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Andrew Murdoch leads Finn elite in Hyeres
Two fifth places were enough for Andrew Murdoch (NZL) to lead the Finn class after the first day at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres. Behind him it was a high scoring day for many, with all but four boats picking up more than 20 points for the day. Michele Paoletti (ITA) ends the day in second with Ondrej Teply (CZE) in third.

The new era of the ISAF Sailing World Cup for the world’s top 40 Finn sailors was ushered in today with barely a zephyr as fleets were held ashore and then waited afloat for the breeze to materialise. The Finns were first up on the schedule but didn't get their first race off until 14.00.

The early breeze came from a different direction than forecast but slowly the wind shifted to the right and around 12:00 the fleet was sent out. After another long wait the first race was on with a clear start and 9 knots of breeze

In race 1 Lauri Väinsalu (EST) made the best of the right side on the first upwind to lead round from Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Andrew Murdoch (NZL). Lobert took the lead downwind to lead through the gate from Murdoch and Väinsalu. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) took the lead on the next beat while Lobert dropped to third. Ed Wright (GBR) then took a hard right to bounce back from 15th to second. Lobert retook the lead on the final downwind to win from Postma and Wright.

With the breeze dropping again for the second race there were less place changes. After placing a lowly 25th in the first race, Giles Scott (GBR) bounced back to lead at each and every mark. Michele Paoletti (ITA) moved up to second by the first gate and stayed there until the finish, while Deniss Karpak (EST) rounded the first mark in seventh and made big gains on the final downwind to cross in third.

Overall leader Murdoch, who is sailing his first regatta since the ISAF Worlds in Santander last September described the day, “We had a light offshore wind today ranging 6 to 10 knots with pretty flat water. It was certainly a very testing day. I managed to get the majority of the decisions right today on the first upwind legs which set me up for two solid results.”

Murdoch has spent the last six months in New Zealand after his wife gave birth to twin girls in January. “I have still managed to get time on the water and in the gym, however I need to use my time well.”

“It’s great to be in the lead. Lots of positives to come out of today, and looking forward to more racing tomorrow, but really happy with how I sailed today.”

Lobert said, “It was a very tricky day. Race one was really good to me. I had a good start and sailed fully right so I was second at the top mark. I managed to pass the Estonian on the first free pumping downwind but second upwind I didn’t go enough right so PJ and Ed passed me but I had a good last downwind to claim the win.”

“The second race was a disaster. I got stuck at the pin at the start and I never really got back in with the shifts to come back.”

In fourth overall is Alejandro Foglia (URU). “Today was a long day. In the first race, I had a good start by the pin, and managed to cross and stay in the middle of the race course. At the end the right side was better but I managed to round in the top 15, but the breeze was going down again. Oscar flag was up and first downwind was crazy, free pumping with six knots. I was exhausted but gained some places. On the second upwind a big shift to right sent me back to around 18th. The last downwind was good and I gained some places to finish 12th.”

“The second race started in light winds. I had a good start again from the pin and the left side was a little better. My last approach to the mark was from the left side, so I was in the game and rounded in the top 10. After some up and downs I lost two places on the last upwind and finished eighth. “

“Today’s result is good, but there will be an intense fight in the next days to stay in the top 10.”

Scott concluded, “It was a very difficult day. In the first race I got the wrong side of a big shift on the second beat. It wasn't ideal.”

“But I got race 2 right, sailing a good first beat to lead round the top. The first run tightened up a bit but I did just enough to go round in the lead. Michele and myself had a good battle upwind but I managed to hold on.”

The new SWC format is four days of the opening series and one day of medal races, and finishes on Sunday.

Results after 2 races
1 NZL 16 Andrew Murdoch 10
2 ITA 146 Michele Paoletti 14
3 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 14
4 URU 301 Alejandro Jose Foglia 19
5 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 24
6 GBR 41 Giles Scott 26
7 ITA 117 Giorgio Poggi 28
8 POR 5 Frederico Melo 29
9 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 30
10 AUS 41 Jake Lilley 32

Photos : Franck Socha
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