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#isaf – Fifth overall for Annalise Murphy including medal race participation in the Laser Radial class of the ISAF World Cup in Weymouth today will be of some satisfaction for the Dun Laoghaire sailor given the very light winds encountered this morning. The odds were heavily stacked in Marit Bouwmeester's (NED) favour after a commanding week of racing. She held a 15 point advantage over Evi Van Acker (BEL) and only a near disaster could have seen her knocked off her perch. She sailed well, finishing fourth which was more than enough for gold.

"It has been a really good week for me," commented Bouwmeester. "I had some steady results and I was happy to take it in today during the Medal Race.

"I had five first places and two seconds and that was my best scorecard ever, so I am very pleased with that, that's results wise but todays sailing was a little less brilliant and still a lot to work on."

Van Acker took the Medal Race victory to confirm silver.

The race for bronze was little bit more tense with plenty of equations possible including Annalise. Alison Young (GBR) held the spot overnight however a great performance from Anne-Marie Rindom catapulted her into bronze. Rindom's second enabled her to remove Young who managed a seventh. Annalise never threatened in the medal race and appeared sluggish especially downwind in conditions as low as four knots at times. She ended the race ninth of ten starters. 

Published in Olympic

#disabledsailing – The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is to campaign for Disabled Sailing's inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and has appointed VERO Communications to advise and support its campaign. The decision to press the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to add Disabled Sailing to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games comes on the back of ISAF formally taking over the management of Disabled Sailing in November 2014, and the integration of the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) into ISAF.

Carlo Croce, ISAF President said, "Following the merger of IFDS into ISAF at the end of last year, Disabled Sailing is now under new professional management. This is a new era for Disabled Sailing with ISAF now able to fully utilise its technical, financial, promotional and strategic resources to bring significant benefits to Disabled Sailing. For example, we are now working hard to put in place a much enhanced, professional and aligned four year competition programme for Disabled Sailing, as well as generate greater media, broadcast and promotional opportunities for the sport following integration into ISAF's wider communications planning and activities.

"These are all new developments since the merger of IFDS into ISAF and it is important that we now effectively communicate this new era for Disabled Sailing to the IPC. I'm delighted that we have the proven expertise of VERO Communications to support us in this cause. Our focus now is to build the case for Disabled Sailing's inclusion in Tokyo 2020, much of which will be centred around new evidence, as well as stressing some of the unique attributes of Disabled Sailing, including the fact that it is the only sport where athletes with the highest level of disability can compete equally against athletes with other disabilities. I very much hope, upon receipt of this new evidence, that the IPC will look favourably on our case."

Mike Lee OBE, Chairman of VERO added, "VERO is delighted to support ISAF in their campaign to see Disabled Sailing included in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The sport has a strong story to tell, especially since it was merged into ISAF at the end of 2014, and we look forward to working with the sailing community to ensure that this new era for Disabled Sailing is effectively communicated."

Published in World Sailing
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#matchracing – After four days of intense and challenging match racing in Howth Yacht Club this week, it was the experienced French teams who emerged as victors for the 2015 ISAF Nation's Cup European Finals in Ireland this week. La Rochelle's Pierre Rhimbault and his team took top position following a final windy day's racing in Howth in an event that also saw Pauline Courtois helm her 'Team France' to victory in the Women's series. An Irish crew skippered by Marty O'Leary were second overall.

Eleven participating nations enjoyed the racing in the mixed conditions that proved the forecasted mix of weather to be every bit as challenging as expected. The event was hosted by Howth Yacht Club and utilised eight J80 keelboats for three days of 'round robin' heats followed by a frenetically busy last day of semi-finals, finals and 3rd-4th place sail-offs. Rhimbault and his French team fought off a brave challenge from Ireland's Marty O'Leary and the UK's Mark Lees, both of whom are familiar visitors to Howth but could find no advantage in any 'local knowledge' against the experienced sailors from La Rochelle.

In the Women's event, Irish hopes rested with teams led by Howth's Diana Kissane and the Royal St George Yacht Club's Mary O'Loughlin but neither could make an impression on the Dutch entry of Klaatje Zuiberbaan (2nd) and eventual winner Pauline Courtois who excelled on the final day in the 25-knot southerly wind that tested boats and crews to the maximum.

At the prizegiving, HYC Commodore Brian Turvey thanked sponsors McPeake Auctioneers, event chairman Richard Kissane and all the competitors for taking part in such a lively continental championships and reminded the sailors that both Rhimbault and O'Leary as well as Courtois and Zuiberbaan now qualify for the intercontinental and World Finals in Vladivostok in July.The event chairman paid tribute to the work of the race management team under IRO David Lovegrove and the international jury led by Thibaut Gridel, also thanking ISA Sailfleet's Michael O'Connor and HYC's Kieran Jameson for the provision of their excellently maintained J80s.

isaf-nations-cup-2015.png

Final standings provisional

ISAF Nation's Cup 2015 European Final Results

(Provisional)

10th May

Open Division:

1st FRA Rhimbault

2nd IRL O'Leary

3rd EST Sepp

4th GBR Lees

5th POL Wosinski

6th AUT Trippolt

7th FRA Follin

8th FIN Luhta

9th NED Korpershoek

10th NED Chu

11th SUI Mettraux

12th GER Maier-Ring

13th NOR Frissk

Womens:

1st FRA Courtois

2nd NED Zuiderbhaan

3rd SUI Bezel

4th IRL Kissane

5th IRL O'Loughlin

6th SWE Hager

Published in Match Racing

#isaf – The ISAF Sailing World Championships in Aarhus in 2018 will be the biggest World Championships ever. This was the message when the contract was signed today between the organisers and the International Sailing Federation, ISAF.

It will be a World Championships of records when the Bay of Aarhus forms the backdrop for the World Championships in 2018 for all Olympic boat classes. In terms of both the number of sailors and the number of participating countries, this will be an event that will surpass the sailing competition at the Olympic Games.

"This is a huge event, and it will leave its mark on the city and the bay. Once again, the Sailing World Championships place Aarhus and Denmark among the best event sites. The many participants and travelling companions will create life and atmosphere in the city and on the water, and it will be a unique experience for the city's citizens and the many visitors," said Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard and Councillor for Culture and Citizen Service, Rabih Azad-Ahmad, who have signed the contract together on behalf of the Danish organisers.

The 2018 ISAF Sailing World Championships are organised in collaboration between the International Sailing Federation, ISAF, Dansk Sejlunion, Sailing Aarhus, Sport Event Denmark and the City of Aarhus. The parties share a joint ambition about ensuring that the event becomes the biggest World Championships ever for Olympic boat classes.

