by Craig Heydon
Light winds have tested crews at the ISAF Sailing World Cup round in Hyeres, France, with a number of Australian sailors well positioned at the end of day one.
The light breeze in Hyeres, the final stop of the 2012/2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup, kept racing close with mixed results throughout the fleets.
Oliver Tweddell is the best placed Australian, finishing the day second in the Finn class. Tweddell, who is recovering from an arm injury, won the opening race of the day and was 25th in race two, dropping that result to be tied on points with Great Britain’s Ed Wright.
“It was nice to win my first race back after pulling out of the last event in Palma with a tendon injury,” said Tweddell. “The breeze was extremely shifty and there were a lot of different patches of breeze across the course. There were some really high scores had by many of the sailors, which will make for interesting racing tomorrow.
“I'm taking this event one day at a time as my goal was to actually be able to finish the event,” he said. “It was great to have started so well but there is a lot of breeze forecast for the middle of the week so we shall see how my arms hold up. The support I’ve received from the team to get over the injury and get out on the water has been great.”
Jake Lilley is the next best Australian in 25th overall, ahead of Brendan Casey in 31st and Rob McMillan in 61st.
Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan are eighth in the 470 men’s fleet after the opening three races with New Zealand’s Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Wilcox leading.
“Today was a pretty tough day on the water, we sailed three races to start the series in a light and extremely shifty breeze,” said Belcher. “Things didn't feel amazing but we managed some good results, we enjoyed the experience much more.
“Most of the top teams had mixed results, with the standout of the day being the Kiwis,” he said “They were sailing really well and it was great to see them perform today. Tomorrow we’re expecting similar conditions before the breeze is expected for the finals series later in the week.”
Matthew and Robert Crawford currently sit 52nd in the 470 men’s fleet, just ahead of Angus Galloway and Tim Hannah in 55th.
In the Laser fleet Tom Burton ended day one as the best placed Australian in ninth overall. Burton got his regatta off to a perfect start with a win in race one, finishing the day off with an 11th and a 37th.
Ryan Palk is currently 16th, ahead of Ashley Brunning in 34th and Jared West in 35th, with West winning the final race of the day. Luke Elliott is 37th and Matthew Wearn 48th.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin ended their first day of Olympic class racing 22nd in the new Nacra 17 mixed multihull class, with the pair 18th and 26th in the day’s two races.
“The light and shifty breeze made for really good racing and lots of hero to zero moments,” said Waterhouse. “Today was a steep learning curve for us as we’ve thrown ourselves into the deep end with a new boat, a World Cup event and the least amount of sailing time in the fleet on the Nacra 17.
“Overall we’re generally happy with the day and are really looking forward to tomorrow’s racing, hopefully we’ll have a bit more breeze,” he said.
The RS:X women’s fleet only managed to complete one race with Joanna Sterling the leading Australian in 22nd position, ahead of Paris Stowell in 33rd and Annalise Gilbert in 41st. Patrick Vos is 47th in the RS:X men’s after two races.
Racing continues in Hyeres on Tuesday, with the regatta winners to be decided on Saturday 27 April.
Full results are available at http://swc.ffvoile.com/