Canadians Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn have once again shown their Olympic medal calibre. This time with a superb performance at the 44th Semaine Olympique Française in Hyeres, France. After a very windy final medal race the Star sailors took 4th overall.
They were 2nd overall going into the final race. A podium finish for the Canadian Star sailors, who will be competing in the upcoming Olympics was quite reasonable.
Clarke reflects on today's racing by saying 'Early in the run just as we were getting settled and thinking about the pole we went down a massive wave with no exit and buried the bow. We call this 'going down the mine' and it usually ends badly. Luckily we maintained control of the boat but completely filled the boat with water.' Clarke & Bjorn share some perspective on the outcome in Hyeres, 'Upset? yes, but after some reflection we are happy with our overall performance, acheived our set goals for this regatta and feel prepared for Worlds.'
That's sailing of course. In reality, the Canadian team had a fantastic ride. Poor Tom Sligsby was in 1st overall in the Laser class, and leading the final medal race when his mast broke in the same conditions. I don't have official confirmation, but one sailor tweeted that it was 30+ knots. That makes for some seriously expensive breakdown potential just before the Olympics.
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) were the powerhouse sailors of the Star class. They broke their Star mast the day before, and came back to win the medal event on the final day. With 4 bullets in total, they won the regatta over Xavier Rohart and Pierrre Alexis Ponsot (Fra) in 2nd. Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen (Swe) took the 3rd podium spot.
Clarke and Bjorn will be in Hyeres a while longer, as the Star World Championship is also taking place in Hyeres in another week's time.