British skiff sailors ruled the second day of World Cup Series racing in Hyeres, France, with Dylan Fletcher-Stuart Bithell and Charlotte-Saskia Tidey each winning two of their three races on Wednesday (26 April).
Fletcher and Bithell built upon a solid opening day on Tuesday with two further race wins and a tenth in the 49er fleet to see them emerge from a three-way points tie with the yellow jerseys heading into Thursday’s third day of competition.
James Peters and Fynn Sterritt join their teammates in the top five.
Dobson and Tidey weren’t to be outdone in the skiff stakes, winning the day in the women’s 49erFX fleet with 1,1,5 from their three races, which elevates them into overall second place behind Olympic Champions Martine Grael-Kahena Kunze of Brazil after six races and two days of competition.
“I think if anyone had said we were going to get that today we’d have definitely snapped it out of their hands!” said Dobson of their day two race results.
“We had an absolutely blinding day – we had quite nice breeze and had two solid bullets in the first two races, which is amazing to see. Certainly at this stage in our campaign it’s great to see what super-strengths we’re going to base our campaign around.”
Dobson and Tidey are a new combination for this season, with Tidey a new face into the British Sailing Team having previously represented Ireland.
“My father’s actually British, 50 percent of me is British, so I don’t feel too far away from home!” she explained.
“After Rio I decided I wanted a change, a new challenge. I’m very proud to be on the British Sailing Team and to sail with Charlotte. It was a great opportunity, I couldn’t say no. I’ve loved every minute so far.”
It’s early days for the duo, with Hyeres being just their third event together, but both are excited about their campaign towards Tokyo.
“We’ve been really clear that the first six or seven months of this year was very process-orientated. It’s about finding out who we are, what are we good at, what are our opportunities to get better, what can we build our campaign around in terms of strengths and what we feel is our trajectory really to winning a medal in Tokyo,” Dobson explained.
“I just think it’s a really exciting opportunity for two people from different campaigns to come together and really sift through what we think is necessary and what we can leave behind,” Tidey added.
“I think our super strengths are we’re really clear in our vision of what we want to achieve and it’s really exciting to see what we’re going to do in the future.”
Ben Cornish maintained his overall lead in the Finn class after two races on Wednesday, with Ed Wright also breaking into the top ten, in sixth overall, with the help of a win in the second race of the day.
Nick Thompson retains second place overall in the Laser fleet, which managed just one of their scheduled two races as wind conditions deteriorated during the afternoon. Elliot Hanson, silver medallist at the Princess Sofia Trophy last month, advanced to eighth place.
Four British boats are inside the top ten of the Nacra 17 multihull event after six races. In fourth is Miami World Cup winner Ben Saxton with Steph Orton, Miami silver medallists Tom Phipps-Nikki Boniface in fifth, Palma bronze medallists John Gimson-Anna Burnet in seventh and Chris Rashley-Laura Marimon Giovanetti in ninth.
Aiming for their first Olympics at Tokyo 2020, Phipps is excited about his and Boniface’s progress in this transitional year for the mixed multihull as it moves to a foiling class.
“It’s a new cycle, and a lot of the big names weren’t there at the very start of the year. Everyone’s coming back now and what’s nice for Nic and I is that we’re continuing to fight right at the front of the fleet and if we can carry on in this sort of trajectory then hopefully we’ll be looking pretty good in the years to come,” the Falmouth sailor explained.
“[The foiling boats] are really exciting to sail, there’s no doubt about it. I think it will change the way we race a little bit, which we’ll all have to get used to, but I think I’m most looking forward to the challenge of how to sail the new boat and it’s a completely new concept really with the foil arrangement and things like that. There’ll be a lot of new skills and it’ll be really interesting to see how techniques and everything develop.”
In the women’s 470 fleet, Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter are in fifth overall with Jess Lavery-Flora Stewart in eighth, while Georgina Povall is currently ninth in the Laser Radial.
The RS:X men’s and women’s windsurfers only saw one race of their scheduled three on Wednesday. Izzy Hamilton and Emma Wilson are seventh and eighth respectively in the women’s event, Tom Squires is 19th in the RS:X men’s fleet with Martin Wrigley-James Taylor the top-ranked British crew in the 470 Men’s class.
In the invitational events outside of the Olympic classes, Will Street is 12th in the 2.4mR Paralympic class with Connor Bainbridge ninth in the kiteboard racing event.
Competition at the 2017 World Cup Series in Hyeres, France, continues on Thursday 27 April and culminates in medal racing on Saturday 29 April for the 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, RS:X Men and RS:X Women’s events, and on Sunday 30 April for the Laser, Laser Radial, 470 Men, 470 Women and Finn.
Full regatta results from round two of the 2017 World Cup Series in Hyeres, France.
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