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19 April 2009, 10:19 pm
Hard Conditions For Opening Day Of Semaine Olympique Francaise
Julio ALSOGARAY from Argentina leads the Laser fleet
Julio ALSOGARAY from Argentina on his way to a first and a second place and the overall lead in the Laser fleet

Semaine Olympique Francaise 2009
Hyeres, France

The 41st Semaine Olympique Francaise, fourth event in the ISAF Sailing World Cup, started with a long day on the water as light and difficult conditions made for some testing opening races.
The light and unstable conditions provided for tricky racing for the 505 teams engaged in the event. Racing was delayed on shore waiting for the sea breeze to wrinkle the bay in Hyeres. Light and shifty from the south east, the wind gradually shifted to the west.

Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR), gold medallists from the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships, mastered the light and shifty winds, winning both races in their 49er group to place in the lead for their first ISAF Sailing World Cup event. After a sixth place at the Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE in Palma, the German duo of Lennart BRIESENICK and Morten MASSMANN collected top three results to place second overall in front of Morgan LAGRAVIERE and Yann ROCHERIEUX (FRA).

Race winners in the other 49er group were taken by Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE winners, Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA), and young British team of Dylan FLETCHER and Alain SIGN.

Henriette KOCH and Lene SOMMER (DEN), leaders of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings for the Women's 470, collected near perfect results with a first and a second. "We have found it very difficult today, with the wind changing all the time in direction and speed. We were happy to be able to keep our focus on the shifts even if it was well passed our dinner time!" explained the Danes. "Of course these are only two races and many things can happen this week."

The second race was taken by Sophie WEGUELIN and Sophie AINSWORTH from Great Britain, who lie fourth overall behind Palma winners, the Austrians Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER, and Gil COHEN and Dana MAMRIEV (ISR).

A second and a first for the newly formed team of Matías BUHLER and Felix STEIGER (SUI) place the Swiss in the lead in the Men's 470 fleet. Harada RYUNOSUKE and Yuugo YOSHIDA from Japan are in second position overall in front of Gabrio ZANDONA (ITA),who is competing with his new 21 year old crew, Eduardo MANCINELLI (ITA), for the first time. MANCINELLI has previously demonstrated his talent in the 420 class by winning the European title in 2007. The Semaine Olympique Française marks the start of the London campaign for the top three teams. ISAF Sailing World Cup leaders, Stuart MCNAY and Graham BIEHL (USA) won the first race and standing in fourth place overall.

After their first regatta together at the Rolex Miami OCR, second event of the World Cup, the new British Star team of John GIMSON and Ed GREIG leads the six-boat Star fleet. Despite opposite backgrounds - GIMSON comes from the Tornado and GREIG from the Finn - they are proving to be well adapted to their new class, winning the first race and placing third in the next.

The day proved long and tedious for the RS:X and Lasers who have experienced long delays, cancellations and postponements. Maayan DAVIDOVICH (ISR) in the Women's RS:X and Veronika FENCLOVA (CZE) in the Laser Radial took the bullet in the only race sailed in their class. Liwei WU (CHN) and Piotr MYSZKA (POL) won their group in the Men's RS:X races.

The Croatian team is having a promising debut in Hyeres with Luka RADELIC, Tonci STIPANOVIC and Aron LOLIC taking second, third and fourth respectively in the Laser Class. Julio ALSOGARAY from Argentina finished first and third to take the lead.

In the Finn class, Gasper VINCEC (SLO), #1 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, is on equal points with Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC from Croatia. They both won a race and scored a second place.

Thierry SCHMITTER (NED) continues on his good form. After winning convincingly at Palma, the Dutch skipper took the only race sailed in the 2.4mR Paralympic fleet.

The day ended late but the sailors were cheered up once on shore with a seafood pasta party!

Unfortunately, this is not the end of these difficult racing conditions, as the same shall be expected on Monday!

ISAF Sailing World Cup

The ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 consists of the following events:

16-21 Dec 2008 - Sail Melbourne The Asia Pacific Regatta, Melbourne, Australia
25-31 Jan 2009 - Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA
4-10 April 2009 - Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma, Spain
18-24 April 2009 - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, France
27-31 May 2009 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands
20-29 June 2009 - Kieler Woche, Kiel, Germany
14-19 Sept 2009 - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, Weymouth, Great Britain

Find out more about the ISAF Sailing World Cup, including more on the seven events, the latest World Cup Standings, the scoring system and the Notice of Series at www.sailing.org/isafsailingworldcup.

Corinne Rolland-McKenzie
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