Over 800 sailors across ten Olympic and two Paralympic events will sail at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères from 22-27 April 2013. After regattas in Melbourne, Australia, Miami, USA and Palma de Mallorca, Spain, ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères will bring the 2012-13 series to a close and will feature the world’s top sailors.
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères welcomes London 2012 Laser Radial gold medallist Lijia Xu (CHN) who returns to the fleet for the first time since her thrilling Medal Race victory at London 2012 where she sealed China’s first ever Olympic sailing gold medal in a dinghy.
Xu, the 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, won in Hyères in 2012 as her preparations for the Olympic Games ramped up. Her aim for 2013 is somewhat different than last, “I am having an easy year sailing after the Olympics, I still want to enjoy every second on the boat.
“I haven’t sailed since the London Games, not even now. I will arrive in Hyères a week earlier to smooth my steering. As an easy year, my aim is to keep my feeling with the sailboat. So the physical and technical preparation will be kept to a minimum, to provide more time on my study and spending time with family or friends in order to make the most of my transition year.”
The Chinese sailor won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Sailing Competition and was selective over her events initially after the 2008 Games, a path that she will follow again on the road to Rio, “I will focus more on the journey itself instead of the destination. Rio is part of my goal and I’d like to balance every aspect of my life, cherish every moment and appreciate everyone around me alongside the process towards my next goal.”
Also stepping back into a Radial for the first time since London 2012 is Marit Bouwmeester (NED). Like Xu, the Olympic silver medallist has taken her time to get back into the boat and following a split from her coach of seven years Hyères will be a fresh start for the Dutch sailor.
Whilst the Olympic medallists may find the early going slow many of the fleet will bring some form into the regatta. Alison Young (GBR) dominated the Radial fleet in Palma to claim a well-deserved gold medal and with confidence high Young will be mixing it up at the front. Ireland’s Annalise Murphy, Canada’s Isabella Bertold, France’s Amelie Riou and Croatia’s Tina Mihelic will all be aiming for top finishes and it will prove very interesting to watch Murphy’s performance against the Gold and Silver Medalists from Weymouth and Alison Young’s gold medal performance at Palma although it must be said that neither Xu nor Bouwmeester were in competition at Palma as was also the case with Murphy
To reflect lessons and sailor feedback from ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma modifications have been made to the scoring format in Hyères. The Qualifying Series for ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères has been shortened to two days. The first race of the Final Series shall be a non discardable carry forward race with points equal to a boat’s final rank in the qualifying series. Three days of Final Series racing then culminates in the Medal Stage where the 49er and 49erFX will sail three Stadium Races and the remaining eight fleets will sail two Medal Races.
There will be also further action in the 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, Men’s and Women’s RS:X, 2.4mR and the Sonar.
Racing is scheduled to start at 11:00 local time on 22 April with the climax of racing on 27 April.