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Marseille World Cup Finals Off And Running

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  • Marseille World Cup Finals Off And Running

    After several days of preparation, tuning and training, racing at Sailing's World Cup Series Final in Marseille, France got underway on Tuesday under clear blue skies.
    Anticipation has been building in Marseille as the venue will host the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition. For the locals, it's the first opportunity to see the Olympic fleets up close and personal.

    For the sailors, the opening day was about ensuring they recorded strong scores which will give them a launch pad to target the medals and podiums later on in the week.

    After a small morning delay to wait for the sea breeze to build, sailing commenced early in the afternoon, with a 13-15 knot southerly breeze appeasing the 212 registered sailors from 34 nations racing across eight Olympic fleets.

    It was a perfect start to racing for the British Men's RS:X team as they dominated the opening race. Tom Squires snapped up the race win and was duly followed by Kieran Martin and Andy Brown as they grabbed the early initiative.

    all pics Richard Langdon/Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy

    But their dominance didn't last long as the Gamagori World Cup winner, Pawel Tarnowski (POL), took control at the front of the fleet, winning the next two races after an 11th in the opening race.

    "It was a good day overall," commented Tarnowski. "The last time I sailed in Marseille was last year and, due to a wedding in Poland, I only arrived yesterday so didn't have enough time to train.

    "I wasn't used to the conditions here and during the first race I decided to go all the way to the right, with the French, but that wasn't a good idea.

    "However, my other two races were great. It's only day one and I know the rest of the week is going to be tough, with plenty of tricky races. We have some top sailors here, which is why I am competing here."

    From three races he has opened up a five-point advantage over Pierre Le Coq (FRA), Thomas Goyard (FRA) and Yoav Omer (ISR), who are tied on seven points each.

    In the Women's RS:X, Lilian de Geus (NED) put a scoring penalty from race one behind her to pick up a second and first which sees her tied at the top with Gamagori World Cup gold medallist, Hei Man Chan (HKG).

    After her race one struggles, the Dutch sailor managed to bounce back, picking up a first and a second. Chan also had a tough start, finishing in 11th, but followed through with a 1-2 to leave her level with de Geus.

    Stefania Elfutina (RUS) won the opening race of the series and is two points off the leaders in third.

    Croatia's Nenad Bugarin sprung a surprise in the Finn fleet, grabbing an early lead.

    The Croatian, ranked #19 in the world, has never reached a World Cup Series Medal Race before, but on the opening day he fended off previous World Cup medallists such as Jorge Zarif (BRA), Alican Kaynar (TUR) and Jonathan Lobert (FRA), to name but a few.

    "I had two solid races," explained Bugarin. "I had a good start on my first race with high speed on my upwind and downwind. I finished fourth in my first race and then first in the second.

    "I didn't have a good start on my second race but I managed to climb my way up the fleet. We have a small fleet and some top sailors, so we will have to see what happens, but I want a medal this time and I'll try my best."

    Kaynar sits second following a 5-2, with Josh Junior (NZL) in third. Zarif won the opening race of the event and is fourth.

    Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) got their World Cup Series title defence off to a strong start in the 20-boat Women's 470 fleet. A fifth and a race win positions them nicely at the head of the leaderboard.

    Brazil's Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan picked up the opening race win but were unable to come close in the second as they finished down in 11th, ending the day fifth overall.

    World Cup Series Miami Champions and recently crowed 470 European Champions, Tina Mrak and Veronica Macarol (SLO), were off the pace in the fleet, scoring a 13th and an 18th. After the opening day, they are down in 17th.

    The two race wins in the Men's 470, went the way of Jordi Xammar and Nicolas Rodriguez (ESP) and Hungary's Balázs Gyapjas and Zsombor Gyapjas. The Spanish team backed it up with a fifth to grab the lead, but the Hungarians could only manage a 14th which puts them seventh.

    Plenty more racing is on the horizon in the Men's 470 but the teams in between the Spanish and Hungarian teams will be content as very little separates them so far.

    Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR) thrived in the Laser, snapping up a second and a first in the 25-boat fleet. "It was fantastic, just what I like - nice and shifty conditions with plenty of sunshine. We had around 10 knots which was great for hiking," commented the British leader.

    "I did the simple things well, like using the shifts to my advantage, and I had good starts which helped me get up the fleet straight away."

    Giovanni Coccoluto (ITA) won race one and is second overall, tied on points with Michael Beckett (GBR).

    Belgium's Emma Plasschaert and Finland's Tuula Tenkanen are locked on six points apiece at the top of the Laser Radial leaderboard after two races. Maud Jayet (SUI) won the opening race and is 12th overall, and race two winner, Alison Young (GBR), is in seventh.

    In the Nacra 17, Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari (ITA) got off to a steady start to take an early lead. They secured a (12)-2-2 scoreline and have a slender lead over John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR).

    Racing is scheduled to commence at 12:00 local time on Wednesday 6 June as the opening series continues.

    Medal Races on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June will be streamed live on World Sailing's YouTube Channel and will bring the event to a close.
    By Daniel Smith - World Sailing

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2

    Sailing's World Cup Series came alive on Wednesday as the medal hopefuls battled it out at the front of their respective fleets in a steady breeze and under blue Marseillaise skies.

