Nine British boats have booked their berths for Saturday’s first medal race day at the Hyeres World Cup after a weather disrupted fourth day of competition.
Strong winds on Friday shook up the schedule and the placings once the breeze had abated enough to allow for racing to start – and with the top ten spots for Saturday’s finals in the 49er, 49erFX, NAcra 17 and RS:X men’s and women’s windsurfing events up for grabs, there was tough competition amid equally tough conditions.
Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey will start tomorrow’s 49erFX medal race in bronze medal position, ending their three-race day on Friday in style with a race win.
They have a comfortable 18-point lead over the fourth-placed Norwegian team heading into tomorrow’s final, with the German crew of Victoria Jurczok-Anika Lorenz in silver medal position 11 points ahead of the British pair.
Kate Macgregor and Sophie Ainsworth also made the medal race cut for Saturday in overall eighth place with the help of three scores inside the top seven.
Overnight leaders Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell endured a difficult day on the shifty 49er race course, picking up 9,18,25 from their three races, but remain in silver medal position.
Gold is now out of their grasp with Spaniards Diego Botin-Iago Lopez having secured victory ahead of the medal race, but the British pair will face a fierce battle for the remaining podium positions as they head into the final day level on points with the Swedish team of Carl Sylvan-Marcus Anjemark and seven points ahead of the Argentinian Lange brothers.
James Peters-Fynn Sterritt will also race in the men’s skiff final, qualifying in seventh place.
“A long day and a crazy day!” was how Nikki Boniface described the day in the Nacra 17 fleet, as she and Tom Phipps were among the three British Sailing Team crews to have made the ten-boat medal race cut.
“We spent the morning waiting for the breeze to decrease a bit and we ended up sailing mid-afternoon today and by the time we got out there it had actually gone a bit wacky.
“There was a lot of wind still but also a lot of holes so it was quite hard on the race course.”
Phipps and Boniface will head into the multihull final in fourth place, ten points from the bronze medal spot, but will have fifth-placed teammates Ben Saxton-Steph Orton breathing down their necks. John Gimson-Anna Burnet will also feature for the British Sailing Team, qualifying in seventh place.
“It’s pretty tight backwards for us with Ben and Steph so we’ll be keeping an eye on them, but we’ve also got the opportunity to move forwards,” Phipps explained. “We need to get a few boats between us and the Danish, but we’ll do our absolute best.
“If the conditions are like today then literally anything could happen so we’ll give it our all and see what happens at the end of it.”
Izzy Hamilton has the chance of a podium spot in the RS:X women’s windsurfing medal race. She starts in fourth, nine points from the bronze spot, while Youth World Champion Emma Wilson will join her teammate among the ten finalists with the 18-year-old picking up her first ever World Cup race win in the first race of the day on Friday.
Tom Squires enjoyed Friday’s conditions in the RS:X men’s fleet, picking up 6,11,3 on the water today to end his regatta in 13th.
Saturday will be all-important for the Laser, Laser Radial, Finn and 470 Men’s and Women’s fleets with two more races per class to decide the final medal racers for Sunday.
World Champions Nick Thompson and Ali Young could be happy with their efforts in the Laser and Laser Radial fleets, with Thompson advancing to third overall with 3,2 and Young scoring a race win and a fifth to move her inside the top ten in eighth place.
Ben Cornish retains overall third place in the Finn fleet, with Ed Wright gaining ground to fifth after two races on Friday, while Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter are currently in fourth in the 470 Women’s event.
Martin Wrigley-James Taylor are 26th in the 470 Men’s event, with Will Street is 11th heading into Saturday’s final day for the 2.4mR class.
Medal racing on Saturday is scheduled as follows:
49er – 1205 (warning signal)
49erFX – 1245
RS:X Men – 1325
RS:X Women – 1405
Nacra 17 – 1445
Full regatta results from round two of the 2017 World Cup Series in Hyeres, France.
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