Please select your home edition
upffront 2018 Cousin Constrictors 20% Off 728x90

Returning to action

by Richard Aspland, World Sailing 21 Apr 2017 20:38 BST 23-30 April 2017
Billy Besson & Marie Riou during the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

There will be one home nation favourite gracing the waters of Hyères, France from 23 - 30 April for round two of the 2017 World Cup Series when multiple World Champion Billy Besson steps back onboard the Nacra 17.

Besson, along with partner Marie Riou, won all four Nacra 17 World Championship titles in the Rio 2016 quadrennial but failed to capitalise on that dominance as a back injury hampered any Olympic medal ambitions the pair harboured.

There will be a Riou partnering Besson once again in Hyères, but this time it will be in the shape of former Laser Radial competitor, Amélie. Despite the name, the two Riou's aren't related and have mixed sailing backgrounds. For Amélie it is quite a shift in gear to go from the One Person Dinghy to the Two Person Multihull and this will be a tough first test.

Like many French sailors, Besson has a strong history of sailing catamaran's and took that experience to help former partner Marie adapt from match racing to make a formidable Nacra 17 team. Besson will need to weave some more magic on the younger Riou, Amélie, while putting the disappointment of the injury ravaged Rio Games behind him to look to Tokyo 2020.

While Besson used time between major regattas to recover from injury, Ben Saxton (GBR) has had to use his time between winning the World Cup Series Miami and Hyères to find a new partner after Nicola Groves made the decision to pursue challenges out of the water. Stepping in to Groves' shoes for Hyères is Steph Orton who moves from the 49erFX.

Although being among the youngest team in the fleet, New Zealand's Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson already know what it takes to win becoming Red Bull Foiling Generation champions in 2016 and have good experience in the Nacra 17.

Still learning their trade in the Nacra 17 are Austria's Nico Delle-Karth, who sails with Laura Schofegger, and Denmark's Christian Peter Lubeck, who crews for Lin Ea Cenholt. Both have moved from the skiff fleet but have shown real potential in their new class. Delle-Karth claimed bronze in Miami and Lubeck matched that with a bronze at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

Great Britain's Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell took 49er gold in the USA but were beaten by compatriots James Peters and Fynn Sterritt at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia who took the title to ensure the British Skiff battle continues with both teams in Hyères 49er fleet.

Spain's Diego Botin and Iago Marra will again look to push for medals and will be joined in the hunt by Germany's Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel who claimed bronze at Rio 2016.

Stand out names in the 49erFX are the darlings of Brazilian sailing, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze. With Olympic gold and a win at the World Cup Series Miami it is hard not to hang the tag of favourites around their neck.

Other Miami medallists on the start line are Argentina's Victoria Travascio and Maria Branz who will look to upgrade their bronze from round 1.

Rio 2016 Nacra 17 bronze medallist, Austria's Tanja Frank, continues her transition from the Nacra 17 to the 49erFX partnering Lorena Abicht and will be joined by another Olympic multihull sailor, Aruba's Nicole van der Velden. Van de Velden has teamed up with Odile van Aanholt who has a silver Youth Olympic Games medal to her credit from Nanjing 2014.

There is a strong home nation presence in the Men's RS:X with Rio 2016 bronze medallist Pierre Le Coq, World Cup Series Miami winner Louis Giard and 2016 European Champion Thomas Goyard all competing.

Yoav Omer (ISR) dominated the RS:X field in Auckland, New Zealand to take the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championship and will be a strong contender if he can take that form in to this senior competition. Pawel Tarnowski (POL) is also coming off the back of a win in Palma, Majorca, Spain at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia and is expected to be at the front of the fleet.

From the Men's Youth Worlds champion to the Women's where the RS:X line up will have the three most recent Youth Worlds champions aiming for more senior glory. Great Britain's Emma Wilson took the 2016 title and will be joined by Stefania Elfutina (RUS) who won gold at youth level in 2014 and 2015 before going on to claim bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Wilson and Elfutina's predecessor, 2013 Youth Worlds champion, Yunxiu Lu (CHN) will try to win back to back World Cup Series gold medals after taking the win in Miami while the silver medallist on that occasion, Spain's Marina Alabau, will do her best to upgrade and top the podium ahead of her Chinese rival.

The Formula Kites will join the Olympic classes in Hyères and will be spearheaded by France's very own World Champion Maxime Nocher. Nocher will be joined by a host of countrymen who will have to contend with sailors from around the world like Germany's Florian Gruber and Canada's Catherine Dufour to take a gold medal on home soil.

Racing begins in Hyères, France on the 23 April and concludes with two days of LIVE Medal Races on 29 and 30 April 2017.

Related Articles

World Cup Hyères overall
Kontides steals gold again It was a case of déjà vu on the final day of racing at Sailing's World Cup Series in Hyères, France as Cypriot Laser sailor Pavlos Kontides once again stole gold from underneath the nose of his rival. Posted on 30 Apr 2017
World Cup Hyères day 5
Hyères offers up perfection as 7 classes decided Seven medals were confirmed today (Saturday) at Sailing's World Cup Series in Hyères, France. In the first of two live Medal Race days, France's southern coast was blessed with glorious sunshine. Posted on 29 Apr 2017
World Cup Hyères day 4
Chaos reigns in the Laser Radial Sailors are always thrilled when they have a return of straight race victories. Then there are times when they are happy to come out in one piece, still within touching distance of the medals. Posted on 28 Apr 2017
World Cup Hyères day 3
Heiner's consistency pays dividends Nicholas Heiner's (NED) consistency in the Finn is equalling success at Sailing's World Cup Series in Hyères, France. Posted on 27 Apr 2017
World Cup Hyères day 2
Zegers and van Veen show how it's done Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) were unstoppable on day two of Sailing's World Cup Series in Hyères, France, winning both Women's 470 races in convincing style. Posted on 26 Apr 2017
World Cup Hyères day 1
Laying down a marker Over 500 sailors from 52 nations opened their quest for World Cup honours, personal best performances and bragging rights as the second event of the 2017 series got underway in Hyères, France. Posted on 25 Apr 2017
Back to the future
At 2017 World Cup Series Round 2 at Hyeres next week When round two of the 2017 World Cup Series takes place in Hyères, France from 23 – 30 April, many attending sailors know what it feels like to stand on top of an Olympic podium. Posted on 20 Apr 2017
World Cup Series Miami overall
Hitting the high notes When the pressure was at fever pitch in the final race and the proverbial lights of a live worldwide broadcast at its brightest, Zegers and teammate Annaloes van Veen displayed incredible poise to grab the Women's 470 title. Posted on 30 Jan 2017
World Cup Series Miami day 5
Shifty conditions make Medal Races a test of nerve With the World Cup Series secure going into the Medal Race, 49er sailors Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) sailed a clean race and largely stayed out of the fray. Posted on 29 Jan 2017
World Cup Series Miami day 4
Grael and Kunze show their mettle For Brazil's Martine Soffiati Grael and Kahena Kunze, the fourth day of the 2017 World Cup Series Miami presented by Sunbrella started on a sour note, with a 14th in a 16-boat 49erFX fleet. Posted on 28 Jan 2017