The ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres awaits for GBR sailors. Helena Lucas and Megan Pascoe will aim to make it a hat-trick of British World Cup regatta victories in the 2.4mR class in 2014 when they take to the racetrack next week (21-26 April).
The Paralympic Champion Lucas, and the 2013 2.4mR Open Worlds bronze medallist Pascoe share one World Cup series victory apiece in the one-person Paralympic class this season from the Miami and Palma events heading into the final event of the 2013/14 World Cup series.
Lucas gained the upper hand at the most recent regatta at the Mallorcan venue earlier this month, while Pascoe claimed regatta honours on Biscayne Bay in January to get her season off to winning ways.
But although the British Sailing Team stablemates will battle it out for podium honours again next week, they’ll face fierce competition in their quest for British dominance on the podium, with local hero Damien Seguin set to compete, plus strong competition from the Netherlands and Germany.
Lucas and Pascoe are among 68 British sailors preparing to compete across eight of the 12 Olympic and Paralympic classes to be hosted at the southern French venue.
49er European Champions Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign head into the event as defending champions, having secured their first World Cup gold at the 2013 edition of the event.
The duo were pleased to have come away from the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca with a bronze under their belts, but Sign admits there’s plenty they can still improve upon. 'We were pretty happy with the outcome, but it felt for us like we hadn’t been sailing at our best – I reckon there’s still more to come,' said Sign after their Palma podium finish.
'I’d been ill halfway through the week, and in the medal race we were doing all the right things up the beat and threw it all away downwind, so we’ve had a few work-ons ahead of Hyeres and hopefully they’ll come through for next time.'
Fletcher and Sign will be joined by six other British Sailing Team crews in the 49er event, with Stevie Morrison and Chris Grube expected to be back in action after a premature finish to their Palma regatta when Grube sustained a back injury.
In the 49erFX fleet, Charlotte Dobson will also have fond memories of Hyeres as the site of her first podium finish in the new women’s skiff event. She secured silver with Mary Rook at the 2013 event, and will head into the 2014 edition with confidence having claimed World Cup bronze with permanent crew Sophie Ainsworth in Palma two weeks ago. Frances Peters-Nicola Groves and Kate Macgregor-Katrina Best will also feature in the 45-boat women’s skiff fleet.
Laser Radial sailor Chloe Martin will look to continue a strong Palma performance where she claimed a first World Cup medal into this final World Cup event of the season, while Luke Patience and Elliot Willis will embark on their second event together in the 470 men’s class next week with a solid seventh under their belts from their Palma debut.
World Champion Nick Dempsey will spearhead the British challenge in the RS:X men’s windsurfing event, with Nick Thompson the leading British man in the Laser event, while Nacra 17 world silver medallists Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond, and Lucy Macgregor and Andrew Walsh will aim to build on their top ten finishes two weeks ago in what were lively conditions for the multihull fleet in Palma.
In the 470 women’s event, Eilidh McIntyre will have an 11th hour test on her broken finger to determine whether or she and Sophie Weguelin will be able to compete, while Palma bronze medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark will be missing from the startline after Clark underwent a hernia operation.
John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas will be among the eight teams competing in the three-person Paralympic Sonar event.
The British Sailing Team’s Finn squad will miss the regatta in preparation for the Finn European Championships at La Rochelle (5-10 May), while the RS:X Women’s windsurfers have also opted to skip the event in favour of domestic training.
Racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres kicks off on Easter Monday (21 April) with the final medal races scheduled for Saturday 26 April. RYA website