Opener at World Cup Series Hyères
Published on April 24th, 2018
Hyères, France (April 24, 2018) – The opening scene at the third round of Sailing’s World Cup Series saw the 647 sailors from 46 nations confront a variable 6-11 knot easterly breeze with a light wind forecast ahead.
After stops in Japan and USA, Hyères offers the final opportunity to qualify for the World Cup Final, which brings together the best of the best from the 2017-18 World Cup Series in the ten Olympic disciplines. The June Finals will be held 90km away in Marseille, home of the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Sixty-four sailors are competing in the Laser Radial fleet, with Paige Railey (USA) getting the best start as she posted a pair of victories in as many races. She is followed by Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Viktorija Andrulyte (LTU).
Similarly, with nine of the world’s top ten Laser racers and the three Rio 2016 Olympic medallists spearheading the fleet, it was Rio 2016 silver medallist Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) who won both the day’s races by huge margins.
“On my first race, I was struggling at the start and kept my main focus in mind,” explained Stipanovic. “My plan was to reach the left side, which I did eventually, and then tack for the mark. It was a good plan and it paid off.
“The second race was good, but I struggled with speed but the guys on the right had more pressure, so I decided to tack and clear to the right side which put me back on top.”
If today wasn’t good enough for the Croatian, he concluded by putting out a further warning to his rivals, “I hope that tomorrow I will be faster.” Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR) follow in second and third.
The 49er features 40 strong teams and Poland’s Dominik Buksak and Szymon Wierzbicki had the best of the day, recording a 3-(5)-1 scoreline. They are tied on four points at the top of the leaderboard with David Gilmour and Joel Turner (AUS).
“We started well and that was the key to winning today. Because the shifts weren’t very big, that allowed us to stay at the front from the beginning of the race,” explained Buksak on the secret to their consistent performance as those around them failed to do so.
“Our opponents were our biggest challenge,” continued Buksak. “We have some top sailors here and it’s a pleasure competing with them. Now that we are on the top, we will try our best to stay there and sail our best throughout the week.”
Although the Australians are tied with the Polish team, they picked up a 27th in the final race of the day, which they discard, meaning they’ll have to have a degree of caution for the rest of the week. “We started off pretty well in all our races,” said Gilmour, “but we found the wind to be quite tricky because weren’t sure of the wind speeds and shifts.
“In our last race, the wind speed just died, and it was tough competing in that. It was quite packed and highly competitive but that’s what makes World Sailing regattas different because you always get larger 49er fleets.”
Turner concluded, “Having a 40-boat fleet, it was tight racing and we couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.”
New Zealand’s Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn follow the leading duo in third.
In the 49erFX, just two races were completed. Denmark’s Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen snapped up both race victories to open up an early five point lead over Norway’s Helene Naess and Marie Rønningen.
In a bid to win his tenth title in the 2.4 Norlin OD in Hyères, Damien Seguin (FRA) could not have had a better start. The Frenchman won two out of two races and was pleased with his performance, “Today was a beautiful day and a great start to competition.
“The first race was good, we had 8 knots, but the second race was quite hard because the wind speed dropped to 6 knots and it was a long race – about an hour.
“I would say that I am quite competitive, and I like to win. That kind of hunger makes me push myself and that is how I win most races.”
Seguin’s compatriots Bruno Jourdren and Xavier Dagault follow in second and third.
The Finn fleet were the last to conclude racing as the breeze began to decrease towards the latter part of the day. Race victories went the way of Nicholas Heiner (NED) who is fifth overall and the second placed overall sailor, Jorge Zarif (BRA). Jonathan Lobert (FRA) sailed his way to a second and third which sees him lead.
Pierre Le Coq (FRA) was in fine form on his home waters in the Men’s RS:X fleet. The Frenchman, Rio 2016 bronze medallist, took two races wins and a fourth and holds a narrow lead over Mengfan Gao (CHN) who won the final race of the day.
Only Gao separates Le Coq from three of his compatriots, Thomas Goyard, Louis Giard and Oël Pouliquen who are firmly in the hunt in third, fourth and fifth respectively.
In the Women’s RS:X, Peina Chen (CHN) and Noga Geller (ISR) are locked on five points each at the top of the pack. Hei Man Chan (HKG) and Maya Morris (ISR) are joint third on eight points apiece.
China’s Mengxi Wei and Haiyan Gao grabbed the early advantage in the Women’s 470 and are two points clear of Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR). Camille Lecointre, Rio 2016 bronze medallist, making her first World Cup appearance with Aloise Retornaz (FRA), won the first race of the day and is third overall.
Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) are top in the Men’s 470 fleet, two points ahead of Hao Lan and Bo Zhou (CHN). Race victories went to Paul Snow Hansen and Dan Wilcox (NZL) and Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi (JPN).
The single Nacra 17 race win went the way of Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface (GBR). They were followed by Ruggero Tita and Caterina Marianna Banti (ITA) and Iker Martinez and Olga Masilvets (ESP).
Canada, Mexico, USA update:
Among the 25 entrants, the highlight is in the Laser Radial with Americans Paige Railey and Erika Reineke in first and fourth, respectively. The other teams in the top 20 are Americans Andrew Mollerus/ Ian MacDiarmid (11 – 49er), Stephanie Roble/ Margaret Shea (13 – 49erFX), Riley Gibbs/ Louisa Chafee (20 – Nacra 17), and Chris Barnard (20 – Laser).
Racing is planned for April 24-29 in Hyères, France.
Medal Races for the 2.4 Norlin OD, 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, and RS:X fleets on Saturday April 28.
Medal Races for the Men’s and Women’s 470, Laser, Laser Radial, and Finn on Sunday April 29.
Teams from Canada, Mexico, and USA:
470 M (1): Stu McNay/ Dave Hughes
470 W (3): Atlantic Brugman/ Nora Brugman (USA), Alison Knoles/ Audrey Franchett (USA), Madeleine Rice/ Laura Slovensky (USA)
49er (3): William Jones/ Evan DePaul (CAN), Alexander Heinzemann/ Justin Barnes (CAN), Andrew Mollerus/ Ian MacDiarmid (USA)
49erFX (2): Erin Rafuse/ Mariah Millen (CAN), Stephanie Roble/ Margaret Shea (USA)
Finn (1): Tom Ramshaw (CAN)
Laser (8): Robert Davis (CAN), Justin Norton (CAN), Fillah Karim (CAN), Yanic Gentry (MEX), Marek Zaleski (USA), Henry Marshall (USA), Charlie Buckingham (USA), Chris Barnard (USA)
Laser Radial (5): Sarah Douglas (CAN), Coralie Vittecoq (CAN), Paige Railey (USA), Erika Reineke (USA), Haddon Hughes (USA)
Nacra 17 (2): Riley Gibbs/ Louisa Chafee (USA), Bora Gulari/ Helena Scutt (USA)
RS:X M (0):
RS:X W (0):
The World Cup Series is an annual circuit of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors, and a key touchpoint for fans and media to connect to the sport of sailing and develop support for athletes on their road to Tokyo 2020 and beyond. Over 2,000 of the world’s leading sailors, representing 75 nations, have competed in the World Cup Series since its inception in 2008.
2017-18 World Cup Series
October 17-22, 2017 – World Cup Series #1 – Gamagori, Japan
January 21-28, 2018 – World Cup Series #2 – Miami, USA
April 24-29, 2018 – World Cup Series #3 – Hyères, France
June 3-10, 2018 – World Cup Series Final – Marseille, France
Source: World Sailing