ISAF President Carlo Croce said, "The ISAF Sailing World Championships is one of our pinnacle events and it's very complicated to run, you cannot do it by yourself. The Danish organisers are highly competent and the team convey the feeling that they are a strong, united group. The legacy of sailing in Aarhus is fantastic and there is a great opportunity ahead. We are very happy to be taking the event to Aarhus in 2018.

"ISAF is looking for universality and having 100 nations and upwards of 1,600 sailors competing on the Bay of Aarhus in 2018 will be amazing for the sport."

Lars Lundov, Director at Sport Event Denmark, adds, "The World Championships for all Olympic boat classes will head towards Denmark in 2018, and we have set all sails even now together with Aarhus and Dansk Sejlunion in order to establish new standards for the event".

The goal is to set a new record with upwards of 100 participating nations. The World Championships are to attract spectators from Denmark and abroad and set completely new standards for both sailors and spectators. The 2018 World Championships are to bring sailors and spectators closer together and spread enthusiasm both at sea and on land.

The ISAF Sailing World Championships are held every four years, and without comparison, they are the largest event that has the participation of all 10 Olympic boat classes. The distribution of national places in the Olympic Games will start on the Bay of Aarhus. This is where the dream about Olympic medals in Tokyo in 2020 begins for the greatest stars in sailing. As something completely new, kitesurfing has also been added to the World Championships programme.

For decades, Denmark has been among the best sailing nations in the world. A large number of World Championship and Olympic medals won over the years speak of sailing as a sport in which Danish sailors repeatedly manage to deliver top performances when it matters most. It is therefore only natural that Danish sailors look forward to competing in their home territory.

"The ISAF Sailing World Championships will make Aarhus an international brand in sailing once and for all. From the moment the Olympic flame is extinguished in Rio in 2016, every sailing nation in the world will start focusing on Aarhus. Over the next two years, a steady and ever increasing stream of sailors and coaches will visit Aarhus to get to know the World Championship waters. However, nobody knows the Bay of Aarhus better than the Danish sailors, and we look forward to demonstrating our skills to a home audience," says Hans Natorp, Chairman of Dansk Sejlunion.

The ambition is that the World Championships in 2018 will, in several ways, be bigger than the most recent World Championships in Spanish Santander.

In Santander, 1,167 sailors from 82 nations took part. The area for the sailing finals was visited by 285,000 people, and the event was covered by 196 journalists. The local authorities assess that the financial effect of the World Championships amounted to approx.37.18 million Euros.

"The 2018 World Championships are a clear victory for sailing on the Bay of Aarhus. The event will place Aarhus on the 'world sailing map' once and for all, and Sailing Aarhus is ready with a strong and experienced crew," says Mette Rostgaard Evald, Chairman of Sailing Aarhus.

The 2018 ISAF Sailing World Championships will be launched in August 2018.Second only to the Olympic Games, these ISAF World Championships are the most important event for the Olympic boat classes. The ISAF World Championships are held every four years – during the even years between the Olympic Games – most recently, they were held in the autumn of 2014 in Santander, Spain. All other years, the World Championships are spread out as separate events for the individual boat classes.

Published in World Sailing
Tagged under

#isafsailingworldcup – After four days of red hot ISAF World Cup competition – in conditions similar to those expected next year for the Olympic regatta itself – three Irish campaigns are regrouping after less than stellar results on the French riviera. The sailors will review performances ahead of the Delta Lloyd Regatta which takes place in Medemblik, Netherlands next month. In a tough outcome, (given the achievement of two Irish medal race finishes in Palma earlier this month) there was no Irish participation in any of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères medal races yesterday, ironically in the first real breeze of the week. It would have suited Dun Laoghaire's Annalise Murphy who finished up 30th out of 40. The Belfast 49er campaign of Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern, silver medal winners in Hyeres last year, were 24th from 40. The 49erfx of Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey was 26th.

Next month's Delta Lloyd Regatta acts as the qualification regatta for ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland which takes place at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition venue from 8-14 June. Delta Lloyd regatta also acts as an Irish trial for the men's Laser. Belfast's James Espey and Dun Laoghaire debutante Finn Lynch are to face each other in the trial for a place at the Rio test event known as 'Aqueece Rio'  in August. 

The fan was turned up for the final day at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères as an exciting finale played out across two racing areas.

18-20 knots of breeze ensured the regatta concluded with thrills and spills aplenty. Seven races unravelled on the live broadcast area – click above vid for a full replay – whilst a further three concluded nearby.

Across the ten Olympic disciplines, ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères medals were awarded, a share of the €72,000 was distributed and ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots were picked up.

49erFX

Last on the race track on the final day, the 49erFX provided a blockbuster conclusion.

Big breeze and big waves tested the 49erFX sailors and there were some thrills, spills and close shaves in a testing race.

One point split overnight leaders Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) and Denmark's Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen coming into the day.

Following a clear start and intriguing upwind leg, the first mark saw the Danes hold the advantage, getting clear air in their sails. However a close rounding saw the Brazilians touch the mark resulting in a penalty turn and from there they were always playing catch up.

The Danes were able to edge away ensuring an uphill battle for the Brazilians. Pushing their 49erFX to its limits Grael and Kunze lost a bit of control on the second downwind but expertly held it together, with Grael hanging out of the boat yet keeping it upright.

Meanwhile the Danes were never under great pressure, working through the motions and despite being pipped to the Medal Race win by compatriots Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) they claimed gold by seven points over silver recipients Grael and Kunze.

"We had a really good race," commented the pair almost in tandem. "We kept calm throughout the course and that was important in these conditions.

"We kept it simple, without pressure and sailed fast."

Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) held on to bronze after a fifth. After racing Conti said, "We made a few mistakes so we're a little disappointed but we're happy because we had good boat speed and handling. We are happy with bronze. It means a lot to us. After silver in Miami it's important for us."

Top Three
1 - Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) - 87
2 – Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) – 94
3 – Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) – 99

Women's 470

It was a winner takes all scenario in the Women's 470 with any of the top four capable of taking gold.

Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA), Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR), Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) and Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) were all in the running with the capabilities to command and conquer.

In a close, exciting race Medal Race Brazil's Oliveira and Barbachan came out of the blocks with intent and led at the first mark. They made some gains on the downwind but had Japan's Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka for company on the second lap. The Japanese pair passed the Brazilians to take the bullet but it was irrelevant as the Brazilians were well clear of their rivals and finished in second to take gold.

