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French Olympic Sailing Week - Gold, but not in the windsurfing.

Sara Winther overtook two boats in the dying moments of the medal race overnight, to earn her second consecutive gold medal in the Laser Radial Class at a major European sailing regatta.

Five other members of the NZL Sailing Team finished in the top ten at French Olympic Sailing Week in Hyeres, France: Tom Ashley was fourth in the RS:X Men’s class, and Jon-Paul Tobin eighth. Mike Bullot also completed the Laser event in eighth position, and Dan Slater was ninth in the Finns, with Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders ninth in the Men’s 470.

“This event was very hard to win,” says Sara. “Sarah Steyeart from France had it all over me until the last fleet race where she finished 21st, giving me a seven point buffer going into today’s medal race.”

Of the medal race itself she says, “I had a terrible start and was battling at the back for most of the race. But I did have a fantastic last downwind passing two boats on the last wave into the finish line, and beating Sarah by just two points.”

“It has been a great regatta and I have had a great time here in Europe over the last six weeks. It has given me a lot of confidence in my program leading up to the other events in England later this year.”

Tom Ashley finished the medal race in second place, but needed to find four points on his top rivals to strike gold, and one point to earn bronze, even after seven podium finishes out of a possible eleven races. Jon-Paul Tobin was sixth in the medal race, finishing on 85 points, after securing eight top-ten race finishes in a very difficult regatta.

Mike Bullot was fifth in his doublepoints medal race, Dan Slater ninth, and Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders, placed sixth in theirs.

French Olympic Sailing Week is the fifth of seven regattas that make up the ISAF Sailing World Cup and attracted over 1,100 sailors from 60 countries, making it one of the most important events in the year before an Olympic Games.

New Zealand’s standings after the final day:

Men’s RS:X (90 entries)
Tom Ashley (NZL Sailing Team)-4th (38 points)
Jon-Paul Tobin (NZL Sailing Team) -8th (85 points)
Antonio Cozzolino-20th (126 points)

Women’s RS:X (75 entries)
Natalia Kosinska-21st (134 points, gold fleet)
Justina Sellers-39th (113 points)
Stefanie Williams-42nd (136 points)
Jazmine Lynch-51st (181 points)
Georgia Schofield-66th (234 points)

Laser (155 entries)
Mike Bullot (NZL Sailing Team)-8th (103 points)
Josh Junior (NZL Sailing Team) -12th (101 points)
Andy Maloney (NZL Sailing Team) -16th (121 points)
Andrew Murdoch (NZL Sailing Team)-23rd (139 points)
Sam Meech (NZL Sailing Team) -55th (124 points, silver fleet)

Laser Radial (98 entries)
Sara Winther (NZL Sailing Team) -1st (60 points)
Miranda Powrie-15th (129 points)
Rachel Basevi-44th (238 points)

Finn (81 entries)
Dan Slater (NZL Sailing Team)-9th (118 points)
Matt Coutts-31st (170 points)

Men’s 470 (106 entries)
Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders (NZL Sailing Team) -9th (106 points)

Women’s Match Racing (24 entries)
Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen and Susannah Pyatt (NZL Sailing Team)-13th

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