Golden end for Shaw and Team Draper-Hiscocks
British sailors won five medals in five classes on the final day of the French Olympic Sailing Week in Hyeres on Friday (27 April), with gold going to World Champions Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks in the 49er class, and windsurfer Bryony Shaw.
After predominantly light wind conditions earlier in the week, the French Rivera resort saw its second consecutive day of 12-15 knot conditions for the final and decisive day of racing at this Grade 1 regatta.
In the RS:X women’s windsurfing discipline, Bryony Shaw went into the last day in first place and finished her regatta in the best possible shape. She was second behind nearest rival Blanca Manchon of Spain heading into the first windward mark, but then took control and was leading by the time she hit the first leeward gate. She won the race by a comfortable margin to hand her the regatta win with a 10 point buffer over Manchon.
Nick Dempsey was involved in a battle royal with Brazilian Ricardo Santos in the RS:X men’s medal race with the two sailors evenly matched until Dempsey raced to one of the wrong marks. He finished the final in second, which pulled him up to seventh overall after a disappointing start to the week.
Athens bronze medallists Draper and Hiscocks helped ensure a golden end to the week for Skandia Team GBR, clinching the regatta win after a nail-biting final race in which they trailed the rest of the pack heavily, eventually finishing the race in eighth place. It was enough to see them hold on to their overnight lead by four points and broke break their jinx of the Hyeres regatta being the only Grade 1 event they’ve never won a medal at.
“We were pretty slow upwind today – we didn’t quite get our rig tuning right so that didn’t help,” Draper explained.
“We were pretty disappointed with that race, but of course still really pleased to have won. We had a bad first day to our regatta, but kept on believing throughout that we could do it and surpassed our goal for the event which was to finish in the top five.”
John Pink and Simon Wheeler notched up a fourth race win of the week in the medal race today to end their superb run this week in fourth place overall, while European Champions Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes end the regatta in sixth.
John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas secured silver in the Paralympic Sonar class with a third from their final fleet race, while Helena Lucas sailed a solid last race in the 2.4mR class, only to discover she was judged to have crossed the startline early – she took the bronze, with Megan Pascoe finishing sixth overall.
Yngling crew Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson continued their lucrative run as a crew adding a bronze medal and a fourth straight podium finish to their silver medals at the recent Princes Sofia Trophy in Palma, the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta in January and a bronze at the Skandia RYA Sail for Gold Regatta last October.
The Skandia Team GBR sailors went into today’s race in the silver medal position, but the USA boat, skippered by Sally Barkow, got the better of them early on in the final showdown to cross the finish line first, with Ayton, Webb and Wilson in second. The two crews were then on equal points in the results table, but Barkow’s superior position in the medal race was the deciding factor.
Victoria Rawlinson, Emma Rawlinson and Sue Monson – 11th hour recruits to the medal race after the disqualification of Shirley Robertson, Annie Lush and Lucy Macgregor last night – finished ninth overall in the Yngling event.
In the Finn class, Ed Wright was unable to pull himself back into the podium spots today – he needed to finish ahead of New Zealander Dan Slater, but after a premature start he had to re-cross the start line and only managed to recover to eighth place, while Slater finished in seventh. Giles Scott had a notable fourth in his first Grade 1 medal race to finish ninth overall.
Two sets of penalty turns for Paul Goodison in the Laser final ended his chances of a podium position – he finished tenth overall.
Skandia Team GBR medallists
Chris Draper-Simon Hiscocks (49er)
Bryony Shaw (RS:X women)
John Robertson-Hannah Stodel-Stephen Thomas (Sonar)
Sarah Ayton-Sarah Webb-Pippa Wilson (Yngling)
Helena Lucas (2.4mR)
For results and information from the regatta, visit http://www.skandiateamgbr.com/events/hyeresreg/