Strong conditions are shuffling the pack at the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères

As the clock
counts down to the Olympics, the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères is one
of the remaining major regattas to provide a form guide for the Games – and
there have been several surprises already. 

conditions on the opening day where 38 knot gusts in the afternoon meant that
racing for several classes was postponed, Monday was catch up day.

From a British perspective,
Alison Young’s top performance so far in the Laser Radial class during this
event goes to show how tricky it will be for the selectors to decide whether
she or her team mate Charlotte Dobson goes to the Games.

An even
trickier decision lies in store for selectors when it comes to the 49er class.
With four British teams vying for the coveted place, each has shown impressive
form at some point in the last year. Currently the top British team in Hyeres
is that of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes.

selected but keen to gain ground from a difficult and potentially demoralising
start to the year, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson are showing that their second
place in Palma a few weeks ago in their brand new (albeit last minute) boat was
no accident – they are currently lying second in Hyeres. 

In the
Paralympic classes, Helena Lucas is also showing signs of a repeat performance
as she sits in second place while the Skud team Alexandra Rickham and Niki
Birrell are sharing the lead in the Skud with Miami OCR winners Daniel
Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS).

Here’s the
l report from Day 2, (Monday), in Hyreres:

It was a long
day on the water for the sailors engaged in the 44th Semaine Olympique
Française in Hyères. In order to catch up with the racing schedule, after
yesterday’s cancelled races, sailing started early and finished late in the

Double 470
World Champions Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) are back in top form
and are enjoying the breeze in Hyères. The pair has built up a solid lead 13
points ahead of Japanese Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata. Amanda Clark and Sarah
Lihan (USA) are in third.

“This is an
important event for us.” explain the Dutch pair, “We need to show form to the
Dutch Olympic committee. So we want to get that out of the way. That would be
great. But it is also very nice to sail in the breeze again and see how we go
with that. But our speed is good, we are very happy with that. And we are
working on some processes and things are coming together now. That is always
easier with wind than with light airs. Today we sailed a 1 and 2 and yesterday
a 2 and 1. So that is great. Today was not so easy as yesterday. More shifts
less wind. But we discussed the opportunities on board and got the most out of

The results are
getting tighter in the 470 Men. The Greeks, Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos
Kagialis, are taking a narrow lead over Zandona/Zucchetti (ITA) and and the
Coster brothers (NED). In fourth position, Pierre Leboucher is sailing with his
coach Nicolas Leberre, after Vincent Garos injured his foot last week. The new
team is placing fourth! After breaking their mast yesterday, the World No1 Matt
Belcher and Malcolm Page are back on track and claim both races to climb to

Australians and
New Zealanders are still leading the standings in the Lasers. Only three points
separate the top six with Andy Maloney and Tom Slingsby hanging on to top two
places. Tom Burton (AUS), Philipp Buhl (GER), Andrew Murdoch (NZL) and Tonci
Stipanovic (CRO) are getting close to the leaders after winning races today.

Alison Young
(GBR) conserves her lead in the Laser Radial after scoring a first and second.
Only a point behind, Krystal Weir (AUS), and World #1 Evi van Acker (BEL) place
second and third with identical results.

Deniss Karpak
(EST) increases his lead in the Finn class after adding another victory and a
second place to his score. Rafa Trujillo (ESP) keeps second while a victory in
the first race places Dan Slater (NZL) in third.

The Polish
dominate the RS:X competition in the men and women division.

World #1 Piotr
Myszka (POL) takes the lead from Julien Bontemps (FRA) after taking two bullets
in the RS:X men races. Toni Wilhem (GER) protects his second place with
Bontemps in third.

“I am really
fast in these conditions.” explain Myszka, “I know I needed a good start. I
planned it well and got to third at the top mark. I caught up downwind and was
in a good position to control the fleet.” The Pole is keen to retain his SOF
title won last year.

Maja Dziarnowska
(POL) claims the day’s two races and the lead in the women’s. Moana Delle (GER)
is second and Olga Maslivets (UKR) third.

 It was a busy
day on the 49er course with seven races sailed among the two groups to catch up
on yesterday’s lost races. After taking Silver last year, French Julien
D’Ortoli and Noe Delpech (FRA) take the lead after four races in the 49ers.
Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) are second while World Champions are
placing in third.

Damien Seguin
(NED) has taken the lead after three more races sailed in the 2.4. Bjornar
Erikstad (NOR) is second and Helena Lucas (GBR) third. She wins the first race
with Dutch sailors Thierry Schmitter and Andre Rademaker taking the others.

It was a very
long day on the water for the Star sailors. Three races were scheduled but the
second took nearly three hours to complete. After many general recalls, race 2
was given but abandoned when the top mark started drifting. The Stars came back
at 7pm. World #5, Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn(CAN) are in the lead with top
three results. Olympic Champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) are in
second place with Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (FRA) third.

After winning
the first race, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) have retired from the
event due to personal reasons.

It was a long
day also for the Sonar who came out twice today to complete three races. Bruno
Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont-Vicary et Eric Flageul (FRA), take the lead with Udo
Hessels, Marcel Van de Veen and Mischa Rossen (NED) second and in third
position Aleksander Wang Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg (NOR).

Triple World
champions, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) are sharing the lead in the
Skud with Miami OCR winners Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS). They claim
two races each and place second in the others.

The Women match
racers had by far the longest day out. Starting at 9.30am, the teams finished
at 7pm their second day of round robins which will continue for the next two
days. Results are tight at the top for Tunnicliffe (USA), MacGregor (GBR),
Leroy (FRA) and Barkow (USA).

With a
pessimistic weather forecast for tomorrow, racing will start as early as 9 am
to try to secure at least a race in each class.