"The points were so close," explained Oliveira. "We thought that we must do our job and sail our own race. We thought about the points and the other boats but we just focused on us. It was perfect. We finished second in the race and we're so happy.

"It was our goal to win here and we worked very hard for this and we got it. It's amazing, we're so happy."

Aleh and Powrie came through in third in the Medal Race to move up into silver medal position. "It's a great way to finish," commented Aleh. "It's been a tough week. The Brazilians have been great all week and it was an exciting Medal Race with us all fighting it out."

Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) followed behind the Kiwis and clinched bronze. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) missed out on the podium by a single point.

Top Three Women's 470
Fernanda Oliveira & Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA) – 45
Jo Aleh & Polly Powrie (NZL) – 53
Camille Lecointre & Helene Defrance (FRA) – 54

Men's 470

It was clear for all to see that Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic's (CRO) winter training paid off. The pair ended came into the Medal Race 25 points clear of Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) to claim the gold medal a day early.

Fantela and Igor got off to a great start in the windiest and roughest sea state that the competition had seen all week to finish seventh in the fleet, ending the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères on an impressive 40 points.

The fight for second and third place however was much less certain.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) rounded the first mark in pole position. They held their lead throughout the race and went on the claim the Medal Race victory which handed them silver. Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) finished just four points behind the Australians in third place.

Top Three
1 – Sime Fantela & Igor Marenic (CRO) – 40
2 – Mat Belcher & Will Ryan (AUS) – 55
3 – Luke Patience & Elliot Willis (GBR) – 59

Women's RS:X

Lilian De Geus (NED) booked her ticket to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Abu Dhabi World Cup Final by taking gold in the Women's RS:X.

The Dutch sailor had a solid advantage heading into the Medal Race and knew a good performance would seal the deal. She put on an outstanding show in the Medal Race and established a commanding lead on the final downwind.

She pulled away to take her first race win of the week, ending 11 points clear of Charline Picon (FRA).

It was a high scoring affair in the Women's RS:X with ups and downs aplenty.

Picon came through in second in the Medal Race to take silver, a result she was pleasantly surprised with, "If you had said to me three days ago 'you'll win silver this week' I would have said that it was impossible but I'd never give up.

"I never gave up, I tried to fight and I'm happy because I have silver but I'm not happy about my week as I had a lot of bad races."

Patricia Freitas (BRA) pushed Picon hard in the Medal Race in an attempt to overthrow her but at the penultimate rounding she misjudged the layline which allowed the French sailor to pass. Nonetheless Freitas came through in third, taking bronze.

Top Three
1 - Lilian de Geus (NED) – 90
2 - Charline Picon (FRA) – 101
3 - Patricia Freitas (BRA) – 104

Men's RS:X

A competition made up of the world's most skilled male windsurfers was always going to be a tough challenge for all competitors. Throughout the week there have been many ups and downs with multiple race winners.

France's Pierre Le Coq started the day knowing that he would take home a medal. The Frenchman entered the Medal Race at the top of the leaderboard with a 15 point lead. An eighth or better would seal the deal and Le Coq finished in seventh to wrap up gold.

Piotr Myszka (POL) was on top form in the big breeze, coming second to take silver whilst a fourth for Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) saw him drop into bronze medal position.

Louis Giard (FRA) revelled in the big breeze and took the Medal Race win. With three race victories, Giard recorded the most out of any racer but was not consistent and ended up eighth overall.

Top Three
1 – Pierre le Coq (FRA) – 74
2 – Piotr Myszka (POL – 81 –
3 – Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) – 83

Finn

Great Britain's Giles Scott had gold all but wrapped up in the Finn and a Medal Race bullet confirmed his place at the top of the pack.

Scott has controlled the week with a discarded 24th his only result outside of the top ten and he was pleased with his performance, "Taking the event and the Medal Race win is a great way to round up the regatta, especially when it is my first win in Hyères.

"This was not an easy regatta. The conditions were super difficult with light and shifty winds for most of the week so the result is very rewarding."

Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) gave himself a huge chance of taking a medal following double bullets on the penultimate day. He followed this up with a third in the Medal Race to hold on to silver.

Great Britain's Ed Wright finished the Medal Race in eighth which was enough to hang on to bronze on 75 points. A fifth from Zsombor Berecz (HUN) left him three points off bronze medal position.

Top Three
1 - Giles Scott (GBR) – 38
2 - Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) – 62
3 - Ed Wright (GBR) – 75

Laser

An overnight protest significantly altered the Laser leaderboard.

The results before the protest saw Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) but a solid lead over Tom Burton. However, during the final fleet race Stipanovic pushed Burton off of the proper course and gained a significant advantage as a result. Following the protest, Stipanovic was scored a non discardable 41st having infringed Tom Burton (AUS). The Australian received 21 points following a redress.

Burton came into the day leading on 45 points, followed by Nick Thompson (GBR) on 47 points. Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) and Nicholas Heiner (NED) followed on 57 points with Robert Scheidt (BRA) on 58. Stipanovic, meanwhile, was down the pack on 75 points.

The race commenced in a good breeze and Heiner was over the line early and disqualified ensuring he dropped out of the running.

Charlie Buckingham (USA) came out strongly and grabbed the lead. He was closely followed by Burton and the pair jostled at the front of the pack.

Buckingham had the best of the back and forth exchange, taking the bullet. Burton followed 11 seconds behind to claim gold much to his delight as he hit is Laser with a mixture of relief and frustration after a tough week.

With Heiner out of the running it was between Thompson, van Schaardenburg and Scheidt for the remaining medals.

Thompson remained in control and picked up a fifth to take silver. Scheidt kept van Schaardenburg at bay to finish fourth, claiming bronze.

Top Three
1 – Tom Burton (AUS) – 49
2 – Nick Thompson (GBR) – 57
3 – Robert Scheidt (BRA) - 66

Laser Radial

Evi Van Acker (BEL) made it look easy in the Laser Radial taking out the Medal Race bullet to win by 21 points.

It was all on for the remaining podium spots between Gintare Scheidt (LTU), Josefin Olsson (SWE) and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN).

Scheidt ventured into the Medal Race on 38 points with Rindom on 44 and Olsson on 46.

Whilst Van Acker ran away with the victory Olsson gritted her teeth and got down to business. Pushing hard throughout the race she finished second, doing all she could have possibly done, having started the day in fourth overall.

