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Breeze batters Hyeres fleet

22nd April 2008

If there's one Class One event on the Eurolymp calendar where Ireland's top dinghy sailors can count on there being breeze - it's Hyeres.

And the first two days of this year's competition didn't disappoint, with winds up to 30 knots causing havoc across the board.

The annual 'Semaine Olympique', now celebrating its fortieth year, almost religiously provides a serious blow as Mistral winds cascade down from the mountains and ravage the fleets off the south of France. And this year is even tougher as Ireland's Olympians shed weight before heading to China.

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With little more than six knots of wind expected for much of the Games, it pays to be light in Qingdao. Light crews mean quick acceleration. So, having stayed at optimum weights in order to qualify for the Games, Ireland's Olympians, including 470 crew Ger Owens and Phil Lawton and Finn helm Tim Goodbody, now face a battle to shed weight.

Calorie intake has been cut way down. Fat-burning aerobic exercise has largely replaced muscle-building (weight-gaining) exercise as the crews fight to shed crucial kilos before heading to Qingdao.

And then they get to Hyeres.

And it howls. As usual.

Regardless, the teams are putting in a decent performance. Goodbody is 15th of 56 Finns, Owens/Lawton 30th out of 75, with Radial sailors Debbie Hanna and Tiffany Brien 35th and 65th respectively in the 78-boat Laser Radial fleet. And in the Laser class, Ireland's Ryan Seaton, Ross Harvey and Ben Lynch sit in 107th, 127th and 140th respectively out of 153 boats. Full details on the official site.

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