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23 April 2005, 08:43 am
New Format Trialled
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Semaine Olympique Française 2005
Hyères, France

Nine months after the Athens Olympic Games, the world's top sailors are ready to start a new Olympic quadrennial on the waters of Hyères, France. Regatta organizers are trialling a new format with a series of 'race-offs' on the final day between the top three competitors deciding the winners.
A key regatta on the international circuit, the Semaine Olympique Française is the first ISAF Grade 1 event in Europe. With racing from 23-29 April, the fight for the podium will be fierce among the 500 teams coming from 50 nations. Despite the absence of the Star, eleven titles will be disputed with the inclusion of the single-handed Paralympic event: the 2.4.

The fleets will be a mix of young teams starting on their first Olympic campaign and experienced sailors dominating the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. After excelling in their discipline, some, like Olympic champion in the Europe, Siren SUNDBY (NOR) have chosen to change boats for this first year of the Olympic quadrennial. They will all provide exciting racing in one of the Mediterranean best sailing area, the bay of Hyères.

The 2008 Olympics in Beijing is an objective for the sailors engaged in the competition but also for the organizers, who will be trying a new format in agreement with ISAF.

The ISAF Grade 1 event organisers have been asked to rethink the regatta format as a trial for the 2008 Olympic Games. The objective is to bring the regatta to a climax on the last day to captivate media and public attention. At the completion of fleet sailing, mini races will be sailed among the top three in each class, close to the shore and the spectators. The first sailor to win two races will win the event; his two opponents will take silver and bronze. Judging will be on the water only.

The usual practice race scheduled for today, Saturday 23 April will be an opportunity for the sailors to try their gear and conditions in Hyères. The start of the first race will be given for all classes on Sunday.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image:© Gilles Martin Raget/FF Voile2004
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