Over 1,100 athletes have registered to sail at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères with the crème of the crop of Olympic and Paralympic sailing set to compete in Hyères, France.
Olympic medalists, World Champions and ISAF Sailing World Cup medalists will compete on the French Riviera as the 2013-2014 World Cup series draws to a close. ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères brings together the world’s top Olympic and Paralympic class competitors campaigning for the Rio 2016 and Paralympic Sailing Competitions.
At ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca a French Finn battle came to the forefront as Thomas le Breton and Jonathan Lobert jostled for internal bragging rights. Whilst Giles Scott (GBR) took gold by six points, silver and bronze was taken by Le Breton and Lobert and that battle will resume in the 61-boat Finn fleet at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères.
The Women’s RS:X features 60 registered racers and just like the men’s fleet sees a large number of experienced campaigners. China’s Peina Chen will be the one to watch having recorded three top five finishes at three 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas. Gold in Qingdao was followed up by a bronze in Melbourne and a fifth in Mallorca and the in-form Chinese racer will be gunning for another podium finish. ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca silver and bronze medallists Lilian De Geus (NED) and Blanca Manchon (ESP) will be amongst the fleet whilst Zofia Klepacka (POL) will make only her second appearance on the race course after taking bronze at London 2012.
Laser racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca was incredibly open with the lead changing hands numerous times. In the end Tom Burton (AUS) got the job done in the Medal Race after taking an early lead and holding on all the way through to the finish. Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) and World No.1 Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) took silver and bronze.The trio will be in Hyères and with all the strong Laser sailors registered it will be another tantalisingly close week of racing.
Racing in the Laser Radial will be just as tight with strong competitors across the 90-boat fleet. Marit Bouwmeester (NED) took a convincing gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca but will face a determined fleet in Hyères. Mallorca silver medallist Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) and bronze medallist Chloe Martin (GBR) will take to the start line alongside Bouwmeester.Further competition will come from Evi Van Acker (BEL), ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao gold medallist Dongshuang Zhang (CHN), 2013 Laser Radial World Champion Tina Mihelic (CRO) and Sailing World Cup Miami victor Paige Railey (USA).
The Irish Olympic squad will also sail in this regatta and it will be their last outing before the first qualifying event for Rio 2016 to be held in Santander in September.
Racing commences on Monday 21 April across ten Olympic and two Paralympic events in Hyères, France. The Medal Races on Saturday 26 April will bring the regatta to a close.