Giles Scott Swoops Into Finn Lead At ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères
Giles Scott (GBR) on top form
©Claire ADB / ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
Competition at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères heated up on the fourth day as the Final Series came to the midway point.
The big winds that were forecast never truly came true as a shifty 14-15 knot breeze prevailed across the six race courses that host ten Olympic and two Paralympic events.
Giles Scott (GBR) swooped into the Finn lead after an excellent day on the water that included a bullet and a second. After 12 sailors were black flagged in Race 5, including early front runners Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), Scott benefited largely to open up a five point advantage over compatriot Andrew Mills (GBR).
"A first and a second - I couldn't really ask for much more than that," said Scott. "There were a few of the guys who'd been up there all week got a black flag in that second race as well, which is helping us out a little bit but I'd imagine it's still pretty tight up at the top."
Scott very rarely lets an advantage slip shown by taking gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma and he remains on course to make it a World Cup double, "The approach is much the same really," he added, "just trying to be consistently up at the top. There's still the double Medal Races to go, as well as two more gold fleet races before that, so we'll see. I'll just try and take it steady like I did today."
Postma had led overnight but slipped down to fourth overall after being black flagged and is ten points behind Scott at the top, "Giles is sailing steady and fast," said Postma. "Downwind he has a got an edge. There were three OCS in the top five so that has influence. It's still all close but [Andrew] Mills and Giles have an edge now with a five point lead or so and it's all to play for tomorrow."
The Dutchman finished behind Scott in Palma and knows where he has to improve to beat the Brit, "I've struggled with my technique and my speed is a little bit off. I'm happy with my strategy and starts but I feel it's not come together yet. Later on in the season if it comes together with the starts and the strategy then I'll be really happy."
Andrew Mills (GBR) won the days other race to climb to second overall whilst New Zealand's Josh Junior (NZL) rounds off the top three.
Across the Nacra 17 fleet there is a blend of female and male helms with sailors finding out what works best for them. A formula that is working well is Switzerland's male helm, Matias Buhler and female crew Nathalie Brugger who picked up two seconds and a third to move into the lead. On what works best Brugger said, "The Dutch would say its girls crewing and maybe I understand why they thought that because it's quite physical but a boy being a skipper is really good for the start because they are quite aggressive.
"It's hard to say which balance is right but I am happy with the boy skippering as he's doing an awesome job on the starts."
Buhler and Brugger bring very little multihull experience into their Nacra 17 campaign as Buhler previously campaigned in the Men's 470 and Brugger sailed Laser Radial at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Nonetheless they are working well and find themselves at the top, "For us it's a bit surprising as it's only our second regatta in this boat and we've both sailed Olympic boats before but not really catamaran experience and we're happy to be here.
"We just want to learn as much as we can in this boat and we still have to try things. If we get a podium we are happy but it was not the goal of this regatta."
Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) are second in the Nacra 17 whilst overnight leaders Tim Shuwalow and Hanna Klinga (SWE) drop to third.
An eighth and a fourth by some team's standards would be a job well done on the water, but not for Women's 470 World #1 pair Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) who by their own admission struggled on the water, "Today was so difficult for us," said Oliveira. "We made some mistakes at the beginning of the first race and it took a long time to get better during the race so we finished eighth and fourth in the second.
"The wind was changing a lot, shifting and different from yesterday. Even if it was the same direction it was changing to the other side so it was a little bit hard to understand how everything was going."
Oliveira and Barbachan maintained their eight point lead as France's Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron moved up to second overall and the Brazilians remain focused on the task ahead, "Tomorrow we need two good races and let's see what happens," added Oliveira. "We need to think about the two races tomorrow and then we'll think about the Medal Races."
In the Men's 470 Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) made it three wins from four races in the Final Series to open up a nine point lead over Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre (FRA).
Despite only stepping back into the Laser Radial for ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères Marit Bouwmeester (NED) has taken the overall lead after a second and a bullet and is simply enjoying her time back on the water, "I had a really fun battle with Alison [Young] and it was just a lot of fun being out there," said Bouwmeester. "I'm still a bit wild with everything so I'm just focusing on myself and seeing if I can get back to the level I left at the Games."
Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) continues to hold off the Brazilian charge in the form of Bruno Fontes and Robert Scheidt in the Laser whilst a bullet for World #1 Laser sailor Tom Burton (AUS) has brought him into contention for the medals.
Louis Giard (FRA) and Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) shared the spoils in the Men's RS:X with a bullet and a second each. Giard has a two point lead over the Polish London 2012 bronze medallist whilst Spain's Ivan Pastor is within touching distance in third.
Making it a top day of French RS:X racing was Charline Picon who fended off Bryony Shaw (GBR). Blanca Manchon (ESP) moves into third.
Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook (GBR) backed their double bullets on the third day up with consistent sailing to maintain their lead. However in Race 7 a victory from World #2 pair Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) pulled them to within one point of the Brits.
Very much like the third day Carlos and Anton Paz had two good races at the front of the 49er fleet and one towards the rear. Discarding an 18th and taking a bullet and a third they move to the top of leader board, one point ahead of Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) and four ahead of ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma winners Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER).
Friday 26 April is the penultimate day of racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères as sailors fight for the top spots ahead of Saturday's Medal and Stadium Races.
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