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Hempel Madness

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  • Hempel Madness

    Sailors racing at the Hempel World Cup Series Final in Marseille, France needed to use all the strength and fitness they could muster with strong winds bringing the second day to an early close.

    Gusts well in excess of 30 knots were reported across the five racing areas. Only a small number of races for the sailors from 41 nations racing across the ten Olympic events and Open Kiteboarding were completed as the wind speed was deemed unsafe for competition. The Principal Race Officer brought the sailors back to the shore with proceedings cancelled at 15:00 local time.

    The 49er completed a single race in a breeze that started at 20 knots and quickly rose to 25 knots with stronger gusts. Of the 14-boats in the fleet, only four of them completed the race with capsizes aplenty on the race track.

    Federico and Arturo Alonso, brothers from Spain, focused on doing the simple things well on the race track and not overcomplicating their processes which resulted in them claiming the race win. They are one point off the leaders, Kévin Fischer and Yann Jauvin (FRA), who finished second in the race. The seventh placed Swiss team of Sebastien Schneiter and Lucien Cujean came through in third and Italy's Uberto Crivelli Visconti and Gianmarco Togni came through in fourth.

    No other team were able to complete the race with capsizes and boat damage halting their progress.

    "I think it was really close to the limit for the 49er class. You can see that in results and around the boat park," said Federico looking around at the rest of the fleet assessing their boats for any damage sustained.

    "It was really difficult for us today but it is part of the game and everyone had to deal with it. We had some scary moments. It's a good, small fleet so there were no major incidents but we were on the edge at some points.

    "It was quite difficult to sail in a straight line. At the leeward marks it was really choppy so it was difficult to gybe. We just tried to make things easy for ourselves and not take any risks. We didn't capsize and we managed to win the race.

    "We think the gusts were close to 30 knots. They were really strong."

    With such strong breeze playing out across the entire field of play, boat handling and strength was the key to success. Alonso continued, "You can see some sailors that aren't as strong or tall but they sail the boat well so that can help but you have to be strong and keep calm. If you get stressed it's easy to capsize or have contact with another boat. You have to minimalise the risks.

    "You have to do everything you can to make things easy for yourself. Boat handling is crucial and it's down to the experience of the team."

    The French lead on five points followed by the Spaniards on six. Crivello Visconti and Togni are third on 11 points.

    The 49erFX fleet started a race but this was later abandoned due to the strong breeze.

    The Open Kiteboarding fleet commenced racing at 11:00 local time and enjoyed a lighter late morning / early afternoon breeze. They completed all four races scheduled.

    Nico Parlier won three of his four races and has opened up a six point lead over compatriots Theo de Ramecourt and Axel Mazella. Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Toni Vodisek (SLO) is fourth overall.

    The 24-boat Nacra 17 fleet also had an 11:00 start time. They benefited from the lighter breeze and were able to sail two races before the strength increased.

    Italy's Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari were in firm control in the strong winds and took both race victories.

    The first race of the day was sailed in a 17-19 knot breeze and the Italians got off to a good start and grabbed the lead early on. They never relinquished the lead and claimed a stylish victory. They worked their way through the field in the next race for their second consecutive bullet.

    Their hard work has pushed them into first overall, overtaking Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) to lead them by a single point. John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) and current World Champions Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (ITA) remain in third and fourth.

    Experienced crews in the Women's 470 shone in their single race. Afrodite Zegers and Lobke Berkhout (NED), a two-time Olympic medallist and five-time World Champion, took the victory and move up into first overall. Japanese Olympians and 2018 World Champions Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka followed the Dutch team in second and occupy the silver medal position.

    Hannah Mills, Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist, and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) are in third following a sixth place.

    Men's 470 sailors, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) have historically thrived in strong winds and that was no different on Wednesday. They took the sole Men's 470 race win and move into second overall. Overnight leaders Jordi Xammar and Nicolás Rodriguez (ESP) finished third in the race to retain gold medal position.

    The Laser and Laser Radial fleets both completed one race apiece. Greece's Adonis Bougioris won the Laser race and is fifth overall, four points off Ryan Lo (SGP) who holds the lead. The Laser Radial race win went to Lithuania's Viktorija Andrulyte. She leads on two points following a fifth and a first from the day prior. Carolina Albano (ITA) and Yumiko Tombe (JPN) follow.

    No racing was possible in the 49erFX, Finn and the Men's and Women's RSX.

    Thursday's forecast is looking more favourable for the competitors and racing is scheduled to start for everyone at 11:00 local time. For those who lost races, minus the RS:X, an additional race has been added to the schedule in an attempt to catch up on those lost.

    Find out how to follow the Hempel World Cup Series Final below:

    Click here for further information on Marseille and the Hempel World Cup Series -

    Click here to view the entry list in full.

    Results will be available here -
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  • #2
    Medal Moments In Marseille

    Italy's Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari have thrived at the Hempel World Cup Series Final in Marseille, France, finding form that has been unmatched in the 24-boat Nacra 17 fleet.

    Meanwhile in the 49er, Spain's Federico and Arturo Alonso wrapped up gold ahead of the Medal Race after another day of dominance.

    From two further Nacra 17 races, Bissaro and Frascari continued their excellent run of results in the top five with a first and a third that gives them a 16-point advantage heading into the Medal Race.

    Friday's racing commenced at the earlier time of 10:00 local time. A strong morning breeze from the south east came in at 13-16 knots allowing a good number of races to be completed before it built. As reports of gusts up to 30 knots were recorded, the ten Olympic fleets headed back to shore to wait and see if the wind would decrease.

    Meanwhile, the Open Kiteboarding fleet roared across the racing areas, fully powered and completed their four races. As the wind failed to decrease, competition was cancelled for the day at 14:15 local time.

    Bissaro and Frascari have dominated the 11 Nacra 17 races in Marseille, winning four, claiming three seconds and a third, fourth and fifth. An eighth, which they discard, in the opening race of the series is their worst result of the week.

    "It's been a lot of fun," expressed Bissaro with bright eyes and a vibrant smile. "We just love these conditions. The possibility to race in these conditions is a pleasure for us. We just can't wait to get out there in this type of breeze and have the opportunity to race.

    "To be honest, the fact that we can go faster than others make me really love racing. I also love the reaction of the boat. The Nacra 17 is a very complicated boat to sail in this type of breeze. It is very demanding and to be able to control this boat in this breeze is very rewarding and we love it."

    Just one year ago, Bissaro and Frascari watched their compatriots Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti clinch the Nacra 17 World Cup title as they settled for silver. This year, the tables have turned and Bissaro and Frascari have a 16-point advantage over John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) and are 25-points clear of Tita and Banti.

    Gold is within their reach and Bissaro is pleased that he and Frascari have found form to come out of the shadows of their national rivals. "We had a very good training camp this winter where we were able to close the gap between us almost completely," he commented. "This week we've had a better week. They had some bad results but they were very fast yesterday and today. The difference in level is not as high as the results are showing."

    Just one Italian Nacra 17 team will be at the READY STEADY TOKYO - Sailing, the Olympic test event, and at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the rivalry between the two crews is flaring up.

    In the first race of the week, there was no love lost as Bissaro and Frascari protested Tita and Banti. The result was a disqualification for Tita and Banti. "It was a very standard thing," explained Bissaro. "They tried to cross on port in front of us. We were on starboard. We decided that, considering the selection for Tokyo is getting tighter and tighter and we are getting closer to the Games, it was not a good idea to give them a present. We considered it would be fair enough to protest them and let the jury decide. We protested on the water and protested ashore and they were penalised."

    Tita and Banti bounced back from the disqualification, claiming three races wins and are third but the possibility of gold has disappeared because of the points difference.

    The odds are firmly stacked in favour of Bissaro and Frascari and the helm is hoping it catches the eyes of the Italian Federation, "The federation will look at this regatta as one of the events to decide who will go to the test event but it's not written down anywhere. We just try to do our best in training and then on the water in racing to help them decide."

    The Nacra 17 Medal Race will commence at 13:32 on Saturday.

    Spain's Federico and Arturo Alonso clinched 49er gold ahead of the Medal Race after another outstanding day. Their 2-1-2 scoreline has given them an unassailable 27-point lead over Austria's Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl.

    The Spaniards have finished outside of the top three just once all week, enjoying the strong breeze and finding an unrivalled edge.

    Sebastien Schneiter and Lucien Cujean (SUI) are ten points off the Austrians in third but will have to keep an eye on five racers, who can mathematically take the bronze medal away from them, in the Medal Race.

    Julie Bossard and Aude Compan (FRA) will take a four point lead into the 49erFX Medal Race. Poland's Aleksandra Melzacka and Kinga Loboda kept their hunt for gold alive by winning two races on Friday to reduce the gap on the French. Any one of four teams behind the two leaders could grab bronze in the Medal Race.

    Italy's Mattia Camboni was knocked off top spot in the Men's RS:X after his form dropped. Camboni had been at the front of the fleet all week long, leading overall from day one. However, a 12-(16)-4 scoreline saw him drop down to fourth overall.

    His loss was Piotr Myszka's gain. The Polish racers 6-2-3 scoreline pushed him up first overall but the points at the top of the fleet are close. Myszka leads on 26 points and he is followed by Daniele Benedetti (ITA) on 27, Pierre Le Coq (FRA) on 29, Camboni on 32 and Giard on 33. All of the top five are in with a shout at gold on Saturday.

    Lilian de Geus maintained her advantage in the Women's RS:X after another consistent day. A first, second and a fourth gives her a 11-point lead over Saskia Sills (GBR) heading into the Medal Race. Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) is four points off the British racer in third.

    In the 470 fleets, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) and Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) held on to their leads in the men's and women's divisions.

    Belcher and Ryan, experts in strong breeze, won the opening race of the day and backed it up with a second. They have moved 15-points clear of Jordi Xammar and Nicolás Rodriguez (ESP). Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) won the final race of the day and are third.

    Like the Australians, Mills and Clark also won the opening bout and followed up with a fifth. Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz (FRA) picked up a 2-1 scoreline and reduced the deficit between themselves and the Brits to just four points. Both teams are well clear of the chasing pack with those from third to ninth all fighting for the final podium position.

    Two Finn races were completed and Andy Maloney (NZL) managed to put some daylight between himself and his national rival Josh Junior. Maloney's 4-1, compared to Juniors 2-6, has given him a six point lead with three fleet races remaining.

    The Laser and Laser Radial fleets were scheduled for later on in the day and as the breeze picked up, they were unable to get out and race. Ryan Lo (SGP) and Viktorija Andrulyte (LTU) lead their respective fleets.

    Medal Races will start from 12:00 local time on Saturday 8 June and will be live here - The remaining fleets will start at 11:00 local time and complete fleet racing before their final races on Sunday.

    Click here for further information on Marseille and the Hempel World Cup Series -

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