The favourites dominated the first day of racing in tough conditions at the ISAF Grade 1 Marseille International Match Race.
The sailing conditions faced by the teams were very difficult in spite of the ever present sunshine: 25 knots and heavy seas. In theses conditions, where luck doesn't really come into it, the standing order was respected, so it will not come as a surprise that the three top seeds - Mathieu RICHARD
(FRA), Paolo CIAN
(ITA) and Sébastien COL
(FRA) - won all their races easily.
CIAN, ranked #3 in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings
, sits top of the round robin leaderboard after five victories on Wednesday. Like many of the big names stars, Marseille is his first big test of 2008.
"The MIMR marks our return to competition after a long winter break,"
explained the Italian skipper. "Our performance is motivating and promising for the rest of the regatta and the World Championship. We are always happy to come back to Marseille; this is our third time at the MIMR. The level is constantly rising and we were overjoyed to be invited to this sixth edition. The sailing conditions are tip-top and the organisation - both off-shore and on-shore - is faultless,"
The toughest match of the day was an all-French duel between Philippe PRESTI
and Damien IEHL
- which the former ended up winning. Like CIAN (5-0), RICHARD (4-0) and COL (4-0), PRESTI is still unbeaten, although he only sailed two flights on Wednesday.
Australian youngster Torvar MIRSKY
is competing in Marseille after a terrific first season in Europe last year, highlighted by a victory in France's other ISAF Grade 1 match racing event, the Internationaux de France de Match Racing in Pornichet. He had a mixed start on Wednesday, losing to PRESTI but defeating Andrew ARBUZOV
"This is our first time ever in Marseille and in the MIMR,"
said the 21 year old skipper. "In the training sessions we got to know the sea. A lot of waves, which is unusual for match-racing in Europe. But we like it - it's a lot of fun to sail in these conditions. With these windy conditions, sailing is very physical and we like it!
"Our objective in the MIMR is to sail as well as possible: like at Pornichet we can beat everyone here, but the competition is really tough, the level at the event is really high..."
Results - click here
Marseille International Match Race - www.mimr.fr