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Steady start for Lynch as Mistral wind opens French Olympic Sailing Week

by Treasa Cox 24 Apr 18:53 BST 22-29 April 2023
Finn Lynch on day 1 of the 54th Semaine Olympique Française - Toulon Provence Méditerranée © David Branigan / Oceansport

High winds were the dominant force on the opening day of French Olympic Sailing Week (Hyerés, Cote d'Azur Monday 24th April 2023) where Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) was the only Irish sailor in action, competing in the ILCA 7 event.

The offshore wind gusting to near gale force at times proved very shifty on the race course close to Cap de L'Esteral and there are predictions of similar and possibly stronger conditions for Tuesday.

Racing for the 49er skiff fleet was cancelled entirely without venturing afloat.

Lynch struggled getting his upwind speed right for the conditions and picking the correct end of the starting-line was essential.

"I didn't feel super-good to be honest, I was struggling a lot, the conditions were very, very hard but hopefully better performance by me in the next few days," Lynch said afterwards. "I need to prioritise starting as I found myself in bad lanes on the upwind (stage)."

Nevertheless, the Carlow sailor is aware of the solutions to try in the next races and is confident of making gains.

"We didn't have the pace today and struggled upwind speed," said Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing's Laser coach speaking of Lynch's results. "The first upwind leg saw him around 25th but he recovered in the downwind (leg) which is his strong point for the day.

Considering he didn't have the pace and still finished around 12th that's okay and it's still inside qualifying so okay for the day."

Conditions permitting, two further races will be sailed on Tuesday to complete the qualification round for Gold fleet in the ILCA7 men's single-handed event.

Racing for the 49er skiff event that includes Ireland's Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) and Séafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) will depend on conditions easing considerably from the opening day to avoid gear breakage.

Find full results here.

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