'Last Chance' in Hyeres was a week of high emotion, writes Andy Rice

28 April

I'm just back from the Semaine Olympique Francaise after a cold and sometimes rainy week in Hyeres. With two regattas effectively running side by side it was logistically a hugely challenging event. Some of the top sailors had their noses put of joint by having to play second fiddle to the 'Last Chance' competitors who were the priority for this event. There were tears of joy and anguish at the end of a week where some achieved a lifetime dream of getting to the Games, while for others it was the end of the Olympic road.

A lot of 'Emerging Nations' athletes have made it into the Games, more than ever before...

Six Olympic Dinghy Places Claimed by Emerging Nations

The reality is that few of the qualifiers through the 'Last Chance' are serious medal prospects, with the notable exception of a few like the two winners of the Formula Kite events. Connor Bainbridge should never have found himself fighting this late for an Olympic spot, but the British rider dominated the week and can still be a prospect for a podium finish this summer in Marseille.

Elena Lengwiler continues to make phenomenal progress in the women's kite fleet. From barely being able to gybe a year ago to being one of the fastest in a straight line and getting her manoeuvres down too, the Swiss rider is starting to challenge for the top spots as she proved with a fourth place at the Europeans in Spain in March.

I caught up with some of the competitors during the week and you can catch up on my full interviews on the World Sailing site...

Jean-Baptiste Bernaz’s fifth Olympic Games will be special because the Frenchman will be competing on home waters in the ILCA 7 singlehander...  "I have focused a lot on reopening the door and trying different ways of doing things again.” 


Since Rebecca Netzler teamed up with Vilma Bobeck in the 49erFX, life has been a blur for the Swedish skiff duo. They finished 2nd at Hyeres...


Malte and Anastasiya Winkel were concerned that their marriage might suffer if they teamed up in the 470 mixed dinghy together. But they decided to take the risk anyway.


Lots more race reports from Hyeres, here's the highlight video from the final day...