Olsson had an anxious wait to see where she would finish overall and she witnessed Rindom coming through in fourth followed by Scheidt in fifth. As a result Olsson leapfrogged Rindom but it was not enough to overhaul Scheidt who claimed silver.

Top Three
1 – Evi Van Acker (BEL) – 25
2 – Gintare Scheidt (LTU) – 48
3 – Josefin Olsson (SWE) – 50

49er

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) had gold and silver wrapped up in advance of the Medal Race but there was a fight on for bronze.

The advantage ahead of the day was with David Gilmour and Rhys Mara (AUS). They had an eight point advantage over Germany's Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel and were in control for the first 50% of the race. However, on the second downwind disaster struck for Gilmour and Mara as they capsized and lost their third position.

The Australians dropped down the pack and came through in ninth. The Germans capitalised on the Australians misfortune, coming through in fourth to steal bronze.

Top Three
Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL) – 49
Nathan Outteridge & Iain Jensen (AUS) – 98
Erik Heil & Thomas Ploessel (GER) – 144

Nacra 17

Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) stylishly sealed gold and an Abu Dhabi Final spot in the Nacra 17 by winning the Medal Race in convincing fashion.

The French team have been dominant in the Nacra 17 and had gold wrapped up in advance of the Medal Race. Besson and Riou got off to a blistering start and were able to grab an early advantage over the pack and never looked back, taking the bullet by 14 seconds over Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED).

"We're feeling good," smiled Besson, "It's a great day and it's great to win the Medal Race and finish the week off like that.

"It was really important for France to win here and everybody, including me, is really proud."

A real battle was on behind the French team between the two boats from the Netherlands with Rio 2016 Olympic selection on the line.

Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) brought in an advantage from Trofeo Princesca Sofia and confirmed their spot by finishing second in the Medal Race and second overall. "We've qualified for the Olympics for sure," smiled de Koning.

Mulder added, "This whole week has been a good learning curve for us. We had some difficult conditions with moderate to light winds. The first day was really hard. We had some results in 20s and we learnt a lot and how to come back. We performed well in the next days and we'll take that with us."

Renee Groeneveld and Steven Krol (NED) pushed their compatriots throughout the week but couldn't quite overhaul them picking up bronze.

Top Three
1 - Billy Besson & Marie Riou (FRA) – 57
2 - Mandy Mulder & Coen de Koning (NED) – 84
3 - Renee Groeneveld & Steven Krol (NED) – 98

Sailors will now regroup and review ahead of the Delta Lloyd Regatta which takes in Medemblik, the Netherlands from 26-30 May 2015. The Delta Lloyd Regatta acts as the qualification regatta for ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland which takes place at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition venue from 8-14 June.

The world's best 40 Olympic and Paralympic sailors will put their skills to the test once again in Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain with World Cup honours and Abu Dhabi Final places on the line.

Published in Olympic

#isafworldcup – Two days into the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres, France and it has not been plain sailing for three Irish Olympic sailing campaigners. Sixteen knot winds brought improvements for Annalise Murphy yesterday when she made a dramatic improvement on her opening results with a fifth in race four. She now lies 34th from 40. Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern also improved from day one with their first top ten result, a ninth in race five, after six races sailed to be 26th overall in a 40–boat fleet. The Irish 49erfx, sailed by Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey is 24th from 40.

More on this from David O'Brien in the Irish Times Sailing Column this morning HERE. Racing continues on the French riviera this morning.

The biggest smile of the day at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres belonged to Poland's Maja Dziarnowska after she picked up three straight race wins in the Women's RS:X windsurfer.

When asked about how she dominated the day, Dziarnowska commented, "there is no mercy". With the new ISAF Sailing World Cup format exciting the sailors competing in the French Riviera, no mercy can be shown if they want to end up on top and the Polish racer demonstrated that perfectly well.

A strong breeze, which built to around 16 knots, filled all five courses consistently throughout the day allowing sailors to truly put all their skills to the test.

The leader boards are starting to take shape across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic disciplines in Hyeres ahead of the Medal Races on Sunday 26 April where a share of the €72,000 prize fund, ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots and World Cup glory are on offer.

Men's and Women's RS:X

Maja Dziarnowska (POL) was beaming with smiles after Women's RS:X racing having dominated the day taking a trio of victories.

After racing the Polish racer said, "Compared to yesterday when I finished 29th overall, today was good. I had a lot of fun, good speed, I didn't make many mistakes and that explains my success.

"There is no mercy," she smiled.

Dziarnowska's performance has pushed her up from the middle of the pack to third overall. Lilian De Geus (NED) holds the lead on 13 points after a 2-4-4 day followed by Isobel Hamilton (GBR) on 22 points and Dziarnowska on 31.

Despite De Geus holding a steady lead the day belonged to Dziarnowska who revels in Hyères when the breeze is in, "I really enjoy staying in Hyères because we spend a lot of time training here every year. We spend all of April here so I know this place quite well. The wind shifts, the waves and so on. It's helping.

"This place this year only has 40 women starting and they're the top 40 in the world so it makes the competition really hard. The smallest mistake costs you hugely and you can lose a lot of places."

The world's best Women's windsurfers are racing in Hyères and anticipation was high in the build-up as Dziarnowska concluded, "The format is super exciting. I was waiting for the start of this event for a long time, I couldn't wait. Just to see the progression of myself and the other girls, it's been really exciting.

"I'm enjoying what I do, I enjoy the training, I enjoy staying with my team. We're called Energa Sailing Team. We're cool people and then being with all the women here, I love this lifestyle."

There were ups and downs across the Men's RS:X fleet as the competition ramped up a notch.

Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) started the day exceedingly well by taking the opening race victory as he explained, "I made some good choices sailing upwind and jumped up three places. I was ahead rounding the top mark on the second lap and then I just had to chase the Israeli guy [Nimrod Mashiah] and I slid past him at the start of the slalom."

Kokkalanis struggled in the remaining races posting a 12th and a 23rd, he continued, "I got hit bad at the start in the middle race and I was nearly last so I had to come back but in the last race, something felt really bad. I just couldn't keep up.

"The conditions changed and the wind picked up more so maybe it was my technique or something with my equipment that I didn't tune properly so all these things need to be fixed."

The Greek racer ends the day eighth overall.

Israel's Nimrod Mashiah was the star of the day. Double seconds and a race win catapult the Israeli up into second, one point off leader Piotr Myszka (POL).

Just eight points separate first to seventh place in the Men's RS:X after six races. Six more fleet races follow with the potential for further ups and downs ahead of Sunday's Medal Races.

