The week of training before Hyeres 2017 was classic French Spring on the med, warm, windy, and lots of fun. The race days have been anything but classic. Overcast, light, shifty, with a bit of chaotic Mistral thrown in the mix is what the sailors have raced in all week so far… that is until medal race day. It’s setting up as classic Hyeres, with a bright morning giving way to a strong sea breeze in time for medal racing.
Here’s how the week played out…
Over 500 sailors from 52 nations opened their quest for World Cup honours, personal best performances and bragging rights as the second event of the 2017 series got underway in Hyères, France.
Events cannot be won on the first day in sailing but they can certainly be lost. So, in a stable 8-11 knot south easterly breeze, it was vital that those aiming for the top honours laid down a marker with consistent race results.
South American sailors occupy the top two places in the 49erFX.
Rio 2016 Olympic champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) lead on three points and Victoria Travascio and Maria Branz (ARG) follow on four.
The Brazilians are the ones to beat in the 49erFX having added Miami gold to their collection after Rio 2016. They got off to the best start in the 20-boat 49erFX fleet, collecting a 1-2-(4) scoreline.
Travascio and Branz were hot on the heels of the Brazilians on day one, finishing third in the opening bout and backing it up with a race win immediately after. They finished the day with a discarded 12th but are pleased to be on the tails of the Olympic champions, “It was really windy and wavy today but it was good,” expressed Travascio.
“I’m happy we got off to a good start. We had two good races but then a bad third race. We went to the right when we really should have gone to the left. Overall we are happy though.”
There were some mixed scorelines in the 49er pack but it’s another South American contingent who lead the way. Brothers Yago and Klaus Lange from Argentina top the leaderboard on three points and World Cup Miami winners Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell (GBR) follow one point behind.
Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet (FRA) controlled the Nacra 17, picking up a (4)-1-2 scorecard to lead on three points. Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lubeck (DEN) and defending champions Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) follow on six points.
In their first regatta together, Billy Besson, the four time Nacra 17 World Champion, and new crew Amelie Riou got off to a slow start with an 18th and 11th. By the third race, the pair were flying and took the race win.
An interesting battle is developing in the Nacra 17 as the top three continue to fight for supremacy.
Five points separate Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet (FRA), Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) and Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lubeck (DEN). The trio shared the day’s race wins and have put some points between themselves and fourth place.
“We had good starts and took the right side so it was a good day for us,” said Lubeck who had a steady day with a 1-(8)-2 scoreline. Ea Cenholt added, “We had an offshore tricky wind but we succeeded in what was important for us, to be at near the top of the fleet at the top mark.”
From a three-way fight to a three-way tie, Great Britain’s Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell, Argentina’s Yago and Klaus Lange and Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Lopez are all locked on 16-points apiece in the 49er.
The trio scored a good set of ‘keepers’ on the second day, discarding their worst race which for all three was race one.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) had another consistent day to consolidate their lead. Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) shone the brightest, however, winning a pair of races and claiming a fifth. As a result, they move into second place ahead of Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER).
Racing in a 7-13 knot breeze that took some time to fill in, the second regatta of the 2017 World Cup Series reached its mid-point and the battle to make Saturday live Medal Races.
The sail of the day goes to Germany’s Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz who took all three wins in the 49erFX. That perfect performance moves the German team up in to silver medal position. They will need to continue that winning form though if they are to overhaul Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) who are 10 points ahead.
Great Britain’s Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell edged ahead in the 49er with a 1-8-4. Those results give the Britons a slender two-point advantage over Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Lopez.
Home support will be aimed toward the Nacra 17 fleet as Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet (FRA) are tied at the top with Spain’s Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco on 23 points. Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lubeck are in third on 28.
Overnight, the forecast for racing on Friday was not looking good and Hyères was expected to be on the receiving end of 30 knots of breeze, gusting 35. The breeze was strong in the morning and sailing postponed as the conditions were not deemed safe enough to sail. As the day progressed the breeze decreased enabling all but one fleet, the 2.4 Norlin OD, to hit the water.
What a day Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Marra had in the 49er. Coming in the day the Spaniards were in medal contention. At the end of the day they had guaranteed themselves a gold medal. With a bullet, sixth and 11th, Botin and Marra have an unassailable 27 point lead ahead of the Medal Race.
Great Britain’s Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell and Sweden’s Carl Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark are tied on 76 points and will fight it out with Yago and Klaus Lange, on 83 points, for silver and bronze.
Fast becoming a regular sentence in a 49erFX day review, Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze are in first place. Looking to add yet another gold to their ever growing collection, the Rio 2016 Olympic champions hold pole position for a Hyères win with an eight point lead over nearest rivals Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER).
Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) hold a seven-point advantage over their nearest rivals, France’s Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet in the Nacra 17. The Spanish pair finished the qualifying series with a bullet which made up for a discarded tenth place in the previous race. Add to that a second place and it was enough to lift them above the French team who scored 11-2-5.
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