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23 April 2007, 10:22 pm
Favourites Fight Back
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Semaine Olympique Française 2007
Hyères, France

The sailing conditions were again challenging on day two of the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, but in contrast to the opening races, this time it was the more familiar names that fared best in the light winds. A light and shifty sea breeze made for tough racing across the Bay of Hyères and the general pattern saw the pre-regatta favourites climbing back up the leaderboards.
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Two races sailed in the Lasers resulted in an Australian attack on the top spot with Sydney bronze medallist and current World Champion Michael BLACKBURN (AUS) leading team mate, world #2 and 2006 SOF winner leading Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) by two points. The young Russian Igor LISOVENKO won both races today to climb up to third place overall. The 19 year old has already proved his talent at last year's Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, where he won the bronze medal in Weymouth.

Brits Hold On To 49er Lead

In the 49er, Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) maintained their good form claiming another victory. They increase their overall lead to 13 points over Athens gold medallists Iker MARTINEZ and Xavi FERNANDEZ (ESP).

"It was a pretty long, hard day,' said MORRISON. 'There have been quite long delays in getting out on the water - but I think generally we do a pretty good job switching off when we need to and switching our focus back on ready for when the racing starts."

Emil TOFT NIELSEN and Simon TOFT NIELSEN (DEN) are in third place. The young Danish team revealed they had taken some advice before the start from their training partners, Peter HANSEN and Soren HANSEN (DEN). 'We got some good tips and tricks from them, especially the tactics for the races.' And they proved to be right as both teams collected top six results for the day's races.

Results
Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Laser
Laser Radial
Men's 470
Women's 470
49er
Finn
Tornado
Yngling
2.4 Metre
Sonar

Only one race was completed in the RS:X. Bryony SHAW (GBR), world #2 leads after a second bullet scored today in light air. She is one point ahead of Blanca MANCHON (ESP), with Jian YIN (CHN), silver medallist in the Mistral in Athens, in third place after winning her group.

In the men's fleet, ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy winner and World Championship runner up Tom ASHLEY (NZL) won the day's only race and leads overall by two points from King Yin CHAN (HKG). They have both increased their lead over the rest of the fleet, with the chasing pack led by Samuel LAUNAY (FRA) in third place. The race began late in the day in a light 4-7 knot breeze, with ASHLEY starting well and then getting the better of Piotr MYSZKA (POL) on the final downwind to score the bullet.

ASHLEY was pleased with his form in the light conditions, "I'm going really well in the light wind. Physically I feel great and so far I've been sailing really well. I'm looking forward to probably one or two more days of light air then some breeze for the last couple of days of the event."

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Action from the 49er course
© Guilain Grenier/FFV

The favourites are slowly but steadily climbing back in the Yngling fleet. World Champions Monica AZON, Sandra AZON and Graciela PISONERO (ESP) climbed five places up to sixth while Sally BARKOW (USA) and her team are now in fourth. The German team of Ulrike SCHUEMANN have progressed into the top three while two Russian teams lead the 29-boat fleet. The 'light' team of Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Alexandra SOKOLOVA (RUS) enjoyed their favoured conditions winning the first race and placing seventh in the second to move top on the regatta scoreboard. Anna BASALKINA, Ekaterina MAXIMOVA and Vlada UKRAINSTSERA (RUS) are second overall after winning of the day's last race.

Young Stars Shine In 470s

The young Polish 470 team of Patryk PIASECKI and Kacper ZIEMINSKI are causing a stir by excelling in the Men's 470 fleet. They added another bullet to their excellent scoring and lead Pierre LEBOUCHER and Vincent GAROS (FRA) by four points. The French team wins the unique race sailed in their group. In third place, Gustavo MARTINEZ and Dimas WOOD (ESP) confirmed their good results collected at the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR where they finished third.

In the Women's 470 Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) increased their lead while 2006 European Champions Stefanie ROTHWEILER and Vivien KUSSATZ (GER) climbed from fifth to second place. Camille LECOINTRE and Gwendolyn LEMAITRE (FRA) are placed third. Today's race win went to the Israeli team of Adi GILBOA and Vered BOUSKILA. They are placed in fifth overall, just behind the Ukrainian boat helmed by 470 expert Ruslana TARAN.

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The 49ers
© Guilain Grenier/FFV

In the Finn, the fleet is dominated by class favourites. World Champion Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN) has shown his usual consistency in collecting top five results to lead the fleet comfortably. Ed WRIGHT (GBR), 2006 European Champion and 2006 SOF winner also sailed consistently to climb to second place. Marin MISURA (CRO), winner in Palma is in third place. Today's race win went to Pieter-Jan POSTMA (NED).

Trouble For BUNDOCK And ASHBY

It was a great day in the Tornado fleet for European Champions Iordanis PASHALIDES and Konstantinos TRIGONIS (GRE), whose 6,2 scores moved them into an 11 point overall lead. World #1s Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) tumbled down the leaderboard after posting 19,26 results. In the Laser Radial, Elin Maria SAMDAL (NOR) holds the overall lead on 13 points, with Jo ALEH (NZL) second and Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) moving up to third following a bullet in race 4.

Jens Als ANDERSEN (DEN) leads the 2.4 Metre fleet, whilst two-time IFDS World Champions John ROBERTSON, Hannah STODEL and Stephen THOMAS (GBR) assumed the lead in the Paralympic Sonar class. The Brits went top with the help of 3,2 from their two races, and aided by the two Israeli teams in the class not taking to the water today due to it being a national holiday.

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, Tight and tactical in the Yngling fleet on day two:© Guilain Grenier/FFV
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