Hyeres Regatta – Aussies excel in Mistral wind

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) athletes again took advantage of a Mistral wind on Day 2 of the 2023 Hyeres Regatta in France, with wins and top three places aplenty in the ILCA 7 and 49erFX classes.

The three ILCA 7 groups sailed their two scheduled races and in athlete, Finn Alexander’s words, “The Aussies had a solid one.”

Alexander moved up to second place overall, courtesy of a second and a bullet, while Ethan McAullay maintained fifth place overall after being Black Flagged in the first race of the day, only to bounce back and win the second race.

Reigning Olympic gold medallist, Matt Wearn, was not to be left out, winning Race 3 in his group and placing second in Race 4. He is sixth overall on countback to McAullay.

“It was windy again. I had a good idea of what the priorities were for the day; start well and go the right way from there,” Alexander said.

“It’s great to put good scores on the board – to be in the game and in the hunt. All I was trying to do was be clean at the start and get away quickly. Today, when I got into the rhythm, I could use my endurance when others were getting tired.

“We’ve got some big boys in the squad and I am not so big, so I keep grinding away,” the NSW athlete said after a day of racing in 23-25 knot winds with gusts up to 28 knots.

Tomorrow’s plan, Alexander said, “Is to rest tonight. I have nothing major to change in my game plan, so it will be start well and go the right way. Keep it simple.”

Ethan McAullay bounced back from a Black Flag in Race 3 to win Race 4 in his group: “There was a bias at the pin end in the first race. We had a couple of General Recalls and I made a mistake with my transits and was Black Flagged. I came back with a win. That was cool,” the West Australian remarked.

“Three of us with wins. We could put our results down to Aussie type conditions to a degree, but we are all pushing hard,” the West Australian said. “It’s all about starting well and seeing who is doing well around you and gauging your race from them.”

The ILCA 6 groups were on the course when the ILCA 7s returned to shore and winds had increased. Michael Blackburn, the Australian Sailing Technical Director, saw 25 to 30 knot winds during the ILCA 6 races.

Casey Imeneo handled the conditions best of the Australians, finishing sixth in Race 3, before racing was cancelled for the rest of the day. The Victorian athlete is one place ahead of Tokyo Olympian, Mara Stransky, who placed 10th in the race.

Forced to cancel racing for the 49er and 49erFX yesterday because of the conditions, officials sent the two classes on the water early today. The plan was to hold four races in each class to somewhat make up for the lost day.

The 49erFX athletes were split into two groups and put two races away before the AP flag went up. Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot shook off any nerves they may have felt after waiting to race yesterday and reeled off a bullet and a fourth place for third place overall.

London Games match racing silver medallist, Olivia Price and her team mate, Evie Haseldine, are close behind in fourth place overall after securing 3-4 results.

“The first race was held in raceable conditions,” Harding said. “We managed to get off the start line well and sail up the first upwind to lead around the first mark. We held on from there for a comfortable win. In the second race, the wind shifted left and increased in strength and kept getting stronger after we finished the second race.”

Harding said of her and Wilmot’s lead-in to Hyeres, “We had a fair amount of training in windy conditions back in Australia, so it’s super nice to stretch the legs here and put our training to work. We didn’t have a great regatta in Palma, but we isolated the problems, so we’re pretty happy with how we’re travelling.

“We have to keep chipping away. It’s nice to put things in place and have them pan out, to sail well against the international competition,” the Victorian athlete said.

With 67 entries, the 49ers were split into three groups and sailed three races which means a drop came into play. Jim Colley and Shaun Connor came ashore the best placed of the four Australian teams. The two finished the day in 16th overall with 5-(7)-6 results.

Rio gold medallist in the ILCA 7, Tom Burton, is settling nicely into the 49er. He and Max Paul are close behind their compatriots in 17th place, scoring 6-(12)-6.

All racing for the Nacra 17, 470, Formula Kite and iQFOiL was cancelled for the day because of increasing winds.

The Hyeres Regatta continues tomorrow local time. The Medal stage closes the event on Saturday, 29 April.

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS), Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) and Australian sailors results in Hyeres:

ILCA 7 – 155 entries – 4 races (one drop)

2nd Finn Alexander (ASS) (7), 2, 2, 1 = 5 points

5th Ethan McAullay (ASS) 1, 5 (BFD), 1 = 7

6th Matt Wearn (AST) (4), 4, 1, 2 = 7

14th Luke Elliott (ASS) 5, 6 (BFD), 3 = 14

30th Zac Littlewood (ASS) 6, (15), 10, 12 = 28

57th Stefan Elliott Shircore (ASF) 21, 10 , 17 (33) = 48

61st Lawson McAullay (ASF) 20, 17, (22), 14 = 51

108th Michael Compton (ASF) 44, (BFD), 27, 27 = 98

111th Jack Eickmeyer 32, 36, 33, (48) = 101

113th Will Sargent (ASF) 40, 36 (BFD), 26 = 102

ILCA 6 – 94 entries – 3 races (one drop)

16th Casey Imeneo (ASS) (8), 5, 6 = 11 points

17th Mara Stranksy (ASS) (11), 2, 10 = 12

33rd Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) 14, (20), 16 = 30

43rd Paige Caldecoat (ASF) 20, 17, (UFD) = 37

45th Sylvie Stannage (ASF) (24), 24, 15 = 39

93rd Zoe Thomson (AST) (DNC), DNC, DNC = 96

49erFX – 50 entries – 2 races

3rd Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) 1, 4 = 5 points

4th Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS) 3, 4 = 7
28th Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) 16, 15 = 31

49er – 67 entries – 3 races (one drop)

16th Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (AST) 5, (7), 6 = 11 points
17th Tom Burton and Max Paul (ASS) 6, (12), 6 = 12
26th Thomas Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) 6, (12), 8 = 14
44th Tom Cunich and Miles Davey (ASF) (RDG), RDG, 14 = 28

Nacra 17 – 46 entries – 1 race

1st Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) 1 = 1 point

21st Ruben and Rita Booth 11 = 11

25th Archie Gargett and Sarah Hoffman (ASF) 13 = 13

34th Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS) UFD = 24

34th Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF) DSQ = 24

470 – 63 entries – 2 races

17th Conor Nicholas and Nia Jerwood (ASS) 9, RDG = 18 points

21st Angus Higgins and Sophie Jackson (ASF) 19, 5 = 24

59th James Jackson and Lily Richardson 28, 26 = 54

iQFOiL Women – 22 entries – 5 races (one drop)

6th Samantha Costin (ASS) – 2, 4, 4, (20), 13 = 23 points

iQFOiL Men – 21 entries – 5 races (one drop)

21st Jake Lilley (ASF) (DNC) , DNC, 19, 18, 19 = 59 points

Formula Kite Women – 50 entries – 4 races (one drop)

8th Breiana Whitehead (AST) 7, 3, 2 (14) = 12 points

Formula Kite Men – 92 entries – 4 races (one drop)

31st Hector Paturau (ASS) 9, 12, 8, (13) = 29 points

48th Oscar Timm (ASF) 15, 17, 12, (21) = 44

For full results, please go to: https://sof.ffvoile.fr/official-notice-board/

By Di Pearson/AST media

Jeanneau JY55
M.O.S.S Australia
Cyclops Marine