SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF OLYMPIC SAILING COME TO MARSEILLE05 Jun 2018
After several days of preparation, tuning and training, racing at Sailing's World Cup Series Final in Marseille, France got underway on Tuesday under clear blue skies.
Anticipation has been building in Marseille as the venue will host the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition. For the locals, it's the first opportunity to see the Olympic fleets up close and personal.
For the sailors, the opening day was about ensuring they recorded strong scores which will give them a launch pad to target the medals and podiums later on in the week.
After a small morning delay to wait for the sea breeze to build, sailing commenced early in the afternoon, with a 13-15 knot southerly breeze appeasing the 212 registered sailors from 34 nations racing across eight Olympic fleets.
Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) got their World Cup Series title defence off to a strong start in the 20-boat Women's 470 fleet. A fifth and a race win positions them nicely at the head of the leaderboard.
Brazil's Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan picked up the opening race win but were unable to come close in the second as they finished down in 11th, ending the day fifth overall.
World Cup Series Miami Champions and recently crowed 470 European Champions, Tina Mrak and Veronica Macarol (SLO), were off the pace in the fleet, scoring a 13th and an 18th. After the opening day, they are down in 17th.
The two race wins in the Men's 470, went the way of Jordi Xammar and Nicolas Rodriguez (ESP) and Hungary's Balázs Gyapjas and Zsombor Gyapjas. The Spanish team backed it up with a fifth to grab the lead, but the Hungarians could only manage a 14th which puts them seventh.
Plenty more racing is on the horizon in the Men's 470 but the teams in between the Spanish and Hungarian teams will be content as very little separates them so far.
Racing is scheduled to commence at 12:00 local time on Wednesday 6 June as the opening series continues.
Medal Races on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June will be streamed live on World Sailing's YouTube Channel and will bring the event to a close.
By Daniel Smith - World Sailing