    Day one of the competition saw the competitors keep their cards close to their chest as they looked to lay down some markers. The second day saw the emergence of some medal contenders pushing ahead at the front of their respective fleets.

    Racing commenced at 12:00 local time, with a steady 7-11 knot southerly breeze dancing across the four racing areas to test the 212 competitors from 34 nations racing across eight Olympic events.

    Hungary's Maria Erdi backed her judgement in the Laser Radial to close the gap on overnight leader Emma Plasschaert (BEL) to one point.

    Erdi, a 2015 Youth World Champion and Olympian, had a slow start to the event, finishing 15th and fifth from the opening day's proceedings. However, she was soon able to find her rhythm as she explained, "We had the same wind direction as yesterday, so I decided to go to the left side of the course and that paid off. My plan was just to get up the start line safe and work my way to the top left. That worked well for me.

    "In the first race, I was scared because there were not many sailors who took the left side of the course, but it paid off.

    "In the second race I had a good start, went to the left again and it was clearer in my head of what I needed to do. I was clear in my decisions and I managed to win that one so I'm very happy."

    Erdi has now emerged as a clear contender for gold, and both her and Plasschaert have a slight advantage over sailors placed from third to seventh, who are split by just three points.

    The day's remaining race win went to Ecem Güzel (TUR) who is 17th overall.

    Nick Thompson (GBR) was the star of the day in the 25-boat Laser fleet. His first and second propelled him into the lead, following a mixed opening day which saw him awarded a full 26-point penalty that he now discards.

    Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR) also put an opening-day disqualification behind him as he recorded two fifths to move into second place, two points off Thompson. Peru's Stefano Peschiera sits in the final podium position.

    Italy's Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti and Great Britain's John Gimson and Anna Burnet are locked on 16 points apiece in the Nacra 17.

    Tita and Banti are the form team in the Nacra 17. They won gold at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia and swiftly followed that up with the honours at the final World Cup Series round in Hyères, 90km east of Marseille.

    They have brought that form into the Final and are making their time on the water count. "We had to be patient today to find the right moment to make a decision," commented Banti. "Our speed upwind was good, and we finished all three races in the top five, so it was a successful day for us."

    Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari (ITA) held the lead after five races but dropped down to fourth after a 15th in the final race of the day.

    Come Tokyo 2020, only one Italian team will be able to go to the Olympic Games, if they qualify, but for now the two teams remain close. "We train together, eat together and compete with each other," explained Banti. "We are family and we all push each other in order to improve.

    "Of course, we compete on the water, but we are happy when we see them win."

    After another strong day on the water, Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) hold the Women's 470 lead as they bid to defend their World Cup title. The pair finished fourth and second from two races, but Spain's Silvia Mas and Patricia Cantero narrowed the gap on them to a single point.

    The Spanish crew took a race win and a third and, although they're in a podium position, they are continuously learning and won't be getting carried away. "It's incredible sailing with the top sailors like Hannah Mills and Camille Lecointre," commented Silva. "But it is super challenging and you learn a lot, because we are all close on the water and you fight for the best spot.

    "We are trying to keep a consistent scoreboard this week and not have any odd results, which could make us lose out on a top position."

    Gamagori World Cup winners Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) sit in the final podium position after four races.

    Balázs and Zsombor Gyapjas (HUN) showed their race win on the opening day was not a one-off by continuing their form into the second day of Men's 470 racing.

    The Hungarian brothers posted a second and a fourth which promoted them to first from seventh. Overnight leaders Jordi Xammar and Nicolás Rodriguez (ESP) remained at the front of the fleet in both races and are just a single point off the leaders.

    Two Japanese teams claimed the day's race wins. Naoki Ichino and Hasegawa Takashi snapped up the first of the day and sit in tenth. Keiju Okada and Jumpei Hokazono followed suit in the next and are one point off the podium in fourth.

    Lilian de Geus (NED) maintained a level of consistency that her rivals were unable to match in the Women's RS:X as she advanced to first overall. The Dutch racer took two fourths and a fifth as those closest to her had up and down days with no real consistency.

    As a result, de Geus has a six-point lead at the halfway stage of fleet racing. Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Stefania Elfutina (RUS) and Gamagori World Cup winner Hei Man Chan (HKG) are tied on 22-points each behind the leader.

    In the Men's RS:X, Rio 2016 bronze medallist and home nation hopeful Pierre Le Coq (FRA) found the sweet spot on the race track, taking a pair of race wins and a fourth.

    He moves into pole position in the 19-boat fleet. Pawel Tarnowski (POL) picked up his third win of the week in the first race, but followed up with a sixth and a tenth which leaves him six points off Le Coq. Thomas Goyard (FRA), Louis Giard (FRA) and Radoslow Furmanski (POL) are tied for third on 20 points.

    Racing in the 13-boat Finn fleet continues to be extremely close, with no sailor able to take hold and control the pack.

    Jorge Zarif (BRA) and Josh Junior (NZL) are tied on nine points at the top. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) follows on 11, Andy Maloney (NZL) on 13 and overnight leader Nenad Bugarin (CRO) on 14 points.

    Racing is scheduled to commence at 12:00 local time on Thursday 7 June. Medal Races on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June will be streamed live on World Sailing's YouTube Channel and will bring the event to a close.

    By Daniel Smith - World Sailing

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery