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26 April 2005, 09:55 am
High Winds
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Semaine Olympique Française 2005
Hyères, France

The second day of racing in the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française saw more strong winds and some of the favourites struggling to make an impact.
With the prevailing Mistral wind increasing throughout the day, racing was at its most athletic on the water.

The 2.4 opened the ball yesterday with two races sailed in flat water and increasing Mistral. Helena LUCAS from Great Britain is leading the fleet in style after scoring two bullets. Fellows Brits, Allan SMITH and Valerie MILLWARD are occupying second and third positions.

It was the first day on the water for the Finn class as well after they missed out on the breeze on Sunday. Class favourite Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) is continuing his good form with a first and third place today. Athens silver medallist, and ISAF World Sailing Rankings' number one, Rafael TRUJILLO (ESP) is not far behind after scoring a second and a third. Yesterday's second race went to Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN from Denmark.

A first and a second meant Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ (GER) claimed the top of the leaderboard after yesterday's races in the Tornado class. The French pair of Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON are in second position, four points ahead of Britain's Rob WILSON and Mark BULKELEY. Mitch BOOTH and his son Taylor, mastered a fourth position in their first regatta together in the Tornado. Struggling in seventh are Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER (AUT). The Olympic champions are in Hyères looking to regain their spot at the top of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, but have made it tough for themselves, finishing 13 in race one although they recovered to a more respectable 6 in the day's second race.

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Racing is tight in the Tornados
© Gilles Martin Raget/FF Voile
Another pair recovering after a bad start were Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP), who won the second race of the day after a DNF in the first. Class newcomers Carolijn BROUWER and Sebastien GODEFROID (BEL) struggled in the first race to place 14 but managed a creditable seventh position in the second. 'We took a bad start in the first race but we enjoyed the wind and the speed in the second. It is a great feeling, a bit out of control but we love it' declared a delighted BROUWER. 'We were quite lucky too: we broke our rudder five minutes only after the finish!'

Three races were disputed in the Yngling, with the fleeting coming back to the shore at 2000 hours local time. The British team helmed by Sarah AYTON improved through the day with a third, second and finally a first, to take the lead. Two newcomers on the boat since the Olympics are Annie LUSH and Lisa McDONALD who is temporarily replacing Sarah WEBB after an injury. The Americans Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Debbie CAPOZZI are on equal points in second place.

The first two races for the 49er fleet took place yesterday with flat waters compared to Sunday's rolling waves. Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA) are well placed to defend their title after claiming victory in both races. They will have to expect strong competition from George PANAGIOTIDIS and Alfonso PANAGIOTIDIS (GRE), the Spanish team of Alejandro DOMINGUEZ and Carlos DE BRICIO and Olympic silver medallists Rodian LUKA and Gerge LEONCHUK from Ukraine, only a few points back.

Today was a first for the SOF with the new Olympic equipment for the single-handed dinghy women, the Laser Radial racing here for the first time. Today's winners include Corinne MEYER (SUI), who collected two race wins after placing fourth in race one. She is on equal points with winner of the 2002 ISAF World Sailing Games in Marseille, France, Sophie DE TURCKHEIM (FRA). The Frenchwomen, who is enjoying the change from the Europe to the Laser Radial, scored a first, second and third. In third position is Lizzie VICKERS (GBR) who won two races in her group.

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HASSAN leads the Mistrals
© Gilles Martin Raget/FF Voile

In the Mistral events, Fabrice HASSEN (FRA) and Olga MASLIVETS (UKR) are comfortable in their leads. The Frenchman is nine points ahead of Poland's Piotr MISZKA whilst MASLIVETS added another two bullets to end with a faultless score of three wins from three.

French crews are on top in the 470 events. The Benjamin BONNAUD (FRA) and his brother Romain have climbed to the top of the leaderboard in front of the Italians Gabrio ZANDONA and Francesco DELLA TORRE. Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX (FRA) are still in control in the women's fleet. The Israelis Vered BUSKILA and Nike KORNITZKI managed a third and an eighth place yesterday despite their boat filling with water due to repeating problems with the centreboard Mylar.

Olympic champion in the Europe, Siren SUNDBY (NOR), has made the switch to the 470 and is sailing with Kariane MELLABY. After making a promising start on Sunday with a third, yesterday proved more difficult for the Norwegian with a 14 and 18 dropping her down the leaderboard to ninth.

The Mistral should provide some good but tough sailing today with gusts predicted to reach 30 knots in the afternoon.

Corinne McKenzie (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The 49er fleet got underway yesterday:© Gilles Martin Raget/FF Voile
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