The finest sailing talent on the planet will assemble in Hyères, France from 20-26 April for the next instalment of the ISAF Sailing World Cup.

Elite level fleets in all ten of the Olympic events will put their skills to the ultimate test with 40 of the world’s best in each class. ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères marks the first occasion where fleets are decided based on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and a qualification regatta.

The world’s top 30 sailors from the 2 February 2015 ISAF World Sailing Rankings release were invited to Hyères with the remaining ten receiving their spot at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères qualification regatta, Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

From now, until 21 April, 600 Olympic sailors in 400 boats and 39 Paralympic sailors in 25 boats will train, prepare and tune up ahead of the first racing day on 22 April. A four day racing series will build up to the Medal Races on Sunday 26 April where titles will be won and ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots snapped up.

49er and 49erFX

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) come into ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères as the pair to beat in the 49er. Seventeen consecutive wins since their silver medal exploits at London 2012 have solidified their position as the ones to beat. The manner in which their victories have come has been outstanding, in many cases winning with a day to spare and even missing out a day of competition to attend the 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards Ceremony.

With the countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition truly on it would be hard to bet against the Kiwis but their rivals are pushing hard.

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) remained in contention with the Kiwis at the recent Trofeo Princesa Sofia whilst Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) come into the event full of confidence following their victory at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami.

With a packed start line of the world’s best 49er talent from day one, the level of competition all the 49er sailors will face will be of the highest calibre.

ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) will spearhead the 49erFX fleet, aiming to defend the title they won 12 months prior.

The Brazilians won by eight points over Kiwis Alex Maloney and Molly Meech in 2014 and Grael described Hyères as, ‘the best week ever’. With the likes of Maloney and Meech, who recently won ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta winners Maiken and Anne-Juline Foght Schütt (DEN) and the dangerous Marie Olsen and Ida Marie Nielsen (DEN) and Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) on the startline it’s set to be another great week of competition.

Laser and Laser Radial

It will be a who’s who of Laser and Laser Radial sailing in Hyères with 40 of the finest one-person dinghy sailors within each fleet.

Such is the nature of both fleets that clear favourites would be hard to determine with a mixture of recent regatta winners in the Laser and the Laser Radial.

On a fine run of form, however, is Belgium’s Evi Van Acker who has finished on the podium at the last five regattas she’s competed in, winning the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, UAE last November. A veteran of nine previous Olympic class regattas in Hyères the Belgian took her first title on French waters in 2014 and will be back to defend her title.

World #1 and 2014 World Champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) will join the Belgian, renewing their long running rivalry once again. Anne Marie Rindom (DEN) will be firmly in the hunt alongside the London 2012 silver and bronze medallists having beaten them both to gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in January.

In the Laser, World #1 Tom Burton (AUS) has had an up and down time in 2015 with an 18th at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and a fifth at Trofeo Princesa Sofia. Burton will make a welcomed return to Hyères having won the last two ISAF Sailing World Cup editions on the French waters.

Germany’s Philipp Buhl heads into Hyères in fine form with two wins from his last two regattas. Victory at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and Trofeo Princesa Sofia will give him confidence in a fleet that’s packed full of some of the finest athletes in the world.

Names such as Matt Wearn (AUS), Robert Scheidt (BRA), Tonci Stipanovic (CRO), Pavlos Kontides (CYP), Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), Nick Thompson (GBR), Nicholas Heiner (NED), Andy Maloney (NZL), Sam Meech (NZL) and Charlie Buckingham (USA) ensure the fleet is of the highest calibre.

Finn

Giles Scott (GBR) is on a run of nine consecutive Finn regatta victories. His form is impeccable and he will come into Hyères as the man to beat.

Much like Burling and Tuke in the 49er, Scott has won the majority of his regattas by an emphatic margin. Consistently at the top and barely putting a foot wrong Scott has blown his opponents away but Hyères is a regatta gold that does not feature on his mantelpiece.

From four previous appearances Scott’s best result is a second behind compatriot Andrew Mills at the 2013 edition with a seventh coming in 2011, a fourth in 2009 and a 39th in the Laser in 2005. Nonetheless, with an unrivalled run of victories in the Finn, Scott will fancy his chances to add a further gold to his impressive repertoire.

Pieter Jan Postma (NED) won his first ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal in Hyères in 2014 and will be back to defend his title. Further strong competition will come from World #1 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), Thomas Le Breton (FRA), Ed Wright (GBR) and Vasilij Zbogar (SLO).

Racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères commences on Wednesday 22 April. Medal Races on Sunday 26 April will bring the regatta to a close.About the ISAF Sailing World Cup

The ISAF Sailing World Cup is a world-class annual series for Olympic sailing. It is open to the sailing events chosen for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Its centre piece is the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup will consist of five regattas for all ten Olympic events and where possible, Formula Kite Racing. Qualification places for the ISAF Sailing World Cup final are up for grabs at each event. The final will bring together the top 20 boats in each Olympic event and an Open Kiteboarding event where the World Cup Champions will be crowned

2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup
Melbourne – 7-14 December 2014
Miami – 25-31 January 2015
Hyères – 20-26 April 2015
Weymouth and Portland – 8-14 June 2015
Qingdao – 14-20 September 2015
2015 Final Abu Dhabi – 27 October to 1 November 2015

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ISAF Sailing World Cup website
http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/home.php