Nacra 17

It was a busy day for the Nacra 17 fleet. Four races in a good breeze ensured some tired faces back ashore after racing.

Tired, yet full of enthusiasm after racing was Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA). The dynamic French duo started the day with back to back victories. A 12th and a third followed which hands them a handy 14 point lead.

"We're happy because that is a good day for us," commented a Riou after racing.

The Nacra 17 fleet is of the highest calibre. Olympic medallists and World Champions make up the highly competitive fleet. Maintaining a clear head is key as Riou explained, "You have to always keep the focus on your job. You can lose distance and places quickly in this fleet.

"It's really tough to sail at this event but really good to sail in a fleet of 40 good teams. The format is good for sailing because for spectators they can follow and understand our sport, it's better than ever before."

Lin Ea Cenholt Christiansen and Christian Peter Lübeck (DEN) occupy second overall on 30 points with overnight leaders Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) third on 36 points.

Finn

It was a day for the Great Britain's Giles Scott and Ed Wright. The pair sailed consistently well throughout the two races to land them in first and second place respectively at the end of day two.

Scott is well on track to add another podium finish to his already impressive succession of first places he has collected over the last 12 months.

The stronger winds provided the ideal conditions on the water for all of the fleet making the competition for first place even harder. A race win was also claimed by Tapio Nirkko (FIN) who is tenth overall.

49er and 49erFX

Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen (DEN) solidified their spot at the top of the 49erFX leaderboard. The Danes 6-1-6 scorelines sees them atop of the pack on 17 points.

Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) follow on 32 points with Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) third on 35 points.

Nielsen and Olsen have proven themselves in the light flukey Hyères breeze that was present on the opening day as well as the consistent breeze on day two. Time will tell if they can continue their good form to take home gold, a share of the €72,000 prize pot and a spot on the startline at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) asserted their dominance once again in Hyères with a 1-1-2 giving the duo a clear lead ahead of Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen (DEN) in second place.

This is the first ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta for Burling and Tuke in 2015 and half way through the regatta they are well on the way to continuing their unbroken record of regatta victories.

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) also enjoyed a strong day on the water, recording three top fifteen results. They sit in third and still have the opportunity to build on their current success over the next three days.

There was some top quality racing throughout the entire fleet and Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) claimed a first in the last race of the day.

Laser and Laser Radial

It is tight at the top in the Laser Radial with Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) locked on ten points apiece.

Both competitors put their hard opening day behind them to bounce back nicely. Rindom discarded her 24th from day one and added a sixth and a bullet to count ten points. Van Acker scored a 4-2 on the second day, losing her 17th, to share the lead with Rindom.

The day's opening race win went the way of 2013 Laser Radial World Champion Tina Mihelic (CRO). The Croatian is 27th at the moment but has the skills and drive to work her way up the leaderboard with four more fleet races remaining ahead of the Medal Race.

It was a similar scenario in the Laser. Tom Burton (AUS) and Nicholas Heiner (NED) discarded their opening day 33rd and 24th respectively to sit in first and second overall.

Burton was in fine form, taking a third and second to take the lead on seven points. For Heiner, his 4-5 on the day is enough for second. Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) is three points off the Dutchman.

Race victories were picked up by Julio Alsogaray (ARG) who is 19th and Kristian Ruth (NOR). Ruth enjoyed a terrific day taking a fifth alongside his bullet and he moves up to eighth.

Men's and Women's 470

Following on from Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark's (GBR) second place success at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and, with only four races left until the Medal Race, they top the Women's 470 leaderboard by the narrowest of margins.

The day provided the perfect conditions for Mills and Clark who started the brilliantly by gaining a first place and an 18th which the pair have discarded. Mills and Clark have no time to relax however, as the fight for the top three places are extremely close.

Rounding off the top three behind the Brits is Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) in second and Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) in third.

The Men's 470 took to the water this morning and, after two more races Croatian pair Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic end the day in first place five points clear of Gabrio Zandonã and Andrea Trani (ITA) in second.

Race wins on the day went to Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) and Stuart Mcnay and David Hughes (USA) who are sixth overall.

Paralympic Events

In the Sonar, Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) remain at the top of the scoreboard after achieving a second and a third place which the team have discarded. However, the Australian team cannot afford to relax just yet as, hot on their heels and only one point behind are Bruno Jourdern, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) who achieved a bullet in the second race of the day to land them in second place overall.

Thursday is set to be another interesting day on the water for the class as only one point separates second and third place from the top spot.

In the 2.4mR class, Damien Seguin (FRA) had a fantastic day on the water and showed that the stronger conditions suited his style. Seguin gained a second and first place in the two races knocking Bjørnar Erikstad off the top spot and relegating him into second place.

Seguin is no stranger to this event after claiming second place at last year's ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres and with only four races left to go before the medal race, is well on his way to gaining another place on the podium.

Megan Pascoe (GBR) rounds off the top three sailors in third place. While a race win also went to Lasse Klötzing (GER) who finished the day in seventh place.

Racing resumes on Friday 24 April at 11:00 local time when sailors will continue to compete for a place on the podium and a chance to claim their share of the €72,000 prize money on Sunday 26 April.

Published in Olympic

#ISAFupdates – Prize money is to be awarded in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères. €72,000 is to be distributed across the 12 events on show in Hyères when the medals are decided this Sunday.

Irish Olympic sailing campaigners including London 2012 sensation Annalise Murphy – who has already secured a Laser Radial berth for Rio 2016 –  are in the hunt for the new cash prizes. And Belfast Lough's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern (also through to Rio) will be looking to repeat their 2014 performance when they earned silver on the Cote D'Azur.

ISAF President Carlo Croce said, "We are pleased to be awarding the best of the Olympic and Paralympic sailing world with prize money at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères. Alongside the drive to be crowned a Hyères gold medallist and qualifying a spot at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final, the sailors have an added incentive with the addition of prize money.

"The list of athletes competing in Hyères is exceptional and over five days of competition I am looking forward to see how the racing unfolds."

Racing from 22-26 April, the elite level fleets will put their skills to the ultimate test with 40 of the world's best in each class. ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères marks the first occasion where fleets are decided based on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and a qualification regatta.

The world's top 30 sailors from the 2 February 2015 ISAF World Sailing Rankings release were invited to Hyères with the remaining ten receiving their spot at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères qualification regatta, Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

600 Olympic sailors in 400 boats and 39 Paralympic sailors in 25 boats will commence racing on 22 April. A four day racing series will build up to the Medal Races on Sunday 26 April where titles will be won and ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots snapped up.

