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22 April 2012, 06:49 pm
Winners Take All On Opening Day In Hyéres
Sven And Kalle Koster Riding High On Opening Day
Sven And Kalle Koster Riding High On Opening Day

Semaine Olympique Francaise
Hyeres, France

The first day of the Semaine Olympique Française, fourth event on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit, started in high gear with a strong winds and athletic racing conditions.
Today was a "winners take all" with breeze lovers making the most of the conditions with double bullets common amongst the fleets.

Julien Bontemps (FRA) excelled again in the breeze winning the day's two Men's RS:X races after claiming the World title in the same windy conditions. Toni Wilhelm (GER) sailed to similar a standard and collected two bullets in his group. The Polish windsurfers are not far behind, Piotr Myska and Przemek Miarczynski placed second twice in their respective group.

Li Ling (CHN) claimed the day with two victories in the Women's RS:X fleet. The SOF is the first SWC event this year for the Chinese sailor. Moana Delle (GER) and Chaline Picon (FRA) are in second and third.

Sailors from Down Under enjoyed the conditions in the Lasers. World #1 and World Champion Tom Slingsby (AUS) made the most of the day taking the bullets in his group's two races while Andy Maloney (NZL) dominates his group with two wins. Andrew Murdoch (NZL) takes third position.

Croatia's Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic raced to perfection winning two races and the lead in the Men's 470. "It was all about the speed and we had great speed today. Obviously we made good use of the four days spent here before the event, we practised in the strong winds here and it paid off," explained the Croatians. The other races went to the Koster brothers (NED) and Nicolas Charbonnier and Jeremie Mion (FRA).

Only one race was sailed for the Yellow group in the 49er. Starting the race with 18 knots, the 49er fleet had problems finishing the race when the wind increased to 28 knots and the water transformed to a steep chop. Only 11 boats finished the race with young French team of Julien D'Ortoli and Noe Delpech (FRA) ahead.

The day belonged to Alison Young (GBR) in the Laser Radial, the athletic British sailor gave it all in the Laser Radial winning both races. Krystal Weir (AUS) and Charlotte Dobson (GBR) won a race each to place in second and third position.

"The racing got pretty full on today with the breeze kicking up,"
said Young. "It made the downwinds good fun and made for a good old hike off upwind, but the last three days of training we've had out here have given us a good bit of breeze to get for this week so the preparation has gone well."

In the Finn, young Estonian Deniss Karpak (EST) showed his form in the breeze taking both races and the lead over Athens 2004 silver medallist Rafa Trujillo (ESP) and Laser Olympic medallist Vasilij Zbogar (SLO).

Megan Pascoe (GBR) and Helena Lucas (GBR) got the top two places in the only race completed in the 2.4mR. Damien Seguin (FRA) placed third while Thierry Schmitter (NED) lost an early lead when his boat filled with water on the last downwind leg. He is among eight boats not to finish the race.

"It was a really solid start and it's nice to have a windy Hyeres again as it's been a while.

"Both me and Helena were going really, really well today - I had the pace upwind, she had the pace downwind but we both had the pace over the whole fleet, so something is going right in training! It does show that the trials are working and I think we'll get the best boat to the Games at the end of it," explained Megan Pascoe.

In the SKUD, Australians Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch won the day's race. And in the Star and Sonar, racing was cancelled.

Only three flights were completed in the Women Match-Racing with the Americans Tunnicliffe and Barkow winning all their games. The lost matches will be added to tomorrow's programme starting at 09:30 local time.

Three races will be scheduled for all classes on Monday with four for the 49er Blue group who will start at 10:00.

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