The first day of racing in Hyères started under a bright sun and strong southerly wind.
These gruelling conditions were partially appreciated by the 49ers, with 3/4 of the first group failing to finish the second race of the day when the wind peaked to 25 knots. The second group was kept ashore to avoid further damage.
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Norwegian crew of Sundby / Bovim and the Ukrainians Luka / Leonchuk mastered the strong breeze finishing respectively in 1st and 2nd places in today's both races. Casualties include a few broken masts, torn sails and minor injuries. The Spanish team of Lopez Vazquez / de la Plaza scored a fifth in the first race and managed to cross the finish line of the second race with a broken mast!
In the Mistral class, Jon-Paul Tobin from New-Zealand won both races. The Chinese team seemed to have enjoyed these tough conditions with Zhiming WU scoring 2nd and 3rd in the men's while the women are counting 3 Chinese among the top 5 in both races. They are won by the Israeli Lee Korzitz and Allison Shreeve from Australia.
The French team excelled in the 470 with Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux taking 1st and 2nd while in the Men's division, the Bonnaud Brothers and Gildas Philippe / Nicolas Le Berre won a race each and finished 5th in the second. British Nick Rogers and crew were leading the second race before capsizing on the last leg.
Only one race was completed in the Tornado, led by the French Backes / Voiron. Mitch Booth and Herbert Dercksen sailing for the Netherlands took second in front of the Spanish Echavarri / Paz. This race is subject to protest as half of the fleet didn't have time to launch and reached the racing area before the end of the starting time. They are protesting the racing Committee. The Australians Bundock / Ashby are not competing in Hyeres as planned. They are preparing for the EuroCat in Carnac.
In the Yngling, Shirley Robertson, Sydney Gold medallist in the Europe class, skippered her team to victory in today both races. Second overall is Melanie Dennison's crew with a 4th and a second. Ruslana Taran (UKR), Gold and Bronze medallist in the 470, had a bad day collecting an OCS and a DNF!
No surprises in the Finn class with Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) and Michael Fellmann (GER) sharing the lead with 4 points after 2 races. Current World and European champion Ben Ainslie is a point behind in 3rd place. The Finns suffered lots of casualties as well as braking masts and sails. Frenchman Pascal Rambeau, 10th in the first race, broke his sail in the second on his way to the finish missing narrowly a third place.
The favourites in the Europe class have all performed well today. Sari Multala (FIN) and Siren Sundby (NOR) are both leading their group in front of Ditte Juul (DEN) and Carolyn Brouwer (NED).
Sydney Bronze medallist, Michael Blackburn is leading the 159 Lasers after winning today's races. Good start for the Australian who is playing in Hyères is second Olympic selection regatta after Sail Melbourne. In the other groups, winners include Mate Arapov from Croatia, Karl Suneson and Peter Santen from Sweden…Paul Goodison (GBR) is 4th overall after scoring 2 seconds.
In the 2.4, Thierry Schmitter (NED) and Damien Seguin (FRA) are first and second on equal point, winning one race each and placing second in the other.
With the strong South-westerly blowing during most of the day, some races had to be delayed and 49ers and Tornados started their last scheduled race at the end of the afternoon when the wind calmed down.
Full results and biography links are available on the event website at the address below.