Published in Olympic

#isafworldcup – Ireland will be hoping to repeat last year's silver medal performance when the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyères, France starts next week. The Olympic sailing campaigners will be in action with podium results the main target for crews that last year made the gold fleet cut in both the Radial and 49er classes. Unfortunately, this year there will be no Irish mens Laser sailor because under a new rule only the top 30 racers have qualified to compete from the ISAF's world rankings.

Northern Ireland's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern took a memorable silver medal last year in the mens skiff class with Annalise Murphy also making inroads at the top of the Laser Radial fleet.

Irish interest is not limited to just the sailors either. Irish international judge, Gordon Davies of Bray, is on the international jury for the ISAF event.

The finest sailing talent on the planet will assemble in Hyères, France from 20-26 April for the next instalment of the ISAF Sailing World Cup.

Elite level fleets in all ten of the Olympic events will put their skills to the ultimate test with 40 of the world's best in each class. ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères marks the first occasion where fleets are decided based on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and a qualification regatta.

The world's top 30 sailors from the 2 February 2015 ISAF World Sailing Rankings release were invited to Hyères with the remaining ten receiving their spot at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères qualification regatta, Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

From now, until 21 April, 600 Olympic sailors in 400 boats and 39 Paralympic sailors in 25 boats will train, prepare and tune up ahead of the first racing day on 22 April. A four day racing series will build up to the Medal Races on Sunday 26 April where titles will be won and ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots snapped up.

49er and 49erFX

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) come into ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères as the pair to beat in the 49er. Seventeen consecutive wins since their silver medal exploits at London 2012 have solidified their position as the ones to beat. The manner in which their victories have come has been outstanding, in many cases winning with a day to spare and even missing out a day of competition to attend the 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards Ceremony.

With the countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition truly on it would be hard to bet against the Kiwis but their rivals are pushing hard.

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) remained in contention with the Kiwis at the recent Trofeo Princesa Sofia whilst Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) come into the event full of confidence following their victory at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) will renew their winning partnership after Jensen sailed with Joel Turner in Miami and they will certainly be in the fray in the French Riviera.

With a packed start line of the world's best 49er talent from day one, the level of competition all the 49er sailors will face will be of the highest quality.

ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) will spearhead the 49erFX fleet, aiming to defend the title they won 12 months prior.

The Brazilians won by eight points over Kiwis Alex Maloney and Molly Meech in 2014 and Grael described Hyères as, 'the best week ever'. With the likes of Maloney and Meech, who recently won ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta winners Maiken and Anne-Juline Foght Schütt (DEN) and the dangerous Marie Olsen and Ida Marie Nielsen (DEN) and Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) on the startline it's set to be another great week of competition.

Laser and Laser Radial

It will be a who's who of Laser and Laser Radial sailing in Hyères with 40 of the finest one-person dinghy sailors within each fleet.

Such is the nature of both fleets that clear favourites would be hard to determine with a mixture of recent regatta winners in the Laser and the Laser Radial.

On a fine run of form, however, is Belgium's Evi Van Acker who has finished on the podium at the last five regattas she's competed in, winning the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, UAE last November. A veteran of nine previous Olympic class regattas in Hyères the Belgian took her first title on French waters in 2014 and will be back to defend her title.

World #1 and 2014 World Champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) will join the Belgian, renewing their long running rivalry once again. Anne Marie Rindom (DEN) will be firmly in the hunt alongside the London 2012 silver and bronze medallists having beaten them both to gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in January.

In the Laser, World #1 Tom Burton (AUS) has had an up and down time in 2015 with an 18th at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and a fifth at Trofeo Princesa Sofia. Burton will make a welcomed return to Hyères having won the last two ISAF Sailing World Cup editions on the French waters.

Germany's Philipp Buhl heads into Hyères in fine form with two wins from his last two regattas. Victory at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and Trofeo Princesa Sofia will give him confidence in a fleet that's packed full of some of the finest athletes in the world.

Names such as Matt Wearn (AUS), Robert Scheidt (BRA), Tonci Stipanovic (CRO), Pavlos Kontides (CYP), Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), Nick Thompson (GBR), Nicholas Heiner (NED), Andy Maloney (NZL), Sam Meech (NZL) and Charlie Buckingham (USA) ensure the fleet is of the highest calibre.

Finn

Giles Scott (GBR) is on a run of nine consecutive Finn regatta victories. His form is impeccable and he will come into Hyères as the man to beat.

Much like Burling and Tuke in the 49er, Scott has won the majority of his regattas by an emphatic margin. Consistently at the top and barely putting a foot wrong Scott has blown his opponents away but Hyères is a regatta gold that does not feature on his mantelpiece.

From four previous appearances, Scott's best result is a second behind compatriot Andrew Mills at the 2013 edition with a seventh coming in 2011, a fourth in 2009 and a 39th in the Laser in 2005. Nonetheless, with an unrivalled run of victories in the Finn, Scott will fancy his chances to add a further gold to his impressive repertoire.

Pieter Jan Postma (NED) won his first ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal in Hyères in 2014 and will be back to defend his title. Further strong competition will come from World #1 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), Thomas Le Breton (FRA), Ed Wright (GBR) and Vasilij Zbogar (SLO).

Nacra 17

Throughout the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup series Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) and Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) were the dominant trio, sharing the podium on a number of occasions.

Whilst the form guide shows that at least one of the breakaway trio will be on the Hyères podium, their stranglehold has been infiltrated recently with a number of teams making impressions on the fleet.

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) took a well-deserved bronze at the 2014 ISAF Worlds and followed this up with gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne, which also confirmed their place on the 2015 Abu Dhabi Final start line. The pair will be aiming to make an impression in Hyères.

A strong British team will also be on the startline and they will be buoyed by recent successes. Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) finished second at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami whilst John Gimson and Hannah Diamond (GBR) picked up silver at Trofeo Princesa Sofia. Gimson and Diamond are a relatively new Nacra 17 pairing and with their silver, qualified for ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères.

Men's and Women's RS:X

French sailors will be at the forefront of the Men's and Women's RS:X fleets In Hyères. Julien Bontemps and Charline Picon made it a double French gold at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain and they have continued that form in 2015.

At the recent Trofeo Princesa Sofia, Picon claimed the women's gold whilst Bontemps narrowly missed out on gold in the men's via countback.

On their home waters in Hyères they will want to continue their good form but face strong opposition.

