Long day in Hyères on the 4th Day of SB20 Worlds 2019

Another day for Robin Follin and Give Me Five FFVoile team with two more bullets and the worst result in 4th, having gained a massive advantage of 20 points. The RC can breathe out now as the SB20 Worlds Championships can constitute the series. Four more races were sailed on Thursday with the overall number of 6 also allowing one discard.

Race Day 4

The morning briefing on Day 4 of the SB20 World Championship started with the PRO Natalie Peberel announcing a “short” AP before we can get into racing, as the wind was expected to arrive by noon. RC departed shortly after that to the water to “be proactive in case it’s needed”. By this time all the sailors were hungry for some racing having had a lay day on Wednesday due to storm.

The “short” AP resulted in about 3 hours of waiting until 13:15 when Delta flag was displayed ashore allowing the fleet to move to the water. A bit more waiting for RC to set the course and remove some huge logs of wood that had been spread all over the bay after the storm and the first warning signal for Race 3 was on at around 14:25.

The wind was quite stable around 10 knots, but the shifts were not – mostly within the 240-260 degrees range of shore breeze that stayed like this for the whole afternoon.

Race 3 started clear off the line into the 0.9 mile distance with several boats favouring the left hand-side, while it was known that the wind would be shifting right, closer to shore. GBR3017 of Christian Sutherland made it first to the top mark arriving on port tack and nailing it in front of the event leader. GBR 3754 of John Pollard, who came in from the right hand-side, rounded second followed by Robin Follin.

On the next upwind and downwind Robin took the lead and was followed by John Pollard and the French Youth Female team “Have you taken your tickets?” of 470 sailors Paola Amar Lara Granier. On the downwind gates Sutherland had a situation with French Youth resulting in 360˚ on the reach towards the finish line. Robin beautifully arrived to the finish line with his red kite still up, French Female Youth team followed in second and Pollard in third. Finally Christian Sutherland only managed to finish 4th.

“We managed a good day with good starts and had very good two races, but we are not consistent enough so we have to work harder for tomorrow,” – said Hippolyte Machetti tactician of the French Youth.

Race 4 started shortly after the first one at around 15:40, this time more boats went left. First upwind rounding with Gabriel Skoczek leading, followed closely by Robin. Poor Buoy II of Mark Gillet was in a very good position from the first rounding and continued it to the finish. Two French champions (2018 and 2018) where almost in match race – Gabriel and Robin, taking different corners of the course on the downwind, which resulted in Robin’s spectacular win by a boat length. Unfortunately for Gabriel at the finish he discovered a UFD for his team, which on the Race results made Poor Buoy II who arrived after him second. Overall 6 UFDs happened on this race, very disappointing for the teams struggling through the shifty wind. Good results by Rhapsodie of Hugo Feydit, followed by Australian The Imp of Andrew Smith who were now third and fourth respectively.

Race Day 4

Race 5 clear start, wind at 255˚ with most of the fleet going left. First upwind rounding has seen Australian team Aeolus leading the flock, John Pollard and New Caledonia team of Tugdual Piriou (FRA3309). More pressure on downwind with most of the boats going off from the shore. Upwind run saw 8 leaders with Aeolus continuing the lead, followed by John Pollard who went right together with New Caledonia and Robin Follin.

Race Day 4

Second downwind with the same picture of all boats continuing straight after rounding, going to the right and off shore. B-team was one of those who gybed to the left, but that did’t pay the game. Australian Aeolus entered the downwind gate again in first heading to the finish line, followed by French Female Youth team and New Caledonia, while Robin followed in fourth. The fleet has stretched and the last boat was quite far from the finishing leader. By this time (17:30) the wind was dropping and the sunset was expected in about an hour after that, however the RC was unstoppable and called another race!

In the final Race 6 of the day the breeze got lighter and continued its shifty pattern getting to 280 at times. Starting at around 17:40 with two laps as announced on the radio, the wind shifted to 260. It took the boats almost half an hour to get to the upwind marks and the downwind was a slow paced game. Shortly after the sun was out and iwith the racecourse getting a bit dark the RC decided to shorten the course. The last boat upwind rounded at around 18:30, while the leading boats were on the reach towards the finish line. Finally Race 6 was done at 18:38, just in time to get back to the club with Ian Ainslie on Spread 500 arriving first, followed by Robin Follin and Australian The Imp in third. The day was concluded in beautiful sunset light on the way back to the harbour and resulted in happy faces on the dock for having managed 4 races on this day after the lay day.

“Day 4 was a great day! We ended up with a 8-4-8-3 for us it’s a fantastic result. That means we don’t have a result worse that 10th in the Worlds. That’s a huge success for me coming from Tasmania  – my goal was to be Top 10 and we’re well inside Top 10. Beautiful breeze from the shore and compared to the other two days quite flat water. The wind was very shifty and changing quickly from left to right, so it was a very tactical day. Getting off the start line in good shape was really important. We have a great team – I’m sailing here with David Chapman, who’s calling tactics, but Louis [Noye] is very capable as well, so they work very well together. It’s a very strong fleet here,” – said Andrew Smith, skipper of The Imp after this long day.

Team Aeolus

“It was a very slow start to the day this morning, we were ashore until well into the afternoon and we obviously needed to get some races in to get some drops happening. Fortunately PRO managed to get four good races in today. It was very shifty, long line – having to get right into the line. We managed to get in right most of the times, but we had a mixed day. The shifts were going left and right, but we knew that the forecast was for the weather to go right, so we favoured the right hand-side of the course, which hurt us a little in the first couple of races. Overall we had a fairly positive day, we managed to get a 1st in the third race [Race 5]. Unfortunately one of the better races was race two [Race 4], was a UFD, but it was a very good come back in the following race. And in the last race [Race 6] the breeze went right a little further and we worked to the right again – they [RC] shorten he course and we got to the top mark in 5th position. And unfortunately lost three boats on the way down the run, which happens – it’s yacht racing! Overall we had a really good day,  great teamwork, we had fun,” – said Brett Cooper, skipper on Aeolus after the races.

Paul Willcox, tactician on Spread 500 with skipper Ian Ainslie about race 6: “We got a nice clean start on the right side of the staring line, the breeze was between about 10 and 14 knots. We had a strong feeling that more pressure would come on the right hand-side of the course. We took an opportunity to step into the right side which turned out to have been the right thing for us. Then linked the puffs together to get to the top mark. Downwind leg was a bit tricky, I think in the open water you would put the bow up and go planing, but tactically-wise it was a bit better to stay low and stay in the puff a bit longer. We stayed in the puff, got gybed and got out of there nice and early in a nice clean lane, then managed to get the bottom mark that we wanted. Then again it was the same story of going to the right hand-side, we were on the left-hand mark and got out of there clear. By that time the RC has made the race a bit shorter, they brought the weather mark down, because the sun was about to go down. Then again same story – look for a nice open lane downwind and we managed to get ahead of the guys and that was all done for the win, that we are pretty happy about. The race Committee did a really nice job today to get four races in!”

Some sailors were a bit sceptical about the fourth race and considered it a mistake saying that “we shouldn’t have done it”. It became a bit dark and people became more careless, took more risks and overall they were tired. But from the overall perspective, we needed that fourth race so congrats to the RC for making it possible! The really strong teams came out on top and the game was played as it should.

Having a short distance of less than a mile resulted in having a lot of boats rounding the top mark at the same time. Lots of shouting and collisions and therefore protests, the jury worked late into the night to finish their work. It was a hard day for all, but it’s sail racing as we love it!

Full results after 6 races and after jury – please click here

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