Sarah Douglas takes the Gold in Hyeres

Published on April 29th, 2023

Sarah Douglas from Toronto, Canada won the gold medal in ILCA 6 at the French Olympic Week sailing competition, the 54th Semaine Olympique Française de Hyères, which ended today in Hyères, France. The 2023 edition ran from April 22-29.

Throughout the week of competition, the Canadian Tokyo 2020 Olympian took the lead over the first two races of the event, before slipping back into second position after three races. But she regained first place and never looked back after that, closing out the competition with a 10th-place result in the medal race.

With 74 points, Douglas finished just ahead of Tokyo 2020 and 2022 ILCA 6 World Championship gold medalist Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark, who earned 75 points. Casey Imeneo from Australia won the bronze medal in this ILCA 6 event, which involved five of the six medalists from Tokyo 2020 and the ILCA 6 2022 World Championships.

“I’m super happy to come away with the win in Hyères,” said Douglas. “I came to France with specific goals in mind and I’m happy that I was able to achieve them. To step on the podium is the cherry on top!”

“That was quite a battle in the medal race today and I definitely didn’t make it easy on myself. But because I was guaranteed a silver medal, for all intents and purposes it was a match race for the gold. I raced her to the back and I tried to slow her down, which worked in my favor and was the plan.

“I was a bit nervous going into the medal race. Anne Marie (Rindom) is an incredible sailor with all the experience in the world, so I knew she had been in this kind of situation before. It was new for me, but I kept with the plan, kept cool and kept pushing until the very end to walk away with the gold medal.”

This is the second time over the past year that Sarah Douglas has won a major international event. In April 2022, she finished first at the World Sailing World Cup that was held as part of the Princess Sofia Trophy in Spain.

Sarah Douglas has qualified to be nominated for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and the 2023 Sailing World Championships, to be held in August, which in turn will both serve as quota spot qualifiers for Paris 2024, as well as for the 2024 Olympic Games Test Event.

In 49erFX, Ali ten Hove (Kingston, ON-KYC) and Mariah Millen (Toronto-RCYC) finished 13th overall in the event, which included three medalist teams from Tokyo 2020 and the 2022 49erFX World Championships.

The Canadian team was fifth after the first five races before falling back into 16th place after nine races. They closed the event in 13th place following the 13 races that were held throughout the week.

“We sailed a strong qualifying series which we were happy with,” said ten Hove and Millen. “We were sitting in fifth place heading into final gold fleet racing, but we struggled to find pace in the light wind conditions and to figure out the tricky tactical shifts. Overall, we are happy with the progress we made at this regatta as we continue to focus on our process goals!”

Odile Van Aanholt and Annette Duetz from the Netherlands, who were the 2022 49erFX World Championship gold medalists, finished first, followed by Jana Germani and Giorgia Bertuzzi from Italy, and Isaura Maenhaut and Anouk Geurts from Belgium.

The other Canadian team in action, Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance from Chester, N.S. (RNSYS/CYC), finished in 20th position.

Like Douglas, ten Hove and Millen qualified to be nominated for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and the 2023 Sailing World Championships, to be held in August, – which in turn will both serve as quota spot qualifiers for Paris 2024 -, as well as for the 2024 Olympic Games Test Event.

The Lewin-LaFrance team also qualified to be nominated for the 2023 Sailing World Championships.

Canadian results at the 2023 French Olympic Week competition:

ILCA 6 (/94)
GOLD Sarah Douglas (Toronto, ON, ABYC)
73. Clara Gravely (Toronto, ON-ABYC)

49erFX (/50)
13. Ali ten Hove (Kingston, ON) & Mariah Millen (Toronto, ON) – Kingston YC/RCYC
20. Antonia & Georgia Lewin-LaFrance (Chester, N.S.) – RNSYS/CYC

49er (/72)
23. William Jones (Jerseyville, ON-RHYC) & Justin Barnes (Pickering, ON-RCYC)

ILCA 7 (/155)
82. Ben Flower (Tobermory, ON-Tobermory YC)
124. Norman Struthers (Toronto, ON-RCYC)

Kiteboarding (M/H) (/91)
64. Logan Sutherland (Toronto, ON)

Kiteboarding (W/F) (/50)
44. Marie-Ève Mayrand (Calgary, AB)

About Sail Canada
Established in 1931, Sail Canada is the national governing body for the sport of sailing in the country. Sail Canada is a leading international sailing nation, proud of its world class athletes, lifelong participants and inclusive culture. The organization and its members are committed to excellence by developing and training its leaders, athletes, sailors, instructors, coaches and officials.

With the valued support from our partners, the Provincial Sailing Associations and our member clubs, schools, organizations and stakeholders, sailing is promoted in all its forms. By setting standards and delivering programs from home pond to podium for Canadians of all ages and abilities, from dinghies to keelboats, cruising to navigation, windsurfing to powerboating and accessible sailing, Sail Canada sets sail for all, sail to win and sail for life.

A sport in the Olympic program since the first Games in 1896, except in 1904, the pursuit of success in these Games is what fuels the focus of Sail Canada as Canadian athletes have so far achieved nine Olympic and five Paralympic medals.

Source: Sail Canada

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