Over 650 sailors representing 46 nations will be competing in Round 3 of the 2018 World Cup Series in Hyères, France, from 22 – 29 April.
Hyères will be flooded with Olympic, Paralympic, World and Continental Champions, all battling for the top spots of the one Para World Sailing and ten Olympic events, in preparation for the upcoming Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark this summer.
The first opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is at the Hempel Sailing World Championships Aarhus 2018. World Cup Series rounds will give a clear indication on who the top runners are for gold at the World Championships and in line to qualify their country for Tokyo 2020.
Some of the Olympics stars sailing in Hyères, who will have an eye on the Hempel Aarhus 2018 Worlds, include the Australian Laser sailor, Tom Burton, who won gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the legendary Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) who clinched an emotional Nacra 17 gold medal in Rio.
Burton won gold at the previous World Cup Series round in Miami and hopes to continue his form. Lange and Saroli missed out on gold in Miami but managed to take silver, even after a period of absence from the World Cup circuit.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) will also be coming to Hyères. The Nacra 17 sailors won silver in Rio and recently won gold in Miami, proving a challenge for Lange and Saroli.
Fernando Echávarri Erasun and Tara Pacheco van Rijnsoever (ESP) won gold at the 2016 and 2017 editions of the World Cup Series in Hyères and will be looking for a hat trick in 2018.
In the RS:X Men’s windsurfer, Kiran Badloe (NED, will be a spearhead in the 50 strong fleet. Badloe scored gold in the 2016 World Cup Final in Melbourne, Australia, and the 2017 Final in Santander, Spain. However, he just missed out on gold in Miami, this year, and settled with silver. He will be aiming to return to winning ways ahead of the Marseille World Cup Final this June.
Close rival, Pawel Tarnowski (POL) will also be looking to snap up gold in Hyères. Tarnowski had a great 2017 and a good start to 2018, winning gold in the 2017 Trofeo Princesa Sofía, Round 1 of the 2018 World Cup Series in Gamagori, Japan and the 2018 49th Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma, Spain.
Louis Giard (FRA) won gold in Hyères last year, as well as gold in Miami in 2017 and 2018. Giard is a strong contender in the RS:X Men’s fleet and will be one to look out for. Another Frenchman sailing on home waters will be Pierre Le Coq, who won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics games and gold in Hyères in 2015.
The Women’s RS:X fleet will see 46 sailors compete. Amongst the large fleet, the Poland’s London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, Zofia Noceti-Klepacka, is favourite to take gold in the upcoming event, as she did last year in Hyères.
The Rio 2016 bronze medallist, Stefania Elfutina (RUS), just missed out on bronze in the previous round in Miami after a slipup on the final Medal Race, Elfutina was leading throughout the week but completed the Miami round in fourth place.
Besides Tom Burton in the Laser fleet, the current world #1, Pavlos Kontides (CYP) will also be attending. Kontides won gold in Hyères last year but can he do it again this time round?
Nick Thompson (GBR) missed out on bronze last year but will be returning in the hopes of going home with a medal.
In the Laser Radial class, it will be a very close competition for the strong fleet of 65 sailors.
Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN), who won bronze in Rio 2016, will be going head to head against the French sailor Mathilde de Kerangat, and Alison Young (GBR), who recently won gold in Miami.
Racing at the third round of Sailing’s World Cup Series in Hyères, France commences at 11:00 local time on Tuesday 24 April.
The 2.4 Norlin OD, 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and RS:X fleets will conclude racing on Saturday 28 with their Medal Races with the Men’s and Women’s 470, Laser, Laser Radial and Finn sailors’ bringing the regatta to a close on Sunday 29.
All Medal Races will be available to watch across the World Sailing Network from 12:00 local time – www.youtube.com/worldsailingtv.