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2 October 2005, 01:35 pm
France Takes The Spoils At Opening European RS:X Regatta
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RS:X Cadiz Race 2005
Cadiz, Spain

Olympic gold medallist Faustine MERRET (FRA) and Mistral World Champion Nicolas HUGUET (FRA) took the spoils in Spain as the RS:X Cadiz Race drew to a close this afternoon. With over 100 windsurfers competing, the event is by far the largest for the new RS:X board to date and has provided a fascinating glimpse at the future of Olympic windsurfing.
The men´s fleet lined up for the first race with ten knots from 285° at the warning signal. After one general recall the fleet launched into an ´O´ course, with a large number of the competitors starting off at the pin end.

Yesterday´s double race winner Nicolas HUGUET (FRA) was right on the pace again, rounding the top mark in second, just behind Joeri VAN DIJK (NED). It was Holland Regatta winner VAN DIJK who held on to his lead to score the opening bullet of the day and move within a point of HUGUET, whose second place meant he just held on to his overall lead.

Reflecting on the race VAN DIJK described his victory, 'A lot of people started at the pin end, but I was closer to the boat, I had good acceleration at the start so I had some free wind over there. I made a nice upwind to the left and was first at the upwind mark and then I could plane the whole reach, the whole downwind so nobody passed me, and on the second upwind I again went to the left. It was alright there, there was some wind and only FRA 8 (HUGUET) came a little bit closer, but on the downwind I was able to finish the race.'

With the two highest placed blue fleet sailors scoring first and second in the opening race the pressure switched to their nearest challengers, Max

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Blanca MANCHON opened
the day with a bullet in race one
WOJCIK (POL) and Nicolas LE GAL (FRA) in the other men´s fleet.

Before they began however the third women´s race got underway, with Mistral and Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion Blanca MANCHON (ESP) making up for an eleventh in yesterday´s second race with a victory. Establishing a clear gap after heading right on the first leg she consolidated her lead to score her first win in the RS:X. Great Britain´s Christine JOHNSTON (GBR) crossed in second, ahead of Agata BRYGOLA (POL).

There was further French joy in the first race of the men´s red fleet as Nicolas GUYADER (FRA) and Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) secured a one-two ahead of Ivan PASTOR (ESP). LE GAL came in fourth to stay within touching distance of HUGUET and VAN DIJK, although WOJCIK dropped back after coming in 19th.

BONTEMPS followed his second place in race one with a bullet ahead of Tom ASHLEY (NZL), whilst in the second race in the other men´s fleet Maxim OBEREMKO (UKR) proved he is learning quickly on the new rig, with a bullet to add to a third place in race four after finishes of 14,17,18 yesterday. After five races and counting one discard, HUGUET held a one point lead over VAN DIJK, with both LE GAL and WOJCIK within five points of the lead.

After 2005 ISAF Youth World Champion MANCHON´s win in the first women´s race of the day, it was the turn of the bronze and silver medallists in the second, with Laura LINARES (ITA) scoring victory over Anne-Sophie LE PAGE (FRA).

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Maxim OBEREMKO came back
strongly today

With yesterday´s two winners Bryony SHAW (GBR) and Flavia TARTAGLINI (ITA) both struggling in the race three, fourth and eighth place for Olympic Champion Faustine MERRET (FRA) was enough for her to extend her overall lead to five points, with MANCHON moving up to tie with SHAW for second, after she followed her win with a ninth in race four. TARTAGLINI recovered with a third in race four to stay within one point of second place along with Bulgaria´s Irina KONSTANTINOVA.

The fleets then returned to the shore, whilst out on the course the wind dropped to around three to four knots and failed to pick up again, bringing the day´s racing and the opening European RS:X event to a close.

For both of the winners, their performance on Saturday proved decisive, and although both VAN DIJK and MANCHON launched strong challenges today, neither could do quiet enough to claim the top spot. For MANCHON there was the added consolation of finishing as the top youth sailor, whilst in the men´s fleet that honour went to Federico ESPOSITO (ITA) in ninth place overall.

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Mike GEBHARDT gives a
little advice on setting up
As well as the action on the water the RS:X Cadiz Race has also seen plenty going on behind the scenes. Two-time Olympic medallist Mike GEBHARDT (USA) has played a important role in the development of the RS:X board and now represents male sailors on the RS:X Management team. He has been in Cadiz over the weekend, conducting a clinic with the competitors on Saturday morning and taking part in meetings with both sailors and coaches.

As one of the keenest windsurfing brains around, he was quick to notice what he considers to be some of the keys issues for success on the new board. At the end of racing on Sunday he commented on what he had seen, 'the downhaul and outhaul settings are very critical for this board - you can´t just jump on it and sail it,' he explained, 'This board very specifically needs the right amount of power and you can´t go over and you can´t go under, that was the biggest thing I noticed.'

For the large number of the competitors who are now setting their sights on the Raceboard World Championship, where racing begins again in Cadiz on Tuesday, GEBHARDT´s words will be carefully heeded as the learning curve continues.

Top Ten Men´s Results

Pos Nation Last name R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Pts
1 FRA Nicolas HUGUET 1 3 1 2 (6) 7
2 NED Joeri VAN DIJK 3 2 2 1 (5) 8
3 FRA Nicolas LE GAL 4 1 2 4 (15) 11
4 POL Max WOJCIK 2 3 1 (19) 6 12
5 GBR Nick DEMPSEY 1 (10) 7 5 2 15
6 FRA Julien BONTEMPS 13 (OCS) 4 2 1 20
7 GBR Leo MCCALLIN 6 11 4 4 (13) 25
8 FRA Samuel LAUNAY 4 7 (26) 7 7 25
9 ITA Federico ESPOSITO 3 4 13 6 (18) 26
10 POL Piotr MYSZKA 7 (27) 5 10 4 26

Top Ten Women´s Results

Pos Nation Last name R1 R2 R3 R4 Pts
1 FRA Faustine MERRET 3 3 4 8 18
2 ESP Blanca MANCHON 2 11 1 9 23
3 GBR Bryony SHAW 7 1 9 6 23
4 ITA Flavia TARTAGLINI 1 6 14 3 24
5 BUL Irina KONSTANTINOVA 5 10 5 4 24
6 FRA Anne-Sophie LE PAGE 8 14 8 2 32
7 ISR Lee KORSITS 12 7 12 10 41
8 UKR Olga MASLIVETS 4 4 19 15 42
9 POL Zofia KLEPACKA 9 5 17 12 43
10 ITA Laura LINARES 19 16 15 1 51
ISAF. Image, RS:X racing in full flight:© ISAF
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