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Burning rudder? Dunning Beck, Gunn lead 49er fleet at French Olympic Week

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Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn have turned to racing of a different kind to stay ahead of the chasing pack at the French Olympic Week regatta.

The pair, who won 49er gold on a dramatic final day at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma just over a fortnight ago, have been finetuning their go-karting skills in the lead-up to the Hyères event – and they seem to be on the right track, winning two of their three 49er races in the qualifying heats overnight to lead the fleet.

“We haven’t been doing much [sailing] since Palma but we have managed to clock up plenty of hours at the go-kart track,” Dunning Beck said.

“It's been pretty good for really working on those tight contact situations and getting an understanding of racing lines - where you can look to gain in a manoeuvre and keep that gain going on the straight. I think that's really helped us today.”

After no racing was possible in the 49er or 49er FX fleets on Tuesday, the Mediterranean Mistral again made life hard for competitors - gusting upward of 30kn.

“By the last race, she was blowing oysters off rocks, and it was just a full survival kind of race,” Dunning Beck said.

“For us, the key today was simple racing and keeping the speed up. A few of the guys also really got into that on the other courses and you can see the results are tight at the top.”

The 72-boat fleet has been split into three qualifying groups - with  Dutch duo Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken, and Kévin Fischer and Yann Jauvin from France hot on the Kiwis' heals.

Dunning Beck is expecting plenty of movement on the leaderboard over the next days, with lighter breeze predicted for tomorrow.

“We’ve had a good day but there’s still plenty of racing to do. We know some of the other guys will make a charge up the rankings and we’ll just have to keep fighting day by day.”


Isaac McHardie and Will McKenzie are 25th overall after three races. Photos / Sailing Energy 

Isaac McHardie and Will McKenzie, bronze medallists at the Princess Sofia in Palma de Mallorca, are 25th overall - 10 points off their teammates - with a fifth place in their first qualifying heat their best return of the day.

“It wasn’t quite the start we wanted but we’ll keep pushing hard,” McHardie said.

Also looking to step up a gear is 49er FX crew Alex Maloney and Olivia Hobbs, who managed scores of 10 and 11 for an overall 16th place after missing out on the gold fleet in Spain.

Since then, the pair - who only started sailing together early last year - have been focusing on improving their on-board communication and starts.

“It was quite tricky today with big pressure differences and big shifts across the course and with the breeze getting up as the day went on,” Maloney said.

“It's pretty early on in the event, so we’ll just keep chipping away and try to minimise some of the mistakes we made today.”

Jo Aleh and Molly Meech are 23rd following 13th and 14th in their two races.


Alex Maloney and Olivia Hobbs in action in the 49er FX fleet on Wednesday. Photos / Sailing Energy

Meanwhile, Tom Saunders and George Gautrey remain firmly in contention in the ILCA 7 (Laser) fleet despite both slipping a few positions on the overall leaderboard overnight – Saunders from fourth to seventh and Gautrey from 11th to 16th.

Olivia Christie, New Zealand’s sole ILCA 6 entry, is 46th after three races.

No sailing was possible in the mixed Nacra17 and 470 fleets or the women’s kitefoil, where Justina Kitchen sits just outside the top 20 after four races on day one.

“It was very windy – well over 30kn on our course in the afternoon,” Kitchen said.

“It’s a real bummer that we couldn’t get going because I was keen to have another crack in the big breeze.”

Results and standings after day 2 of the French Olympic Week regatta in Hyères:

49er (72 boats)
1st: Logan Dunning Beck/Oscar Gunn (NZ) (2) 1 1 - 4 points
2nd: Bart Lambriex/Floris van de Werken (Ned) 1 (2) 1 - 4 pts
3rd: Kévin Fischer/Yann Jauvin (Fra) 2 (6) 1 - 3 pts
25th: Isaac McHardie/Will McKenzie (NZ) 5 (15) 9 - 14 pts
46th: Scott McKenzie/Blake McGlashan (NZ) 14 15 DNC25 - 29 pts
59th: Sam Morgan/Pat Morgan (NZ) 17 (DNF25) DNC25 - 42 pts
63rd: Campbell Stanton/Will Shapland (NZ) 19 (DNC25) DNC25 - 44 pts

49er FX (50 boats)
1st: Jana Germani/Giorgia Bertuzzi (Ita) 1 1 - 2 pts
2nd: Odile van Aanholt/Annette Duetz (Ned) 2 2 - 4 pts
3rd: Laura Harding/Annie Wilmot (Aus) 1 4 - 5 pts
16th: Alex Maloney/Olivia Hobbs (NZ) 11 10 - 21 pts
23rd: Jo Aleh/Molly Meech (NZ) 13 14 - 27 pts
45th: Courtney Reynolds-Smith/Brianna Reynolds-Smith (NZ) 22 DNC26 - 48 pts

ILCA 7 (155 boats):
1st: Elliot Hanson (GBR) (2) 1 1 1 - 3 pts
2nd: Finn Alexander (Aus) (7) 2 2 1 - 5 pts
3rd: Daniel Whiteley (GBR) 1 (7) 2 2 - 5 pts
7th: Tom Saunders (NZ) 5 1 (7) 3 - 9 pts
16th: George Gautrey (NZ) 5 6 4 (7) - 22 pts
63rd: Luke Cashmore (NZ) (30) 14 16 25 - 55 pts
84th: Luke Deegan (NZ) 21 27 (37) 29 - 77 pts
92nd: Caleb Armit (NZ) (46) 31 19 34 - 84 pts

ILCA 6 (94 boats):
1st: Charlotte Rose (USA) 1 (8) 1 – 2 pts
2nd: Sarah Douglas (Can) 1 2 (9) - 3 pts
3rd: Agata Barwinska (Pol) 3 (7) 1 - 4 pts
46th: Olivia Christie (NZ) 22 18 (23) - 40 pts

Nacra 17 mixed (46 boats):
1st: Jason Waterhouse/Lisa Darmanin (Aus) 1 - 1pt
2nd: Ruggero Tita/Caterina Banti (Ita) 1 - 1 pt
3rd: Mateo Majdalani/Eugenia Bosco (Arg) 2 - 2 pts
11th: Micah Wilkinson/Erica Dawson (NZ) 6 - 6 pts

470 mixed (64 boats):
1st: Jordi Xammar/Nora Brugman (Spa) 1 1 - 2pts
2nd: Hippolyte Machetti/Aloïse Retornaz (Fra) 2 2 - 4 pts
3rd: Lara Vadlau/Lukas Mahr (Aut) 5 3 - 8 pts
51st: Brittany Wornall/Sam Street (NZ) 18 DNC33 - 51 pts

Kitefoil women (50 boards):
1st: Daniela Moroz (USA) 1 (2) 1 1 - 3 pts
2nd: Jessie Kampman (Fra) 1 1 (2) 2 - 4 pts
3rd: Maddy Anderson (GBR) 2 3 (7) 1 - 6 pts
27th: Justina Kitchen (NZ) (15) 12 12 11 - 35 pts

Full results here.