Kiran Badloe (NED) had the beating of Bontemps at Trofeo Princesa Sofia and will head over to Hyères full of confidence. Fellow Dutchman and London 2012 Olympic Champion Dorian van Rijsselberge will be on the startline as will the strong Polish trio of Przemyslaw Miarczynski, Piotr Myszka and Pawel Tarnowski.

With a strong winter training period behind each competitor, the level of competition in the Men's RS:X will be one of the highest ever seen.

Joining Picon in the Women's RS:X fleet will be World #1 Flavia Tartaglini, ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallist Bryony Shaw (GBR) and London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Marina Alabau (ESP).

Men's and Women's 470

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) and Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) will renew their longstanding rivalry in the Women's 470 in Hyères. Ever since their final day winner takes all battle at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, which saw the Kiwis take gold, the pair have battled it out at the front of the pack.

2014 World and European Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) will miss out on Hyères. Nonetheless the fleet will feature an abundance of big game contenders such as 2013 Hyères gold medallists Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA), Hélène Defrance and Camille Lecointre (FRA), Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) and Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA).

In the Men's 470, as with any regatta they attend, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) will be amongst the favourites. Since their partnership formed, they have featured on every ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta podium they have competed at, winning five gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.

Most recently Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) pushed the Aussies back at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami taking the spoils and they'll be back in the mix in Hyères. Further teams that will be in the hunt in Hyères are Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG), Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO), Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) and Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA).

Paralympic Events

Hyères will feature 18 sailors in the 2.4mR and seven teams in the Sonar.

At the 2014 edition of ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères, Heiko Kroger (GER) and Damien Seguin (FRA) had an epic final race winner takes all battle in the 2.4mR. The German came from behind to defeat Seguin and take gold. The rivalry will be renewed in 2015. The 18-boat fleet features a number of leading contenders who will want to come between Kroger and Seguin. London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) will be in the mix as will her compatriot Megan Pascoe.

Bjorner Erikstad (NOR) won ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in January and will also fancy his chances in Hyères.

In the Sonar, John Robertson, Steve Thomas and Hannah Stodel (GBR) will return to defend their title. Joining them will be World Cup Miami gold medallists Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen as well as 2014 Hyères silver medallists Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA).

Team Providence Ireland will be racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères from Wednesday 22 April. Medal Races on Sunday 26 April will bring the regatta to a close.

Published in Olympic

#trofeosofia – Ireland leaves Palma tonight with a medal in the demonstration sport of kitesurfing, thanks to the efforts of Jade O'Connor, plus two medal race finishes for the Irish Olympic sailing team. It's a considerable improvement on last year's 'rusty' Irish performance at the same venue when Annalise Murphy did not make the gold fleet cut.

Unfortunately, Annalise was disqualified as a premature starter in today's medal race dropping the one time regatta leader to fifth overall at the 46th edition of the Trofeo Sofia, a nevertheless strong performance for the National YC solo sailor that featured seven top ten placings from ten races.

Belfast 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern finished sixth in their medal race moving them up one place to ninth overall at the first ISAF world cup event event in their new boat.

Dun Laoghaire's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the women's 49erfx finished 20th from 47.

Belfast's James Espey will be disappointed with his score of 45th from 164 in the men's Laser division.

The medal races confirmed the leaders in all classes except in the RS:X men.

Young windsurfer Kiran Badloe (NED) had been gnawing day after day at the points safety margin that separates him from leader Julien Bontemps (FRA). Today he inflicted the killer blow, winning the medal race and the title on equal points with the World Champion. " I am very happy with the win. During the week, results were ok but the sailing is not perfect yet. I started poorly a few times. But with my speed and some smart sailing I could recover nicely. You have to realise the Polish and most of the French are not here including Dorian, so a number of tough competitors are missing. I am very happy with the progress we made last winter in New Zealand. Some of it is paying off now!"

In all other Olympic classes, the medal races didn't affect the leaders.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) have successfully defended their title in the 470 with command and prove once more they deserve their world #1 status!The Olympic Gold medallists will also be awarded tonight by the Her Majesty Queen Sofia, the prestigious Trofeo consacrating the best team during the week.
Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) won the medal race closing the gap to 3 points threatening the kiwis supremacy during the medal race. The French take Silver with Bronze going to Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR).

Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG) are back in force after an eight month break from the 470 competition. The Argentinians played it well all week, making the most of their combined experience to overcome their absence. "We had many days with shifty conditions and that suited us well. We could make gains on the fleet by sailing smart. It is great for our confidence to see that we are still competitive despite our forced retirement from competition." On the shore, the multiple Olympic medallists were warmly greated by the other 470 teams obviously happy to see their worthy Argentinian opponents back in shape! Luke Patience and Elliott Willis (GBR) take Silver in front of Johan Molund and Sebastian Östling (SWE) who settle for Bronze.

Gintare Scheidt (LTU) won the medal race in the Laser Radial. With Evi van Acker (BEL) taking the title on the penultimate day, Silver and Bronze went to Alison Young (GBR) and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN). The Laser Radial fleet was one of the most competitive in Palma this week despite the absence of current World Champion Marit Bouwmeester who had to withdraw from the competition at the start of the week.

Philipp Buhl (GER) wins Gold in the Laser after dominating all week in varied conditions. Jesper Stalheim (SWE) claims the medal race to climb to second overall in front of Nicholas Heiner (NED) third. Danish teams proved once again their edge on the fleet with two teams at the front. Training together and spending time in Palma have proven fruitful with again great results collected in the Trofeo IBEROSTAR. Maiken and Anne-Julie Foght Schutt (DEN) win the event with Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thuagaard Olsen a close second. "We have been training for about three weeks in Palma with the other teams and understand the conditions." explains Maiken Foght Schutt. "This week we had everything. When the wind comes from the land it is like in Denmark and with the regular sea breeze we can make the most of our good speed." Olivia Price and Eliza Solly (USA) win the medal race and the third place.

Nacra World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou win the medal race after winning the event with a day to spare. The french teams are performing well in Palma proving that good team work is paying off.
Silver goes to John Gimson and Hannah Diamond. Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) grab the Bronze by one point.

The top 3 remain unchanged in the 49er. New-Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have been hard to beat, only threatened by German sailors Heil and Ploessel. Third goes to Brazilians Bianchi / Lowbeer. "I like to think that we have many strength and not so many weaknesses. We are working really hard and are consistent with our results." says Burling to explain their good form in Palma.

