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
.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.
Regrettably the only Irish competitors competing for honours in the event in the 49er, the 49erFX and the Laser Radial Classes did not make it through to the medal races
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.”
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
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.
1 – Evi Van Acker (BEL) – 25
2 – Gintare Scheidt (LTU) – 48
3 – Josefin Olsson (SWE) – 50
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.
Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL) – 49
Nathan Outteridge & Iain Jensen (AUS) – 98
Erik Heil & Thomas Ploessel (GER) – 144
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.