Sparkling opening day at Sailing World Cup Hyeres

The opening day of the Sailing World Cup in Hyeres was a stunning yet difficult one for all of the competitors in the RS:X fleets who were presented with a light and shifty breeze on an otherwise perfect day for sailing. With 50 men and 44 women competing at this invitation only event, the competition this week will be extremely tight as the sailors get battle hardened ahead of the all-important Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, now less than 100 days away – the key milestone of the year for the 21 nations competing in both fleets.

Days like this opening one will be full of lessons learnt whether it be from the front or the back of the fleet as the sailors mental skills in positioning themselves tactically around the course, making sure that no disqualifications were picked up and finding the right balance between effort and reward. And all of the sailors would have felt the effort today as all three races were held in muscular pumping conditions with some opportunities to get relief from the intense physicality as the boards planned downwind.

In the Women’s fleet, consistency was very difficult to find for all competitors as everyone in the top ten picked up a big score as four points separate the top five racers. Piena Chen from China and Israels  Noga Geller are tied at the top of the leader board, both sitting on five points having discarded a 20th from their scorelines. Israel is the dominant country in this fleet after day 1 with four competitors sitting inside the top ten, and the hard work of this close knit training group is starting to show and pay off. Hayley Chan from Hong Kong sits in third place overall having taken the opening race of the day and will be looking to keep her consistency and aim for a podium finish.

Making her return to Olympic racing is local sailor Charline Picon who is in her first event having had a baby and since taking the gold medal in Rio 2016, one of a number of mothers competing for the podium within the fleet. Picon is currently in seventh place overall and is easily in striking distance of the leaders.

The Men’s bronze medallist from Rio 2016, Pierre Le Coq from France had a storming day to take two race wins and sits comfortable at the top of the men’s fleet overall. Mengfan Gao from China is in second, one place back and is followed closely by Thomas Goyard from France. French sailors are controlling the show and hold four out of the top five spots. The Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Japan and Switzerland round out the rest of the top ten in a very international affair.

Racing is scheduled through to Saturday where the Medal Races will be shown live via the World Sailing website. All of the action can be found by clicking the link below;

The Sailing World Cup in Hyeres is the third round of the 2018 World Cup following events in Gamagori, Japan and Miami, USA, and will culminate with a final in Marseille in June. The winners of the World Cup Final will take a huge mental boost into the Sailing World Championships having beaten the best that the class have to offer along the way.

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