16 Apr 2010
Day 3 at XXXVth International 470 Spring Cup
Today was a challenging day at the 470 Spring Cup in Marseille. The day opened with zero wind in the morning and race 6 eventually got underway at 1400 hours. By that time the wind had become a 10-13 knot westerly complimented by the blue skies and sunshine that have been the norm.
The start of race 7 became a repeat of the preceding races, with lots of keen teams, numerous general recalls and ultimately the black flag.
During the start, storms and rain appeared along the coastline, and the wind increased suddenly to 20 knots and shifted to north-north-east just after the general recall. So, a quick course change and new starting procedure was initiated under the black flag, which ended with a general recall and some boats BFDs. As ever with the sport of sailing, the wind then decided to change completely and go back to zero – the outcome being a postponement for race 7 which is rescheduled for Saturday 17 April. Among the BFDs who will be not be allowed to compete in race 7 are Nic Asher and Elliot Willis (GBR) and Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela (ISR) who sit in 2nd and 5th respectively after 6 races.
The outcome of today is all change at the top. The event leaders up until today, Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA) were over the line and took a 61 point penalty, which has knocked them down into fourth. Race 6 gave the second win of the series to Mathew Belcher and “stand-in” crew Wil Ryan (whilst Mat's regular crew Malcolm Page is competing at the Farr 40 Worlds in the Dominican Republic) which has pushed them into first. Moving into the top three and into second place are Great Britain's Nic Asher and Elliot Willis. In an excellent display of consistency throughout this series Argentina's Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG) remain in third.
The women's fleet are challenging the men hard, and despite posting their worst result of the series, with a 31 in race 6, Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux (FRA) have moved up into seventh overall. Not such as good day for the other top women's team of Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (NZL) who also recorded their worst result, a 36 in race 6, and have seen themselves drop down to fifteenth from eleven.
With two more days of racing to go, there is of course all to play for.
An unfortunate incident on the race course today just after the start of race 6 saw a high speed boat come into the race course area with the intention to cross the fleet. Two rescue boats tried to stop the boat before the fleet reached mark 1, but the boat did not slow down and instead hit and damaged the rescue boats and injured two of the rescue boat crew.
Image: Nic Asher and Elliott Willis © Walter Cooper 2010/US SAILING