Varied Conditions Give Fleet Full Challenge
The 49erFX were completely blown out on Wednesday as the wind strength was well beyond the limit for the racers. Thursday’s lighter breeze was welcomed by the sailors and they completed four good races.
Sweden’s Lisa Ericson and Hanna Klinga revelled in the conditions, picking up two bullets, a second and a tenth. They have an early advantage over Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz (NED).
Twenty-four boats are racing in Hyères, four more than the size of the Rio 2016 fleet, and a number of sailors who will be on the Olympic start line are racing. The calibre of the competition resembles the Olympic Games and Ericson is just loving the competition, “This is very good preparation for Rio, we are sailing against the best people and that’s all we could ask for.
“The pressure is off for us, we have already qualified and we will represent Sweden in Rio. It’s nice to have the pressure off and to train on things we want to focus on rather than looking at another boat.”
Ericson compared the conditions in Hyères on Thursday to those that will be present in Rio in 99 days’ time. The Rio breeze is well-known for being hard to read with shifts aplenty on the water. Sailing World Cup Hyères is the penultimate Sailing World Cup event on the Road to Rio and if the Swedes replicate their performance in a breeze that’s similar then the future is bright.
The day’s other race wins went to Erica Dawson and Ellie Copeland (NZL) and Nina Keijzer and Claire Blom (NED) who are seventh and eighth respectively.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) picked up where they left off from the day prior, sailing consistently at the top of the 49er fleet.
A first, sixth and third helps them to retain their lead over Will and Sam Phillips (AUS) by three points. Jonas Warrer and Christian Peter Lubeck (DEN) are tied for third with John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR) on 38 points.
49er sailors have been given a workout so far through the first two days of racing in Hyeres. The conditions built to huge by the end of day 1, with only have the teams finishing the final race of the day. Day 2 brought more reasonable condition.
So far the story of the week are a couple sailors from Oceania who haven’t really put a foot wrong, sailing all top 5 races to sit in a podium position. Of course we’re talking about the recently reunited Will and Sam Phillips of Australia, who won’t be going to the games in Rio, but yet again continue sail very well in the 49er every chance they get.
On top of the standings are ever present Kiwi’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke. They took a small beating on the super windy race yesterday, but came back nicely all day today to set the low points of the day standard. Danes Jonas Warrer and CP Lubeck were onto a great day starting with a 1, 3, before taking a tough one at 25 to finish out the day.
None of three british teams, who are thought to be into their final selection regatta, have yet to grab the bull by the horns. All three teams put up middling results on the day, leaving opportunity for any of them to have a break out day and get the selectors looking their way.
There are two more days of fleet racing followed by a medal race on Sunday which will be live broadcast.