Winners Finally Decided in Hyeres

The medal races were like an image of the whole week, sailed in light and shifty winds.

The 42nd Semaine Olympique Francaise , the fourth regatta of the ISAF Sailing World Cup tested the nerves of the sailors and the race committee. Concentration was the key to success. With racing postponed for an hour, the Men’s 470 and the Star races started behind schedule and as a consequence, there was no time to race the RS:X medal races. 

Byron Kokalanis (GRE) was happy to keep his title but surprisingly, Piotr Myszka in second place was not disappointed to loose his chance to race for Gold! “I am the happiest man not to have to race the medal race” declared the Polish sailor showing his hands full of blisters!

Byron Kokalanis, added a consecutive Sailing World Cup win to his results. “I like these conditions and I am in good form. I did well in Palma so I am still rolling on the same wave.” 

Bryony Shaw (GBR) was excited with her performance and enthusiastic to get her opponents, Blanca Manchon (ESP) and Laura Linares (ITA), on the stage for a “wet” prize giving:

“It was a shame not to get out and do the medal race, but I’m really happy with the racing this week. It’s been really light winds, so hard work, but I’m dominating in the light winds and have had really consistent results this week so I’m really happy. I had the yellow jersey after day one so it was nice to keep that all week.”

The 470 Men and the Star were the first to hit the water for the medal race in their respective racing areas set in front of the jetty. The team of Nicolas Charbonnier and Baptiste Meyer - Dieu were the first to win one of many medals collected by the French team this week. With nine medals including three Gold, France ended on top of the medal tally.

“This is an important victory for us because we didn’t meet our expectation in the first regattas of the year. Here, we wanted to perform well. This is our first victory since one year. We always have to increase our communication onboard to be at the top. Baptiste is more and more comfortable. We are sometimes in contradiction so we have to compromise.” 

Gabrio Zandona' and Pietro Zucchetti (ITA) took second place in the medal race and narrowly beat the Swedish team of Dahlberg and Ostling to win Silver.

French 470 Women sailors provided two more medals for France with Emmanuelle Rol and Hélène Defrance winning the medal race and the event.

“This is our first victory together. Furthermore, the management asked us to perform on this regatta. Yesterday, we were 4th and very close to the girls before us. Once again, we had a good medal race, we are comfortable with this part of the regatta.”

Early leaders Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron lost their top place after an eighth place in the medal race. They took Silver, three points from Israeli sailors Gil Cohen and Dana Mamriav.

Norwegians Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen have increased their lead in the ISAF Sailing World Cup standings with another regatta win. The Norwegians have set their goal this year on winning the ISAF Sailing World Cup and are planning to compete in the next three SWC regattas.

“We are concentrating on the Sailing World Cup this year, we think that this will help our campaign and help us find sponsors.”

The French teams of Guillaume Florent and Pascal Rambeau and Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot took second and third place.

Hyères is the first Grade one event victory for Croat Marin Misura. The Finn medal race saw a big shift on the second beat, upsetting the positions.

“I had a good start and was duelling with Misura at the front, then a big shift lifted the sailors further back who rounded the mark in front of us.” explained Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic upset with the race. Despite a third flag collected on the last leg, Gaspic joined Misura and Le Breton on the third step of the podium. Thomas Le Breton took Silver and climbed onto a “Finn” podium for the first time since he moved out of his Laser. Jonathan Lobert celebrated his 25th birthday by winning the medal race! 

Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith (GBR) claimed the 49er title in their first regatta this year. Mark Asquith explains their medal race:

“With the points margin, all we had to do was stay close to the competition and it panned out pretty well. We kept everything pretty chilled, the guys put us in positions where it was easy for us just to follow them round the track, so we were trying to keep our heads out and not let them get too far away from us.”

Paul Brotherton is one of the most experienced sailors in Hyères :

“I suppose 21 years ago I had no idea I’d be back here now – I can’t say that I’m upset that I am! I do enjoy coming here and I really enjoyed when I was coaching here as well actually as it always throws up some interesting scenarios. There are a lot of things you can learn from a regatta like this.”

A third penalty collected in the medal race took away Gold medal hopes for early leader Javier Hernandez (ESP) who managed to stay on the podium thanks to a good series and a comfortable lead before the Medal race. Olympic Gold medallist Paul Goodison (GBR) won the medal race and keeps his title. Andreas Geritzer (AUT), 2004 Silver medallist collected the Silver medal.

The favourites in the Laser Radial didn’t perform well in Hyères. A new generation of young sailors has enjoyed the lighter conditions to show their potential. Ausra Mileviciute from Lithuania dominated the fleet to win her first grade one event.

“The winds were very light. The waiting was the hardest part but I like these conditions. I like to come to sail in Hyères every year.”

Charlotte Dobson (GBR) won the medal race and climbed to second on the podium, her best result in the event. Tatiana Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) winner of the Delta Lloyd regatta last year took third place. 

Silke Hahlbrock and her German team won the Womens Match Racing final 3-0 against Anna Tunnicliffe (USA). Claire Claire Leroy (FRA) won the Petite Finale against Katie Spithill (AUS).

The Paralympic classes raced two fleet races. Damien Seguin (FRA) won the 2.4mR event after winning four races. Thierry Thierry Schmitter (NED) placed second in front of Megan Pascoe (GBR). In the Sonar, Dror Cohen (ISR), won the event with a narrow lead over the Dutch team of Marcel Van de Veen and Norway's  Aleksander Wang-Hansen.