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22 April 2007, 10:10 pm
Light Airs For Opening Exchanges
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Semaine Olympique Française 2007
Hyères, France

Light and shifty conditions provided for tactical racing for the first day of the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, France. The difficult conditions created surprises out on the race course as the some of the pre-regatta favourites struggled in the light airs.
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In the Yngling class the favourite British teams helmed by Sarah AYTON and Shirley ROBERTSON suffered from the tricky conditions and it is the newly formed team of the Victoria RAWLINSON, Sue MONSON and Emma RAWLINSON (GBR) who created the surprise by winning both of today's races. After sailing with AYTON last year, Victoria RAWLINSON, who won the 2000 ISAF Youth Worlds with her sister Emma, started a new campaign at the helm of her boat last September. The new British team was fast to find its pace this year after placing eighth in the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR and tenth in the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy.

"It was our kind of conditions today, so we wanted to nail some races,' said MONSON. 'Our preparation has not been great as Emma has been unwell, but we're confident now about our speed. You can learn from winning as well as losing, so we'll take all the good points from our performance today and hopefully we can manage to keep the momentum going for the rest of the week."

In the Tornado, newly crowed European Champions Iordanis PASHALIDES and Konstantinos TRIGONIS (GRE) lead the fleet after sailing consistently with seventh and fourth place finishes. Double Olympic Champions Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER (AUT) are in tenth place and, like AYTON and ROBERTSON, are being outdone by their less well known team mates. Thomas ZAJAC and CZAJKA (AUT) lie second, with World Champions and world #1s Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) in third position.

Poland Leads 470s

In the Men's 470, two of the favourites are down the fleet after a disappointing first day. 2006 ISAF World Sailing Games champions, Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) are well down in 107th place and Miami winners Nick ROGERS and Joe GLANFIELD (GBR) are 86th after underperforming in the first race and collecting penalties on the start line in the second. Today's races were won by Patryk PIASECKI and Kacper ZIEMINSKI (POL), regatta leaders, the French teams of Nicolas CHARBONNIER and Olivier BAUSSET and Pierre LEBOUCHER and Vincent GAROS, third in Palma. T

Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Laser Radial
Men's 470
Women's 470
2.4 Metre

In the women's fleet, it was a great day for Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA). The Italians, tenth in the Princess Sofia regatta and #10 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings dominated the fleet by winning the first race and placing behind second race winners, the Chinese Yemei WEN and Chunyan YU, who lie 15th overall. Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX (FRA) are in second place overall.

Only one race was completed in the Lasers split into four groups. The Croatians Tonci STIPANOVIC and Milan VUJASINOVIC won a race in two groups. Other victories were claimed by Athens silver medallist, Andreas GERITZER (AUT) and Palma winner Julio ALSOGARAY (ARG).

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The Tornado fleet on day one

More Surprises

Racing in the Laser Radial did not favour the class favourites. Jo ALEH (NZL) took the lead of the scoreboard with a bullet and a fourth. She is on equal points with Charlotte BLON (FRA), with Katarzyna PIC (POL) third overall.

Dan SLATER (NZL) leads the Finns with three points (2,1) in front of Florian RAUDASCHL (AUT) and current World Champion Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN), who is third after winning the first race and scoring five points in the second.

There are tight results in the Women's RS:X fleet with Blanca MANCHON (ESP) and Bryony SHAW (GBR) sharing the top place on equal points. Only point behind is Lise VIDAL (FRA), who also won the first race. The top eight windsurfers are within seven points of each others. The Hong Kong sailborders Chi Ho HO and King Yin CHAN are leading the men's fleet. Tom ASHLEY (NZL) is also right on the pace, whilst last year's winner, Casper BOUMAN (NED) is in 58th position.

Palma winner ASHLEY was delighted with his 4,2 start, especially with so many inconsistent performances elsewhere, 'All but one of my main rivals had at least one bad race today which puts me in a great position for the rest of the regatta."

In the 49ers, European Champions Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) won the first race and placed fourth in the second to lead the fleet. The British team have just claimed the title in the Princess Sofia regatta and placed second in Miami. Federico ALONSO and Arturo ALONSO (ESP) are in second place.

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It was a close start for the
Women's RS:X fleet

No surprise in the 2.4 Metre where two races were successfully completed. Thierry SCHMITTER (NED) leads in front of Jens Als ANDERSEN (DEN) and Damien SEGUIN (FRA). Helena LUCAS (GBR) is placed fourth on equal points.

A unique race was disputed in the Sonar class which sailing in the SOF for the first time. The Israeli boats helmed by Avi ZUR and Shimon Ben YAKOV, take the top two places.

Thirty-five races were completed today after a two hour postponement waiting for the sea breeze. The weather forecast is suggesting the same conditions and sailing should be tricky again tomorrow.

Record entries have been reached for the 39th edition of the SOF with 920 boats from 58 nations. Racing continues through the week with the Medal Races set for Friday.

For a complete list of all the news from the Semaine Olympique Française 2007 CLICK HERE.

The Semaine Olympique Française will be included in the first running of the ISAF World Cup© series for the Olympic Classes. For more on the ISAF World Cup© CLICK HERE.

Corinne McKenzie (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The 2007 SOF is underway:© Guilain GRENIER/FFV
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