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Tom Ashley has won windsurfing gold in Hyeres

One Gold, one Silver and two Bronze for kiwi Olympic sailors. “We raced the medal race in a perfect 15 knot onshore breeze,” says Ashley. “The pressure was off as I only had to finish the race to win the event, and I ended up 7th in the race to wrap up the championship with a 12 point lead over Shahar Zubari from Israel.”

Tom Ashley has won windsurfing gold in Hyeres, France at the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Francaise Regatta. Jo Aleh won silver and both Andrew Murdoch and Dan Slater won bronze in their respective classes to complete an impressive four medal haul for New Zealand at this major international event.

“This is a really big win for me as Hyeres is the most important event on the European Tour, second only to the Worlds and Olympics in prestige.”

“In today's medal race I had a great start and when I tacked onto port I was on top of the group. I then had a bit of a shocker as I caught a wave and lost a bit of control, gaining speed and bearing away 10 degrees to accelerate over the top of the bunch. Nicolas Huguet of France saw me coming and luffed hard, crashing into me and causing me to fall.”

“The crash was my fault as the windward board is expected to keep clear of others, and when I recovered from my swim I had to complete a penalty turn, losing 300 metres or so. I came back to 7th in the race, and due to my large points gap back to 2nd place it wasn't a problem.”

“It was a bit of a disappointment to end the regatta on a low note, but I'm still really stoked to win the event here and keep my 100% record for 2007,” says Ashley. “I've raced 4 times this year (NZ Nationals, South American Championships, Trofeo Princesa Sofia and here) and to win all 4 is really satisfying.”

Men’s RS:X

1st – Tom Ashley (Takapuna Boating Club)
83rd – Michael Lichtwark (Takapuna Boating Club)
95th - Antonio Cozzolino – (NZ RS:X Association)

Women’s RS:X

26th – Kate Ellingham (Wakatere Boating Club/Takapuna Boating Club)
43rd - Hayley Thom (Takapuna Boating Club)
56th – Steffanie Williams (Takapuna Boating Club)

more http://www.yachtingnz.org.nz/index.cfm?pageid=1&parentid=1&nid=656

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