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27 April 2005, 09:59 am
Hard Work In Hyères
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Semaine Olympique Française 2005
Hyères, France

The wind blew again in Hyères causing problems across the fleets in the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française. The tough conditions have seen some surprising results and an unpredictable start to the competition.
The Racing committee had to make hard calls yesterday morning to decide how to make the most of the extreme weather conditions forecast for the day. The 49ers and Tornados were scheduled one hour earlier and most fleets were moved closer to the shore. At 1400 hours local time the wind increased suddenly from 20 to 28 knots. The Tornados were sent back to shore, after two races, to wait for the wind to calm down. The Finns, on their way out at the peak of the Mistral, had to return to the shore.

In most fleets, boats had to withdraw from the race due to gear failure or capsizing. In the 2.4 Metre, six boats had to retire. The second race for the Tornados proved selective with one third of the fleet not finishing. Keen to give every class its chance to race today, the racing committee decided at 1600 to send the remaining classes (Lasers, 49ers and Finns) out at 1700.

The top of the leader board remains unchanged in five classes, on the third day of racing in Hyères. Olga MASLIVETS (UKR) and Fabrice HASSEN (FRA) are still in control in the Mistral fleets. MASLIVETS is yet to be beaten with four victories to her name. It is the same situation with Helena LUCAS (GBR) in the 2.4 Metre - the Brit has proved her abilities in the breeze with another race under her belt. Allan SMITH (GBR) is in second while third is Herve TOURNEUX (FRA).

Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX (FRA) are maintaining their lead in the 470 women despite growing pressure from Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED), only one point behind. Both teams won a race today, proving once again their predilection for heavy conditions. Vered BUSKILA and Nike KORNECKI from Israel are third. Discarding their OCS in the second race, Natalia VIA-DUFRESNE and new crew Laia TUTZO (ESP) have climbed to sixth after scoring two fourth places yesterday. Siren SUNDBY, with crew Kariane MELLEBY (NOR), have mastered the gruelling conditions and are placed eighth overall.

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It is tight in the Yngling fleet
© Gilles Martin-Raget/FFV
The British Yngling team, helmed by Sarah AYTON, is also conserving their lead after placing second in the first race today, and winning the second. The first race was won by Russians Ekaterina SKUDINA, Tatiana LARTSEVA and Diana KRUTSKIKH who are now in third place overall, four points behind the American trio of Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Debbie CAPOZZI.

The leadership of the 470 men fleet has seen a change with the Ukrainian pair of Evgeniy BRASLAVETS and Igor MATVIENKO on equal point with the Israel's Gidéon KLIGER and Ehud GAL after winning both of today's races. Early leaders, Benjamin BONNAUD and his brother Romain are just one point behind in third place.

In the Laser Radial fleet, Sophie DE TURCKHEIM (FRA) has moved clear of her nearest rival, Lizzie VICKERS (GBR), after collecting two bullets. Third is Merel WITTEVEEN (NED) after she collected a first and a second place finish. Mirroring those results was Tatiana DROZDOVSKAYA (BLR) in who now occupies fourth position. The Laser Radial, and strong conditions, are not to the liking of Signe LIVBJERG (DEN). Weighing less than 55kg, the Danish bronze medallist in the Europe is struggling in this new class. She is giving it more time before considering switching to the 470 that could prove a better option for her light weight.

The Tornado fleet has new leaders. Rob WILSON and Mark BULKELEY (GBR) scored two second places to overcome the German boat of Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ after they dropped to tenth in the last race. French sailors Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON are in third position. Despite winning the last three races, the Spanish team of Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ are still carrying the points for their OCS in the first race and are sixth overall. Olympic champions Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER (AUT) are in unfamiliar territory down in twelfth place. In their first regatta since the Olympic Games, the Austrians are trying their new carbon mast and have to shape their favourite sails.

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The rough weather continues
© Gilles Martin-Raget/FFV
Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA) have stamped their mark on the 49er fleet with two more victories yesterday giving them a perfect score of four points. Eight points back, Alberto PADRON and Javier DE LA PLAZA (ESP) are in second after a sixth and second place. French pair, Emmanuel DYEN and Yann ROCHERIEUX are in third after finishing third in both of yesterday's races. Olympic silver medallists, Rodian LUKA and Gerge LEONCHUK (UKR) struggled yesterday, finishing outside the top five in both races and are now ninth overall.

Brendan CASEY (AUS) has impressed in the Laser fleet with three victories from five putting him at the top of the leaderboard. France's Thomas LE BRETON has a couple of bullets and is just a point behind with Mate ARAPOV (CRO) in third. Slovenia's Olympic silver medallist, Vasilij ZBOGAR is finding it tough and lies 14 overall. A terrible start by the recent winner of the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy, Gustavo LIMA (POR), means his name will not be near the top of the leaderboard until the second discard comes into play.

The Finns did not manage to complete a race so Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) remains in first, in front of Rafael TRUJILLO (ESP) and Ed WRIGHT (GBR).

Corinne McKenzie (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The wind is up in Hyères:© Emmanuel Mart/FFV
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