Finn Wold Champion Giles Scott (GBR) took the medal race and the title. The Finns were blessed with the best conditions out there today. After being sent out and back to the shore in the dying winds, the Finns went back out to enjoy a perfect 15 knots seabreeze allowing pumping. "We had a very good medal race." confirms Giles Scott. "It went well for me – I managed to come away with the win and seal the Championship, which is obviously great news for me!" Scott had to borrow a boat to sail most of the regatta after damaging his Finn earlier this week. "It was good to see how I could go in a different boat. Finns are very personal, so to be able to use someone else's and still come away with the regatta win, you have to take some positives from that and it's all good practice." Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is taking Silver and Finnish Tapio Nirkko the Bronze.

Female RS:X World Champion, Charline Picon is securing yet another event victory and is continuing on her good form. Lilian de Geus conserves her earlier second place while Eugenie Ricard (FRA) climbs to third overall.

Many stories developed in Palma this week with countries Olympic selections spicing up the contest.

The attention was especially focussed on the Dutch team for which Olympic selection was on the table in many classes. The Trofeo IBEROSTAR was the last chance for Nicholas Heiner to keep the Dutch Laser Olympic trial opened against Rutger Van Schaardenburg. The 2014 ISAF World Champion needed to be in front to extend the trials. "I am very pleased that my results are so good that I have prolonged the national selection with Rutger." explains Heiner, "Above all very pleased with the fact that I perform well under pressure, when it is needed. For the first time I am not on my back foot in this selection. It is all square and we start with a clean slate."

The 49er FX medal race saw the end of a very intense and dramatic Olympic selection between Dutch teams of Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz and Nina Keijzer / Claire Blom. The latest had an eight points advantage after the Miami SWC but were out of the medal race in 12th position in Palma, meaning that Bekkering/Duetz had to finish today at least in 4th position to overcome their rival. A 9th place in the medal race added two points too many to Bekkering/Duetz score who place 5th overall. Nina Keijzer and Claire Blom win the Dutch Olympic selection in the FX.

The third Olympic selection has concretised in Palma for Japanese RS:X sailor Makoto Tomizawa. The Trofeo Sofia IBEROSTAR has also marked the start of Japaneses Olympic selections in the women and men 470.

Paralympic Champion, Helena Lucas has retained her title after a very intense regatta against team mate Megan Pascoe and Norwegian Bjornar Erikstad who take second and third place.

Marc Patino and Pau Balaguer won the Dragon regatta over Patrick Monteiros and Pedro Manuel Da Costa Alemao.

The prize giving ceremony will take place tonight under the Cathedral to honour all the winners. Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain will present the awards.

Top three by class:

470 Men
1. Lucas Calabrese / Juan De La Fuente, ARG
2. Luke Patience / Elliot Willis, GBR
3. Johan Molund / Sebastian Ostling, SWE

470 Women
1. Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL
2. Camille Lecointre / Helene Defrance, FRA
3. Hannah Mills / Saskia Clark, GBR

49er
1. Peter Burling / Blair Tuke, NZL
2. Erik Heil / Thomas Ploessel, GER
3. Dante Bianchi / Thomas Lowbeer, BRA

49er FX
1. Maiken Foght Schitt / Anne-Julie Foght Schutt, DEN
2. Ida Marie Baad Nielsen / Marie Thuagaard Olsen, DEN
3. Olivia Price / Eliza Solly, AUS

Finn
1. Giles Scott, GBR
2. Ivan Kljukovic Gaspic, CRO
3. Tapio Nirkko, FIN

Laser
1. Philipp Buhl, GER
2. Jesper Stalheim, SWE
3. Nicholas Heiner, NED

Laser Radial
1. Evi Van Acker, BEL
2. Alison Young, GBR
3. Anne-Marine Rindom, DEN

NACRA 17
1. Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA
2. John Gimson / Hannah Diamond, GBR
3. Franck Cammas / Sophie De Turckheim, FRA

RS:X Men
1. Kiran Badlow, NED
2. Julien Bontemps, FRA
3. Sebastian Fleischer, DEN

RS: X Women
1. Charline Picon, FRA
2. Lilian De Geus, NED
3. Eugenie Ricard, FRA

2.4 Metre
1. Helena Lucas, GBR
2. Megan Pascoe, GBR
3. Bjornar Erikstad, NOR

Kiteboard Men
1. Florian Trittel, ESP
2. Alejandro Climent Hernandez, ESP
3. Ivan Doronin, RUS

Kiteboard Women
1. Elena Kalinina, RUS
2. Anastasia Akopova, RUS
3. Jade O Connor, IRL

Dragon
1. Marc Patimo / Pau Balaguer, ESP
2. Patrick Monteiro De Barros / Pedro Manuel, POR
3. C. Carbajal / J. Company/N.Sanchez, ESP

Published in Olympic

#sailingolympics – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decision to drop sailing from the 2020 Paralympics is a wake-up call for the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). While the commentary talks about failures on the part of IFDS, the real issue seems to be sailing's lack of penetration into national sports programmes. Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, said sailing did "not fulfil the IPC handbook's minimum criteria for worldwide reach."

Last October, Water Rat commented as follows about the modern sailing world: ISAF is still very much a white, first world, wealthy organisation, with little outreach to the developing world. The same is true of the International Federation for Disabled Sailing. And all the participating countries can complain all they like, but until more disabled sailing programmes are established in the developing world their pleas will fall on deaf ears. It is tough to establish such programmes when equipment and access are such an important part of getting afloat, but such is the reality.

Is there a parallel with mainstream sailing. Well, it's not just about numbers, because ISAF has those with 140+ affiliated Member National Authorities, but many of those don't turn up at events, The Youth Worlds, for example, gets about 60 MNAs participating, well less than half the total affiliated number. Squash, one of the candidate sports for 2020 has a similar amount and although another of the candidate sports, softball has less, they have much greater activity in the developing nations in Africa and central America and Caribbean. Wushu, a martial art candidate sport, claims 147 affiliated nations.

And while it is not believed that sailing is under serious threat for 2024, it is not currently because of its lack of universality, rather that it is lower down the list than say, equestrian, synchronised swimming or pentathlon. Indeed pressure may come off sailing as some sports are facing dropping disciplines in an attempt to make the games more relevant, Athletics could well lose walking and triple jump for example, while rhythmic gymnastics could also go.

However, neither the paralympic or the mainstream sailing community will be impressed by ISAF's latest statement regarding their review of the IPC decision, which, albeit perhaps unintentionally, suggests that ISAF has accepted the IPC's 2020 decision and intends to concentrate on 2024 re-instatement. It is to be hoped that ISAF are now alive to the pressures on sailing's survival as an Olympic Sport.

Published in Your Say
Page 3 of 16

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