As expected a prompt start at 12:00 noon with both the mens fleets planing off the start line. It was really mixed decision as half of the fleet chose to start on port. Near collisions between planing and non planing sailors, drove some slower competitors to a second row position in mere moments. From the top deck of the media boat all you could see was a large group of planing port tackers speeding towards a close hauled, centre board down group of starboard sailors. Super exciting. Lots of noise, and lots of cheers from spectator boats
The thermal breeze coming from the shore proved the smarter option. This was madeblatantly clear even minutes into the race. The right side of the race track the preferred. Nicolas Huguet FRA8(Nickname Bobby) took the lead from the start and opened up a large margin early and just dominated. The wind on the outer loop of the coarse was obviously lighter, but still favored Bobby's tactics. Team mate Julien Bontemp FRA6, and Casper Bouman NED7, dueled it out for a very close battle, with Casper making good at the finish line.
In the second heat Nicolas Huguet did much the same. but was joined by Joao Rodrigues POR75 this time. Joao a fierce competitor, has been at top level olympic windsurfing for more than a decade. Julien Bontemp, never to be out done held on to a firm 3rd place.
The silver fleet, who sailed the inner loop part of the coarse, did much the same. Big Port starts, lots of near misses, all trying to get to the wind first, that being closest to the beach. A strong presence saw two bullets go to the Polish this time. The first heat saw Michal Pollanovski POL16, being pushed by Maksym Obermenko UKR19, and Nick Dempsey GBR21. Nick is fresh off his two wins(Miami and Palma). The second heat saw Piotr Myszka POL82 a former formula sailor, win from Ivan Pastor ESP7 and a great effort from New Caledonian native Benjamin Tillier FRA39, now training and studying in La Rochelle. coming a very credible third.
The women started around an hour later than the men, at 13:00 hours. Finding conditions slowly getting lighter. Unfortunately they were only able to get one race completed. It was nearly a carbon copy of the earlier mens races only lighter. The start was a little more orderly, as we come to expect, Less port tacking and more tactics. Marina Alabau ESP5 (bronze medal at princess Sofia race) is showing that she is primed and ready to make the Hyeres event another strong showing, Marina took the Bullet,winning the race comfortably from Zofia Klepekca POL8, then Antonia Frey GRE. with a gap of around 20 seconds to Limei Sun CHN12, and Faustine Merret FRA 9, coming a close 5th. The group that followed were so close I have no idea how the race committee is able to get the results correct. But they do a great job here in the south of France
14:35 The wind almost shut down completely. Shifts swinging up to 120 degrees forced the racecommittee topostpone the next start for the women. In a hope that the wind may cooperate, the start boat motored to a closer position to the shore, proceeded to drop anchor. Tried to have a top mark laid. But to no avail. the wind didn't want to contribute any more and the day was finished. a real shame considering the calibre of the women's racing.It will probably be a good guess that the women will be sent out first thing tomorrow, to make up for the lost race not run this afternoon.
Check out http://sof.ffvoile.net/ where you can find all the results.
Heat 1 Heat 2
Nicolas Huguet (FRA8) Nicolas Huguet(FRA8)
Casper Bouman(NED7) Joao Rodrigues(POR75)
Julien Bontemp(FRA6) Julien Bontemp(FRA6)
Heat 1 Heat2
Michal Pollanowski(POL16) Piotr Myszka(POL82)
Maksym Obermenko(UKR19) Ivan Pastor(ESP7)
Nick Dempsey(GBR21) Benjamin Tillier(FRA39)