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25 April 2011, 08:31 pm
Second Day Sees New Leaders In Hyères
Sara Winther
Sara Winther (NZL) Sailing The Laser Radial In Hyères

Semaine Olympique Francaise 2011
Hyères. France

The medium and shifty wind during the second day of racing in Hyères has brought new leaders in five of the Olympic Events at the Semaine Olympique Française, the fourth of seven ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas.
French duo Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos added two victories to climb to the top of the scoreboard in the 470 men. They are closely followed by Nicolas Charbonnier and Jeremie Mion (FRA) in second while Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) are in third place.

The leaders said, "We are confident with our racing, but we need to keep realistic as we are only half way through the regatta. This is our first selection regatta so, to be in competition is a real motivation."
2.4 mR
Men's 470
Women's 470
Laser Radial
Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Women's Match Racing

In the Laser radial, it is Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia MAPFRE gold medallist Sara Winther (NZL) who claimed the day and overall lead. The French are also present in the top three with Sarah Steyaert (FRA) in second and Sophie De Turckheim (FRA) in third.

Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) have enjoyed the difficult conditions in the 49er with two bullets and a second. They are six points ahead of Emil Toft Nielsen and Simon Toft Nielsen (DEN) and David Evans and Edward Powys (GBR).

"It was a really good day at the office. It all just seemed to come together, we got good starts, had good boat speed. It was a great day. We tend to like a bit of breeze - we can just throw the boat around and actually have a laugh jumping downwind but today was a bit more tense and you have to try and concentrate on boat speed all the time," explained the leaders.

Giles Scott (GBR), winner of the Rolex Miami OCR, has taken a one point lead in the Finn fleet in front of Ben Ainslie (GBR) now on equal points with Pieter-Jan Postma (NED).

In the RS:X men, World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL) who shared the day's bullets with Shahar Zubari tops the Standings. He is only one point better off than the Beijing Bronze medallist who is sailing for his Olympic selection in Hyères.

In the other classes the leaders from day one are starting to cement their leads.

ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Blanca Manchon (ESP) is showing her skills in the mixed conditions encountered since the start of the week. She won both races in the medium breeze. Charline Picon remains in second place in front 2009 Semaine Olympique Française winner, Cheina Pen (CHN).

Manchon said, "I have been very fast and had a good day. I am racing at my best level. I don't want to push too much because the next event for me, Sail for Gold, is very important as it is part of our Olympic selection.

"I have well chosen the equipment for this event and everything is working fine. I will try and keep racing at this level tomorrow because it is the last day for qualifications and from Thursday all the best will race together. Feelings on the water can't be better and the wind so far has been with us."

Tom Slingsby (AUS) remains in first place in the Laser, with Javier Hernandez (ESP) climbing to second. Andy Maloney takes third. Class favourites, Andreas Geritzer (AUT), Michael Bullot (NZL), Julio Alsogaray (ARG), Paul Goodison (GBR) and Nick Thompson (GBR) have suffered from the day's conditions and are outside the top 20.

Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos (ESP) are continuing on their good form with consistent top four results in the Women's 470. They have an eight point lead over Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR).

The Star class had the longest day on the water with three races. Three places in the top four have given early leaders Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) a ten points advantage over George Szabo and Mark Strube (USA). Diego Negri and Enrico Voltolini (ITA) are third.

In the Women's Match-racing, the top six teams have qualified for the Gold group. Claire Leroy (FRA) remained undefeated in Group A with seven victories. She said, "It was a very nice day. We were strong with tight matches especially against the Finnish who was very fast.

"We fought hard, and gave penalties to all our opponents. To be in the Gold group means less stress and more time to get prepared for the quarter-finals."

She is joined by Ekaterina Skudina (RUS), Lucy Macgregor (GBR), Sally Barkow (USA), Renee Groeneveld (NED) and Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) who qualifies for the first time in the Gold group. However, Palma Silver medallist Silja Lehtinen (FIN) has narrowly missed the repechage and will continue in the Silver group.

Tomorrow will be the last chance for sailors racing in groups to qualify for the final stage and the Gold group.

Semaine Olympique Française Website

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Corinne McKenzie
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