Ayton and Clark win women's 470 class

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The Independent Online

The partnership of double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton and crew Saskia Clark won the women's 470 class in Kiel Week, an encouraging move forward for the new pairing with its sights on the next Olympic Games.

The regatta, one of the International Sailing Federation's world cup events, has not attracted full Olympic squads from the top nations, and Ayton said afterwards: "For us, this event was really just about honing some of our racing skills and working on our communications in the boat. It takes time to put all those sorts of things in place in a new partnership, so it's great to see that those aspects are gelling and gives us confidence ahead of the two big events for us this summer, which are the worlds (championships) and Skandia Sail for Gold in Weymouth."

In the light airs which dominated the week, the 49er high performance dinghies managed only 10 races but it was the British pairing of John Pink and Rick Peacock which came out on top while in the 2.4mR paralympic class Helena Lucas came back from a difficult start to finish second.

In Dunkirk, former Volvo Ocean Race winner Rob Greenhalgh is making final preparations to skipper an Oman Sail team in the Tour de France a la Voile, which starts on Sunday with inshore races.

Over 800 people in Oman, which also competes in the Extreme 40 series, applied for a place on the Farr 30, which is making its last appearance in the 33rd running of the race.

Five of them, plus one who took part in a round the world sail on Ellen MacArthur's record-breaking 75-foot trimaran, will rotate on board as the fleet races round the Atlantic coast in 100 to 120-mile legs to Royan and then ships by road for the run from Port la Camargue via Marseille to the finish in La Seyne-sur-Mer, near Hyeres.

"We have had two weeks to train in the UK and then went to regattas in Brittany and Normandy," said Greenhalgh. "The crew is up to speed, we won't be holding back, and we hope for a top five place." With the likes of Bertrand Pace and Sebastien Col against him, Greenhalgh knows he has set himself a challenging target.

The Oman team is also buying one of the new M34 boats which will do the race next season.