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ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Excellent racing on opening day

by Daniel Smith, ISAF on 22 Apr 2014
Nacra 17, Billy Besson and Marie Riou - 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres, Day 1 Yvan Zedda
On the opening day of the ISAF Sailing World up Hyeres, glorious sunshine and a consistent cool spring breeze ensured the 1,111 sailors from 59 nations were spoilt. Racing in the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events could not have been any better as the consistency of a 10-15 easterly breeze ensured excellent racing throughout the day.

The world's finest sailing talent came to the forefront of their respective fleets with Hyères showcasing what it is all about.

Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) won gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca with a day to spare and they brought that same form into the first race day in Hyères.

Opening their account with a second they ramped it up for the day's two other races by taking convincing victories in both races, 'The day was really great, especially for a first day,' commented Besson after racing. 'The wind conditions were cool and we got a second and two wins. It was very perfect conditions.'

With the discard coming into play after three races the French have a small single point lead over Pippa Wilson and John Gimson (GBR) but lose a second compared to the Britons seventh. Despite looking good at the early stage Besson doesn't think an early victory will be on the cards, 'Oh no,' exclaimed Besson. 'With Marie we take it race by race and tomorrow is another race and same again the day after. We'll keep our head clear and that's all.'

After three races the points are extremely close with the top six all counting single number scores.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne winners and Mallorca bronze medallists Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) are one of those teams and whilst they were strong posting a 1-4-4 score line, Curtis found the day a bit of a learning curve, 'We had this really steep uneven chop and I've never sailed in the cats in those conditions before and it was actually really cool to learn on the run and we actually won the first race.

'We're pretty happy as all our results are keepers. That's the idea, on the first day you want to get some keepers on the board and not use your drop up.'

The Nacra 17 is split into two fleets with further race victories going the way of Wilson and Gimson, Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond (GBR), and Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT).

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) hold the lead in the 49er after two bullets and a discarded 16th but displaying superb consistency was Great Britain's Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR).

The Brits took the first race win in the Yellow fleet and followed up with two third places and hold second overall. After racing Fletcher let his 1,200+ Twitter followers on @GBR49erTeam know about his and Sign's day, 'Wicked day racing in Hyeres, 1,3,3 with the last race our best after a great first beat to get back into the race #teamwork #longwaytogo.'

And a #longwaytogo it is with 15 more races scheduled over the remaining five days of competition.

Holding third overall after the first day is Diego Botin and Pablo Turrado (ESP) followed by Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS).