve qualified for the Olympics for sure,” smiled de Koning.

Mulder added, “This whole week has been a good learning curve for us. We had some difficult conditions with moderate to light winds. The first day was really hard. We had some results in 20’s and we learnt a lot and how to come back. We performed well in the next days and we’ll take that with us.”

Renee Groeneveld and Steven Krol (NED) pushed their compatriots throughout the week but couldn’t quite overhaul them picking up bronze.

 

Nacra 17 Results: (top three)

1 Billy Besson & Marie Riou (FRA) – 57
2 Mandy Mulder & Coen de Koning (NED) – 84
3 Renee Groeneveld & Steven Krol (NED) – 98

 

Sailors will now regroup and review ahead of the Delta Lloyd Regatta which takes in Medemblik, the Netherlands from 26-30 May 2015. The Delta Lloyd Regatta acts as the qualification regatta for ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland which takes place at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition venue from 8-14 June.

The world’s best 40 Olympic and Paralympic sailors will put their skills to the test once again in Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain with World Cup honours and Abu Dhabi Final places on the line.

 

Full results can be found here.

 

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Early golds clinched in Mens 470, 49er and Nacra 17

 

D4 49er fleet pm

Photo © Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy

 

 

ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères

 

 

Gold medals in the Men’s 470, 49er and the Nacra 17 have been confirmed at ISAF Sailing World Hyères following commanding displays by the leading teams.

Dominant performances from Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO), Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) and Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) have ensured they walk away with ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères gold, a spot on the Abu Dhabi Final start line and a share of the €72,000 prize fund.

Giles Scott (GBR) has all but wrapped up gold in the Finn but for the remaining fleets, the competition is wide open ahead of Sunday’s live Medal Races.

A medium breeze in the region of 9-11 knots ensured all fleets got on the water for their start times with a full complement of racing completed.

Medal Racing on Sunday 26 April is scheduled to commence at 11:15 local time on the live course area with the schedule as follows (times CEST):

Nacra 17 – 11:15
RS:X Men – 12:05
RS:X Women – 12:55
470 Women – 13:45
Laser – 14:35
Laser Radial – 15:25
49erFX – 16:15

 

Medal Race highlights from the 49er (11:40), Finn (12:30) and 470 Men (13:20) will be shown throughout the broadcast.

 

Burling-and-Tuke

Photo © Franck Socha / FFVoile

 

 

49er and 49erFX

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) were dominant once again in the 49er, sealing the deal with even a race to spare in the fleet racing.

The Kiwis have been unstoppable since London 2012, winning every regatta they’ve attended. Their gains and margins have increased but Burling remained modest after racing, “It’s pretty tough in the 49er in that big fleet. It’s the first time we raced in light air in a big fleet. If you start badly you’ll be in a tough place but if you get a good start and a good shift then you’ll be in really good shape.

“We were stoked to get a couple of good solid ones to begin with and then have it done before the last race today. It’s pleasing to see how our hard work has gone over the New Zealand summer. Everybody else has definitely improved as well. It’s probably a lot tighter out there than the scoreboard shows.”

The scoreboard shows the Kiwis 45 points clear of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) who also sealed silver with only the Medal Race to go.

Outteridge and Jensen won ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne to qualify for the World Cup Final. For Burling and Tuke, their victory in Hyères guarantees them a spot on the startline, “The Abu Dhabi final looks really good fun,” added Burling, “It didn’t fit in with our calendar last year as we had a lot on but we’ll probably go this year.”

Alongside World Cup glory and an Abu Dhabi spot the Kiwis also walk away with a share of the €72,000 prize pot. Burling concluded, “Hamish told us on the first day of the event that there’s a little bit of prize money and the live coverage of the Medal Race.

“It’s cool to see a bit of that in the sport now and the live coverage is awesome so people back home can see a bit of what we do. It’s great to see the sport going that way.”

The battle for bronze will be between Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) and John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR). The Germans have the advantage on 132 points with the British team eight behind.

 

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Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze snatch the lead – Photo c Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy

 

 

It’ll go down to the wire in the 49erFX after ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) knocked Denmark’s Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen off top spot for the first time.

The Danes had led from day one but the chasing pack chipped away as the week played out. Grael and Kunze recorded a 4-3-10-5 whilst the Danish team picked up a 8-1-19-12. As a result, the Brazilians lead by a single point.

Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) were the stars of the day taking double bullets to move into third, seven points off the Brazilian leaders.

 

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 Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) hang on to a slender lead – Photo Pedro Martinez

 

Men’s and Women’s 470

There have been some intense battles for the top spot in the Women’s 470. Race wins have been spread across the fleet resulting in some big movements on the leader board. Six points separate first to fourth so it’ll go down to the wire on Medal Race day.

A 4-7 score line ensures Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) hang on to the leading position for two days running.

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) had an impressive day on the water, gaining a second and bullet in the light conditions. The pair will enter the Medal Race in second place, just two points behind the leaders.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) piled on some pressure with a bullet and a third. As a result they sit in fourth, one point off Camille Lecointre and Hélène Defrance (FRA).

In contrast, the Men’s 470 leader board is a little more set ahead of Sunday’s Medal Race.

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) built on their lead posting a sixth and a bullet. They ended the day an 25 points clear of Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) to claim the gold medal and a share of the €72,000 prize money with only the Medal Race remaining.

After arriving ashore Marenic chirped, “We are thrilled with how our week went. We sailed really consistently so we are super happy we won before the Medal Race.”

Even though the Croatians have gold sealed they won’t be taking it easy on the final day, “We sail every Medal Race with a sharp mind and we will always try to do our best so that is what we plan to do tomorrow.”

However, the story is still not over for the rest of the fleet. Patience and Willis, sit on 51 points in second, with Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (GBR) and Ferdinand Gerz and Oliver Szymanski (GER) hot on their heels.

Things were looking hopeful at the start of day for Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstädter (AUT) who were straight out of the traps, claiming the first race win of the day moving them higher up the leader board. After claiming 21st place in the second race they were left 19th overall, missing out on a place in Sunday’s Medal Race.

With only a few points between the top five teams at the top of the leader board, sailors will need to bring everything they have for the Medal Race if they want to join the Croatian sailors on the podium.

 

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One hand on another gold medal – Photo c Richard Langdon / Ocean Images

 

 

Finn

Great Britain’s Giles Scott has all but won gold in the Finn following an eighth and a tenth. The Briton has a 19 point lead over Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) and simply needs to complete the Medal Race to take another World Cup gold.

The two race wins of the day went to ISAF Sailing World Cup Final winner Zbogar proving that the conditions on the water suited his racing style. With a strong performance Zbogar has climbed up into second place for the first time in the regatta, relegating Ed Wright (GBR) into third.

Slightly further down the fleet, Saturday’s races provided many ups and downs for the sailors. The only other sailors to achieve a two top ten results were the fifth placed Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) and Andrew Murdoch (NZL), who narrowly missed a place in the Medal Race ending the regatta in 11th place.

Racing is scheduled to commence at 11:15 local time on Sunday 26 April where the medals will be decided.

 

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Evi van Acker in control – Photo c Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

Laser and Laser Radial

Laser leader Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) had a clear plan for Saturday’s racing, “I will try to sail the first race the best I can and finish in the top three and if possible, try and win it.

“After that, if everything is between me and him [Tom Burton] I will maybe try and to go on him because he’s discarding 31 and I’m discarding just eight. I think I’m in a good position but we’ll have to wait for the first race tomorrow.”

Stipanovic knuckled down in the opening race picking up a sixth and duly punished Tom Burton (AUS) in the second, pushing him down the pack. Burton ended up 31st, which he now counts whilst Stipanovic discards his 33rd.

Stipanovic leads on 42 points with Nick Thompson (GBR) second on 47 points and Burton third on 55 points. It’ll be full on in the Medal Race with Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) and Nicholas Heiner (NED) on 57 points and Robert Scheidt (BRA) on 58 points.

 

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Tight at the top of the Lasers – Photo c Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy

 

 

Defending Hyères Laser Radial champion Evi Van Acker (BEL) controlled the day, putting in a professional performance. A fifth and a bullet has given her a 13 point lead over Gintare Scheidt (LTU).

“I could have done better today,” commented Van Acker, “The first upwind wasn’t so good, the first downwind also. But I caught up and finished fifth. The second race was much better and I stuck to the plan and had great speed and won with big distances.

“I’m happy about this week and looking forward to the Medal Race tomorrow. I think we will have great wind, a nice easterly breeze and I just want to win and that will be my main focus.”

Van Acker has been a mainstay at the front of the Laser Radial pack and has enjoyed racing with the best of the best from day one, “It’s not so crowded. It’s tight racing and you’re immediately into the finals so the pressure is a much higher. But for me, I see it as nothing different. It’s just racing but I’m liking it.”

Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) had a mixed day with a fourth and a 15th. As a result she slips from second to third on 44 points. Josefin Olsson (SWE) is two points off the Dane in fourth.

 

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Two Dutch teams in the top 3 – Photo c Thom Touw

 

 

Nacra 17

France’s Billy Besson and Marie Riou clinched an early gold in the Nacra 17 with another dominating display. The French team have been a class above the rest across the 11 race series, notching up three race victories and as a result, they have an unassailable 25 point lead.

From the day’s four races Besson and Riou recorded a 1-(14)-9-5 scoreline which was enough for gold with only the Medal Race remaining.

The story on the Medal Race day will be on the silver and bronze medals. Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) are six points clear of compatriots Renee Groeneveld and Steven Krol with Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) three further points off in fourth.

Up first at 11:15, the Nacra 17 Medal Race will prove to be an interesting opener on the final day of competition.

Further race victories on the day went to Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) who are seventh, Groeneveld and Krol, and Saxton and Groves.

 

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Nacra fleet – Photo c Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

The Men’s RS:X has stirred up some interesting competition across the 11 race series. With the world’s best male windsurfers in the fleet it’s been an up and down week with multiple leaders and race winners.

Heading into the Medal Race atop of the pile is France’s Pierre Le Coq. The Frenchman was in terrific form posting a 2-3-7 and has guaranteed himself a medal. With a 15 point lead over second place, a solid performance will ensure he walks away with gold.

Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) is second on 75 points followed by Piotr Myszka (POL) on 77 points. Julien Bontemps (FRA) is firmly in the running for a medal with 80 points in fourth.

Stealing the day in the Men’s RS:X was Louis Giard with a 1-1-2 scoreline. The youngster’s performance was a stark contrast to some larger numbers posted earlier on in the week but he pulled himself into the Medal Race to compete for another day.

Lilian De Geus (NED) will go into the Women’s RS:X Medal Race with a nine point lead. The Dutch sailor is reaping the rewards of a good opening five races where she notched up a 15-3-2-4-4 to give her a solid cushion. A 13-11-8-(25)-19-9 has followed but she retains her overnight lead.

Charline Picon jumped into second overall following a final race bullet. With 97 points she is a point ahead of Patricia Freitas (BRA).

 

Results are available here.

 

The racing will be available to watch in 2D and 3D via the live tracking here.

 

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The Road to Rio with Billy Besson & Marie Riou (FRA) 

 

pic c Jesus Renedo

 

 

Jonny Fullerton of Grand Prix Sailing is in Hyeres to talk to Billy Besson & Marie Riou of the French Nacra 17 French team

 

 

Jonny Fullerton: Billy you have won many catamaran sailing championships, two Nacra 17 Worlds and an F18 World Championship so how would an Olympic medal compare in Rio 2016?

Billy Besson: Only if it is the right colour! laughs, you never can compare it, as a sportsman you want to compete at this competition, it is the highest level and very important.

Jonny Fullerton: Marie you have sailed dinghys before including the Elliot’s in the last Olympics but it is very different racing in the Nacras?

Marie Riou: Yes, I have also sailed in 420’s and 470’s and match racing we used to sail at about 5 knots boatspeed but in the catamaran its a really fast boat, its different because you have to think quickly and make decisions fast and its a really fun boat to sail.

JF: And a lot more physically demanding?

MR: Yes exactly, for the arms especially! I work the mainsail and the spinnaker so its hard to trim.

 

BB & MR pic c Sailing Energy

 

JF: Some partnerships sail with the female steering and some prefer the men to helm?

BB: Yes but its split about 50/50 at the moment so I think its very cool for a mixed boat.

JF: You have such strong French teams trying to qualify for Rio the competition must be really tough between you?

BB: Yes for the French team its very hard because we have a very good team, all trying to get the card to Rio.

MR: With this team our group has to work so hard it makes us stronger than our other competitors.

JF: What do you think of the sailing courses in Rio?

BB: We raced at the Test Event and again in December in Rio, its a perfect spot for sailing and the area is surrounded by the city, that makes it a great spectacle. Its a very spiritual place with the surrounding mountains and land marks.

JF: Apart from qualification what are your main goals this season?

MR: Our major objective will be the world championships, we are racing for our third championship victory in a row!

 

D1 N17 FRA yvan zeddah

 

JF: And Billy I understand you are also racing in the Flying Phantom foiling cats at Eurocat in Cannes with Franck?

BB: Yes but not in the same boat! laughs, no way, his is too small to be crew!! joking. I think its very important to do other cat sailing. Everybody wants to go foiling now, its not the same as racing the Nacra 17 but its the same sensation.

JF: Merci Beaucoup et bon chance.

BB & MR: Merci

 

By Jonny Fullerton – Grand Prix Sailing

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Ups, downs and unpredictability in Hyères

 

D3 49erFX-Fleet isaf

Photo © Franck Socha / FFVoile

 

 

ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyères

 

 

The new ISAF Sailing World Cup format of 40 boats per fleet is stirring up exceptional competition in Hyères following another day of ups, downs and unpredictability.

Close, tactical racing with minimal separations across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic has excited the world’s top sailing athletes with Saturday’s fleet racing to decide the positions for Sunday’s live Medal Races.

Light, shifty breeze was present across the five race courses and racing got underway in a variable breeze between 3-8 knots.

 

D1 Finn GS fs

 

Finn

It was another day of up and downs in the Finn fleet with only the leader Giles Scott (GBR) demonstrating consistency.

Scott posted an eighth and a fourth which extends his lead over British rival Ed Wright. Scott is 14 points clear of Wright and another day of dominance could seal the deal for Scott and extend his winning run. No other sailor was able to string together two top ten results on the day.

The opening bout went the way of Caleb Paine (USA) as he explained, “I had a great start and worked my way over to the right side. I had some great pressure over there and connected with it, I had the legs from there and it was pretty easy after that.”

Easy, for a world class athlete and Olympic hopeful. Getting an edge has proved difficult in such a highly competitive fleet and Paine explained what’s required to achieve such results, “You have to look for the small opportunity that’s there and sort of look around at the race course and judge what may happen later on in the race.

“It’s like predicting the future and only when you get it right you get a result like that.

“There are a lot of great guys especially when it’s really compact and with only 40 boats it’s really tight competition. I like it and I like the format and I’m looking forward to seeing how it continues.”

Paine’s start in the second bout didn’t quite match his opening race but he battled back to finish 21st, “You win some, you lose and that’s sail boat racing,” concluded the American.

At the end of the day Paine sits eighth overall.

Greece’s Ioannis Mitakis took the second race victory and currently occupies the final Medal Race position with  two fleet races remaining.

 

D3 470W fleet fs

Photo © Franck Socha / FFVoile

Women’s 470

From six Women’s 470 races, five teams have taken race victories. Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) picked up their second of the week on the third day and lead by one point. For Switzerland’s Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler, Friday’s racing saw them pick up their first win to move up to seventh overall.

The Swiss pair enjoyed the day and followed up with a ninth to bolster their chances. After racing Fahrni said, “Yesterday was not a good day for us, it just wasn’t working. The day before was okay but today was good. We’ve had some ups and downs.

“In the first race we had a great start and we were going to the left and got first at the upwind mark and we kept it until the end. It was our wind today. In Switzerland we only have these winds. We are specialists and we are superfast, we really liked it.”

At the front of the pack are Brazil’s Oliveira and Barbachan, winners of the 2013 edition in Hyères, who are just one point ahead of Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA).

They opened with a 13th and concluded the day with a bullet to hold the lead and Oliveira was pleased with her day of work, “We were fast in the light winds so it was a very good day for us. We are happy and we still have two races to go before the Medal Race tomorrow but we are happy to be here again and we are trying to do our best.”

The Women’s 470 is packed full of some of the world’s most technically gifted female sailors. Anything can change in an instant with mistakes duly punished as Oliveira added, “The level of the fleet is very high and it’s difficult for everybody. If you look at the results in the 470 women you will see that it is very up and down, up and down.

“You have to try and do your best all the time, never give up. Each point that you gain is vital. At some point in time, you will need that extra point.”

Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) were the winners on the day posting a 2-4 scoreline. They are four points off the leaders in third.

 

D3 470M CRO isaf

Photo © Franck Socha / FFVoile

Men’s 470

There was some fighting between 470 leaders Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) and Gabrio Zandona and Andrea Trani (ITA) which resulted in some mixed results for both teams.

The Croatians opened their day with a fifth with the Italians posting a third but the second race of the day worked in the Italians favour as Fantela explained, “We had a fight with Gabrio on the pin end of the start and we touched the pin end boat.

“We had to do a 360 and at that moment we were at least 30 metres behind the whole fleet,” emphasised Fantela. “We started in the last position, fighting, fighting, fighting back.”

The Italians worked their way through the fleet, moving up and down, eventually finishing in 14th but things did not quite go the Croatians way as Fantela continued, “We managed to climb up to 20-25 in the first downwind and then in the second upwind we were so slow and we had to check the centreboard and we had a bag on it. We went down again and managed a good final downwind to climb up to 25th.

“It is a bad result but at least it’s not 40. Until now it was good. We didn’t use up our discard until that race.”

The Croatians lead on 19 points. The Italians follow on 30 points with Jordi Xammar and Joan Herp (ESP) third on 34 points.

Even though Fantela and Marenic lead by 11 points they are under no illusion that the job is done and will go back to basics for the penultimate day on Saturday, “We will enter tomorrow like it’s the first day. We’ll forget about the last three days. We’ll try to do our best and see what happens.

“Then we will calculate for the Medal Race. You can win and lose a lot from tomorrow’s two races so we won’t think about the boats around us. We’ll stay relaxed, motivated and calm. Then we’ll see how it works.”

 

D3 Las AUS fs

Photo © Franck Socha / FFVoile

Laser and Laser Radial

Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) reduced Tom Burton’s (AUS) lead in the Laser and has his sights firmly set on him with two fleet races remaining.

The Croatian’s 3-8 pulls him to within five points of the Australian after he notched up an 11-5 and he has a plan for the penultimate day of racing, “I will try to sail the first race the best I can and finish in the top three and if possible, try and win it.

“After that, if everything is between me and him [Burton] I will maybe try and to go on him because he’s discarding 31 and I’m discarding just eight. I think I’m in a good position but we’ll have to wait for the first race tomorrow.”

Burton leads on 23 points followed by Stipanovic on 28. Nicholas Heiner (NED) is firmly in contention in third on 32 points.

Racing in the Laser has been about making gains when and where possible. Making big gains on Friday was Italy’s Giovanni Coccoluto.

The young Italian had posted a 32-23-37-(40) in advance of Friday’s but hit top form, fighting up the pack taking a 13-4. “I sailed very badly over the last two days so I knew I needed to change something,” commented Coccoluto. “I took some more risks and they paid off. I know I could have sailed better but compared to the last two days it’s a good one for me.

“I took more risks at the start, starting at one end and it was a good choice.

“I just thought about sailing fast and taking good shifts but I made mistakes today. It was better than the other days so it’s okay.”

In the Laser Radial, Evi Van Acker (BEL) edged ahead of Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) following a 7-2 compared to the Danes 12-3.

Van Acker tops the leader board on 19 points with Rindom second on 25 points. Gintare Scheidt (LTU) is third.

The eighth placed Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and fourth placed Josefin Olsson (SWE) secured the day’s victories.

 

D3 N17 AUS bo

Photo © Franck Socha / FFVoile

Nacra 17

Towards the end of the day in Hyères the wind began to die which resulted in only a single race for the Nacra 17 fleet.

Puerto Rico’s experienced multihull specialist Enrique Figueroa and Franchesca Valdes Ortega took the race win in the challenging light breeze by just three seconds over Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS).

The result lifts the Puerto Ricans up to 22nd.

Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) continue to lead the fleet following a 12th. They sit on 28 points followed by Lin Ea Cenholt Christiansen and Christian Peter Lübeck (DEN) on 40 points and Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) on 42 points.

 

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Photo c Sailing Energy

49er and 49erFX

It was another successful day on the water for Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen (DEN) who remain in the top spot of the 49erFX leader board. However, inching ever closer to the Danes are Lisa Ericson and Hanna Klinga (SWE) in second place after gaining an impressive two bullets and a 30th which they will discard. The Swedish duo claimed second place at last year’s ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi and are firmly on track to claim another podium place in Hyères.

ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) round off the top three places.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) used up their drop score in the 49er by scoring a 20th in the ninth race of the series. Two thirds preceded the 20th and as a result they are 37 points clear of Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen (DEN).

The day’s race wins were secured by Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER), who are fifth, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS), who are eighth, and the ninth placed Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski (NZL).

 

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

After Thursday’s fantastic sailing conditions both the RS:X fleets were met with decidedly less wind on Friday. The change in weather conditions made some sailors perform less well while others thrived in the lighter conditions.

At the end of the day Lilian De Geus (NED) still holds on to the top spot after gaining a 13-11-8 scorecard, leaving her 17 points clear of Jiahui Wu (CHN) who is in second place on 62 points.

Race wins in the Women’s RS:X fleet were snapped up by Manjia Zheng (CHN), Laura Linares (ITA) and Charline Picon (FRA) who, after an impressive performance on the water ends the day in fifth place.

In the Men’s RS:X the race for a place in the live Medal Races is firmly on. After a morning postponement the fleet went on to complete three races in winds averaging 7-8 knots.

First place at the end of day three is occupied by Pierre Le Coq (FRA). Le Coq, who has claimed a succession of top ten places at previous ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas, put on a stunning performance to claim two race wins and a third. Still close behind him in second is Nimrod Mashiah (ISR) while fellow Israeli sailor Shahar Zubari took the other race win of the day.

With conditions set to be slightly better on Saturday and just 11 points separating first and tenth place it’s still all to play for. All the Men’s RS:X racers will have to fight hard on the penultimate day to secure their spot in Sunday’s Medal Races.

 

Paralympic Events

Despite the lighter conditions on the course, the battle for the top spot still continues in the 2.4mR class who managed to complete two races to keep the fleet on schedule.

After dropping one place on day two Bjørnar Erikstad was back on top form and ends the day in first place at the top of the leader board leaving him ever closer to his second consecutive ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal following his victory in Miami.

Damien Seguin (FRA) is in second place having scored the first bullet of the day. Seguin will discard his 13th place result and ends the penultimate day of racing a mere two points behind Erikstad.

Making her debut in the top three this week is Helena Lucas (GBR) who posted a 2-6 score line. Matthew Bugg (AUS) also had a successful day on the water and went on to claim first place in the final race on Friday meaning he will go on to the final day of racing in seventh place overall.

In the Sonar, France’s Bruno Jourdern, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary were on incredible form claiming both of the day’s wins, firmly proving that the lighter conditions suited their sailing style.

After a third and a discard of sixth place Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) slipped down into third overall.

With the final day of fleet racing scheduled for Saturday it will be down to the wire to see which sailors claim a spot in the Medal Race for their chance to win a share of the €72,000 prize pot and a place at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi in November.

 

Results are available here.

 

The racing will be available to watch in 2D and 3D via the live tracking here.

 

Become a fan of Grand Prix Sailing – www.facebook.com/grandprixsailing

 

 

 

 

Team Alvimedica snatch a narrow lead

 

L6 TA amory ross

Photo c Amory Ross

 

 

 

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 6 – Itajai to Newport

 

 

Heading the race for home

 

American Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), who are dreaming of winning the Volvo Ocean Race’s sixth leg to their home port of Newport, Rhode Island, USA, snatched a narrow lead on Friday.

The 5,010-nautical mile (nm) stage from Itajaí, Brazil, to Newport could not be more finely balanced as, once again, the six boats are incredibly closely matched in the Atlantic as they headed from South to North America.

After leaving a windless Itajaí on Sunday, overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), have had their noses narrowly in front for a large part, but the rest of the fleet have been no more than 10nm adrift for much of that time.

With some squally conditions and shifting winds as the boats progressed away from the Brazilian coast, the fleet finally showed some sign of separation – but it is still anyone’s leg to win, with more than 4,000nm to sail.

Enright’s crew overtook the Emirati boat early on Friday (0940 UTC) and claimed a slim lead of 8nm with Chinese challengers Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) some 3.5nm further behind (see panel above).

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), who had concerns about their key fractional code zero (FRO) sail before the leg and then broke a winch, threatened briefly to take the lead themselves on Thursday before falling back.

Onboard reporter Corinna Halloran (USA) explained that there was plenty of work to be done after the team discovered their portside runner winch housing had cracked.

“We are currently fixing the cracked winch. However, the repair will not be ideal and still might cause trouble,” she wrote in a daily blog from the boat.

“The odds of that happening are pretty much a billion to one,” added British crew member Abby Ehler. That particular winch takes up to 10 tonnes of load as the runner helps to hold up the rig. The women’s boat, however, was still very well placed in fourth with Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) to their their stern, and MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) currently bringing up the rear, 14.5nm behind the leaders.

The latest projections are that the fleet will arrive in Newport between May 6-8 after 17-19 days of sailing.

Abu Dhabi Ocean moved seven points clear at the top after winning Leg 5, but there are still just under half of the overall points up for grabs with four stages, including the current one, to race before the climax in Gothenburg in the last week of June.

 

For current positions see: www.volvooceanrace.com

 

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No mercy on a breezy day in Hyères

 

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Photo c Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

 

ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyères

 

 

The biggest smile of the day at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères belonged to Poland’s Maja Dziarnowska after she picked up three straight race wins in the Women’s RS:X.

When asked about how she dominated the day, Dziarnowska commented, “there is no mercy”. With the new ISAF Sailing World Cup format exciting the sailors competing in the French Riviera, no mercy can be shown if they want to end up on top and the Polish racer demonstrated that perfectly well.

A strong breeze, which built to around 16 knots, filled all five courses consistently throughout the day allowing sailors to truly put all their skills to the test.

The leader boards are starting to take shape across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic disciplines in Hyères ahead of the Medal Races on Sunday 26 April where a share of the €72,000 prize fund, ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots and World Cup glory are on offer.

 

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Maja Dziarnowska shows no mercy on day 2 – Photo c ISAF

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

Maja Dziarnowska (POL) was beaming with smiles after Women’s RS:X racing having dominated the day taking a trio of victories.

After racing the Polish racer said, “Compared to yesterday when I finished 29th overall, today was good. I had a lot of fun, good speed, I didn’t make many mistakes and that explains my success.

“There is no mercy,” she smiled.

Dziarnowska’s performance has pushed her up from the middle of the pack to third overall. Lilian De Geus (NED) holds the lead on 13 points after a 2-4-4 day followed by Isobel Hamilton (GBR) on 22 points and Dziarnowska on 31.

Despite De Geus holding a steady lead the day belonged to Dziarnowska who revels in Hyères when the breeze is in, “I really enjoy staying in Hyères because we spend a lot of time training here every year. We spend all of April here so I know this place quite well. The wind shifts, the waves and so on. It’s helping.

“This place this year only has 40 women starting and they’re the top 40 in the world so it makes the competition really hard. The smallest mistake costs you hugely and you can lose a lot of places.”

The world’s best Women’s windsurfers are racing in Hyères and anticipation was high in the build-up as Dziarnowska concluded, “The format is super exciting. I was waiting for the start of this event for a long time, I couldn’t wait. Just to see the progression of myself and the other girls, it’s been really exciting.

“I’m enjoying what I do, I enjoy the training, I enjoy staying with my team. We’re called Energa Sailing Team. We’re cool people and then being with all the women here, I love this lifestyle.”

There were ups and downs across the Men’s RS:X fleet as the competition ramped up a notch.

Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) started the day exceedingly well by taking the opening race victory as he explained, “I made some good choices sailing upwind and jumped up three places. I was ahead rounding the top mark on the second lap and then I just had to chase the Israeli guy [Nimrod Mashiah] and I slid past him at the start of the slalom.”

Kokkalanis struggled in the remaining races posting a 12th and a 23rd, he continued, “I got hit bad at the start in the middle race and I was nearly last so I had to come back but in the last race, something felt really bad. I just couldn’t keep up.

“The conditions changed and the wind picked up more so maybe it was my technique or something with my equipment that I didn’t tune properly so all these things need to be fixed.”

The Greek racer ends the day eighth overall.

Israel’s Nimrod Mashiah was the star of the day. Double seconds and a race win catapult the Israeli up into second, one point off leader Piotr Myszka (POL).

Just eight points separate first to seventh place in the Men’s RS:X after six races. Six more fleet races follow with the potential for further ups and downs ahead of Sunday’s Medal Races.

 

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Frantic action in the Nacra 17 fleet – Photo c Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

 

 

Nacra 17

It was a busy day for the Nacra 17 fleet. Four races in a good breeze ensured some tired faces back ashore after racing.

Tired, yet full of enthusiasm after racing was Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA). The dynamic French duo started the day with back to back victories. A 12th and a third followed which hands them a handy 14 point lead.

“We’re happy because that is a good day for us,” commented a Riou after racing.

The Nacra 17 fleet is of the highest calibre. Olympic medallists and World Champions make up the highly competitive fleet. Maintaining a clear head is key as Riou explained, “You have to always keep the focus on your job. You can lose distance and places quickly in this fleet.

“It’s really tough to sail at this event but really good to sail in a fleet of 40 good teams. The format is good for sailing because for spectators they can follow and understand our sport, it’s better than ever before.”

Lin Ea Cenholt Christiansen and Christian Peter Lübeck (DEN) occupy second overall on 30 points with overnight leaders Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) third on 36 points.

 

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Giles Scott back in the lead – Photo Ocean Images

 

 

Finn

It was a day for the Great Britain’s Giles Scott and Ed Wright. The pair sailed consistently well throughout the two races to land them in first and second place respectively at the end of day two.

Scott is well on track to add another podium finish to his already impressive succession of first places he has collected over the last 12 months.

The stronger winds provided the ideal conditions on the water for all of the fleet making the competition for first place even harder. A race win was also claimed by Tapio Nirkko (FIN) who is tenth overall.

 

49er and 49erFX

Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen (DEN) solidified their spot at the top of the 49erFX leaderboard. The Danes 6-1-6 scorelines sees them atop of the pack on 17 points.

Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) follow on 32 points with Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) third on 35 points.

Nielsen and Olsen have proven themselves in the light flukey Hyères breeze that was present on the opening day as well as the consistent breeze on day two. Time will tell if they can continue their good form to take home gold, a share of the €72,000 prize pot and a spot on the startline at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi.

 

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Kiwis sending it – Photo c Sailing Energy

 

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) asserted their dominance once again in Hyères with a 1-1-2 giving the duo a clear lead ahead of Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen (DEN) in second place.

This is the first ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta for Burling and Tuke in 2015 and half way through the regatta they are well on the way to continuing their unbroken record of regatta victories.

 

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Nathan Outteridge & Iain Jensen take a dip after a collision – Photo Sailing Energy

 

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) also enjoyed a strong day on the water, recording three top fifteen results despite a collision which resulted in a capsize and a loss of a number of places. They sit in third and still have the opportunity to build on their current success over the next three days.

There was some top quality racing throughout the entire fleet and Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) claimed a first in the last race of the day.

 

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Tom Burton (AUS) back on top – Photo c Beau Outteridge

 

Laser and Laser Radial

It is tight at the top in the Laser Radial with Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) locked on ten points apiece.

Both competitors put their hard opening day behind them to bounce back nicely. Rindom discarded her 24th from day one and added a sixth and a bullet to count ten points. Van Acker scored a 4-2 on the second day, losing her 17th, to share the lead with Rindom.

The day’s opening race win went the way of 2013 Laser Radial World Champion Tina Mihelic (CRO). The Croatian is 27th at the moment but has the skills and drive to work her way up the leaderboard with four more fleet races remaining ahead of the Medal Race.

It was a similar scenario in the Laser. Tom Burton (AUS) and Nicholas Heiner (NED) discarded their opening day 33rd and 24th respectively to sit in first and second overall.

Burton was in fine form, taking a third and second to take the lead on seven points. For Heiner, his 4-5 on the day is enough for second. Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) is three points off the Dutchman.

Race victories were picked up by Julio Alsogaray (ARG) who is 19th and Kristian Ruth (NOR). Ruth enjoyed a terrific day taking a fifth alongside his bullet and he moves up to eighth.

 

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Tight at the top of the 470s with GBR leading – Photo c Sailing Energy

 

 

Men’s and Women’s 470

Following on from Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark’s (GBR) second place success at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and, with only four races left until the Medal Race, they top the Women’s 470 leaderboard by the narrowest of margins.

The day provided the perfect conditions for Mills and Clark who started brilliantly by gaining a first place and an 18th which the pair have discarded. Mills and Clark have no time to relax however, as the fight for the top three places are extremely close.

Rounding off the top three behind the Brits is Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) in second and Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) in third.

The Men’s 470 took to the water this morning and, after two more races Croatian pair Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic end the day in first place five points clear of Gabrio Zandonã and Andrea Trani (ITA) in second.

Race wins on the day went to Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) and Stuart Mcnay and David Hughes (USA) who are sixth overall.

 

Paralympic Events

In the Sonar, Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) remain at the top of the scoreboard after achieving a second and a third place which the team have discarded. However, the Australian team cannot afford to relax just yet as, hot on their heels and only one point behind are Bruno Jourdern, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) who achieved a bullet in the second race of the day to land them in second place overall.

Thursday is set to be another interesting day on the water for the class as only one point separates second and third place from the top spot.

In the 2.4mR class, Damien Seguin (FRA) had a fantastic day on the water and showed that the stronger conditions suited his style. Seguin gained a second and first place in the two races knocking Bjørnar Erikstad off the top spot and relegating him into second place.

Seguin is no stranger to this event after claiming second place at last year’s ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres and with only four races left to go before the medal race, is well on his way to gaining another place on the podium.

Megan Pascoe (GBR) rounds off the top three sailors in third place. While a race win also went to Lasse Klötzing (GER) who finished the day in seventh place.

Racing resumes on Friday 24 April at 11:00 hrs local time when sailors will continue to compete for a place on the podium and a chance to claim their share of the €72,000 prize money on Sunday 26 April.

 

Results are available here.

 

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