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26 April 2001, 08:40 am
Strong Showing From Team GBR
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Semaine Olympique Francaise

British 49er And 470 Crews Maintain Advantage With Two Days Remaining
With only limited information available from the organisers we once agin bring you Nigel Cherie's report of the British assault on the regatta.

Great Britain's sailors continued to make their presence known at the Hyeres Olympic Classes Regatta on the French Mediterranean coast today, with Team GBR crews jostling for the lead in the men's 470 fleet while Paul Brotherton and Simon Hiscocks retained their position at the top of the 49er class scoreboard.

Although the 470 class Gold and Silver Medallists from Sydney are absent from Hyeres and many suspect will retire from the class, the balance of the top five in the world are competing this week.

A first and second place today from World Class funded sailors Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield moves them into the lead with two days of racing left to decide who will win the first ISAF grade one multiclass regatta of the new four year cycle. A top three here would be their first ever medal at a significant Olympic class regatta and a perfect launch pad into the new four-year cycle towards Athens.

"It was a boat speed race today," explained Joe. "The main thing was to keep it simple. Nick found some clean lanes out of the start, we didn't tack too much and stayed out of trouble".

But leading the pursing pack are Graham Vials and Dan Newman, who have put together a very competitive series and are second overall, 14 points adrift. Although they suffered from two poor starts in both of today's races, exceptional upwind boat speed propelled them through the fleet to a third and fourth by the finish. "The partnership is working well," commented crew Dan Newman, "and the best thing is we have a long list of things to work on which will hopefully make us go even faster".

After their second and third positions in this morning's two races, Paul Brotherton and Simon Hiscocks looked to go one step closer to sowing up this regatta with a race in hand until their third place in this afternoon's race was deemed OCS. Encouragingly, they led the second race this afternoon in a dying breeze (their flat sails are suited towards stronger winds) but the race was abandoned due to a lack of breeze. There are four races left to decide the series with Brotherton and Hiscocks needing suitable results in three to clinch the top step of the podium.

In the Finn class, Andrew Simpson has slipped to fourth overall but already has a better picture of the areas that will make a difference to his performance. He will enlist the help of friend and Sydney Olympic Finn Champion Iain Percy in the coming weeks to work on downwind speed where substantial gains can be made.

Racing continues tomorrow and concludes on Friday.
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