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23 April 2008, 11:36 pm
Testing Conditions For Final Stages In Hyères
Racing in Hy?res
It was a testing day four in Hyères

Semaine Olympique Française 2008
Hyères, France

The wind tested the skills of the Racing Committee and sailors on the first day of finals at the 40th ISAF Grade 1 SOF in Hyères.
On the fourth day of this year's Semaine Olympique Française, some top names scored big points while light wind specialists were able to show their full potential. The race inside the race, for national Olympic selection, intensified between some teams. Thursday will see the last opportunity to qualify for the Medal Races.

It was a totally different day this morning in Hyères with the palm trees slightly moving with the remains of a dying Mistral! The wind shifted all day from the southwest to the east growing into a sea breeze by mid-afternoon. Regatta PRO, Ion ECHAVE had already announced in the early team leader's meeting that the day could be unpredictable. The intention of the Race Committees to start two to three races in each class could take all day and it did. Starting on time at 11:00, the 45 races, run in the six racing areas, ended 8 hours later! The committees spent the day moving the marks around to follow the wind.

It was a great day for the Australians and the Dutch, who are leading in four classes. Sarah BLANCK (AUS) increased her lead in the Laser Radial with two second places, while World champions and world #1 crew Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) claimed top position in the Tornado with two bullets. Jessica CRISP (AUS) reached third place overall in the RS:X women after winning the first race and scoring two points in the next. Casper BOUMAN (NED) seems to have finally adapted to lighter air to maintain his advantage in the RS:X men fleet with a fourth and a second while in the 470 men, a first and a second place lifts Sven COSTER and Kalle COSTER (NED) to the top of the leaderboard.

Three races completed in the Yngling class see little change in the leading trio. However, the Russian battle for selection intensifies with the teams of Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Natalia IVANOVA (RUS) and Anna BASALKINA, Vladislava UKRAINCEVA and Ekaterina MAXIMOVA (RUS) neck to neck in sixth and seventh position.

Japanese duo Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA lead the 470 women fleet. Previous leaders Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX (FRA) collected high scores and have dropped down to tenth overall.

There was also a change of leadership in the Finn, Laser and 49er classes. World #1 Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN takes control in the Finn, Tim WADLOW and Christopher RAST (USA) in the 49er, whilst in the Laser mixed results for the leaders reverse the leading trio putting Andrew MURDOCH (NZL) top. Regatta favourites Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) and Paul GOODISON (GBR) are underperforming in 16th and 25th position.

Some top names didn't make the cut into the gold fleet this morning. In the 470 men, Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) could not discard an earlier disqualification after a starboard incident with a Russian boat and raced in the silver fleet. British 49er sailors Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES who had twice suffered from gear failure could not come back high enough up the leaderboard with only four races sailed and no discard. Consequently the 2008 World Championship silver medallists missed the gold fleet and decided to end their regatta to go home and rest. The same decision was made by Athens gold medallist Faustine MERRET (FRA) after a slow start to the regatta in the Women's RS:X fleet.

Amongst the sailors aiming for this year's Paralympic Games, the third racing day in the regatta confirmed the British domination of John ROBERTSON, Hannah STODEL and Stephen THOMAS who have added two more victories in the Sonar. Damien SEGUIN's (FRA) double first place in the 2.4 Metre keeps him ahead of the fleet. Heiko KRÖGER (GER) has discarded an OCS to jump to second overall, only two points away from SEGUIN.

Racing will resume on Thursday in all 11 events.
Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Laser Radial
Men's 470
Women's 470
2.4 Metre

Semaine Olympique Fran?aise -

Corinne Rolland-McKenzie
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