The French nail it on day two of Skandia Sail for Gold with stand-out performances in three classes
It was forecast to be Big Tuesday a couple of days ago – Doug Charko, the USA Team AlphaGraphics weather man told us on Sunday it would be 15-20 knots and gusting 25. And so it was, with 49ers, Stars and Finns all sent back to the harbor early, and the SKUD-18’s not racing at all. Unfortunately for Doug, when the fleet was greeted with a flat calm this morning, he wound back his weather forecast a few notches.
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It was the French that nailed it on the second day of Skandia Sail for Gold 2010, with glittering, stand-out performances in three classes. Probably the most remarkable, given the conditions, were the two bullets that Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis added to the three second places that they scored yesterday. They now lead the 49er class by seven points from Peter Burling and Blair Tuke from New Zealand.
We asked Stephane Christidis what their secret was: “It’s funny because we have been competing against each other for the last 15 years, and then we decided to start working together and it was a great decision. We’re feeling really good at the moment, we’re working well on the water and we were glad to have two weeks ahead of this event based in Weymouth for some training. We had a chance to understand the courses and conditions and get a better understanding of the event.”
The second members of France’s golden trio were the 470 duo of Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos, who also scored double bullets today, and added them to a first and third from yesterday to lead World Champions, Matt Belcher and Malcolm Page by eight points. Almost as dominant was Jonathan Lobert in the Finn Class, adding another second place to the first and second that he scored yesterday. It puts him 17 points clear of Dutchman Pieter-Jan Postma in second – not bad after just three races.
Jonathan Lobert said afterwards: “Today it was ok, overall I’m still leading but it was tough out there today. I’ve been training really hard this year and I think it is starting to pay off, I’ve been training with my team mate Thomas [Le Breton], which is great, and I think we’re doing a good job out there.” Ben Ainslie will probably be grateful that someone else is getting the attention, so he can get on with his comeback quietly – which is why we had to mention him; Ainslie was 12th today and now lies sixth overall.
Elsewhere, the Kiwi Star pairing of Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk – winners of both of yesterday’s races – slipped from their pedestal a little with a ninth today, but still lead overall. The other stand-out performers of yesterday also slipped closer to the pack. The Dutch Sonar team of Udo Hessels, Marcel van der Veen and Mischa Rossen followed up two bullets with a second and a third, and now lead the British team of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stevie Thomas by just three points. Also slipping a little were Marit Bouwmeester and Veronika Fenclova in the Laser Radial – both girls winning their two races yesterday – today Bouwmeester won another, and then got a seventh in the final race, while Fenclova only managed a fifth and an eighth. Bouwmeester now leads Fenclova by four points.
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