ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères is 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.
Throughout the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup series Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) and Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) were the dominant trio, sharing the podium on a number of occasions.
Whilst the form guide shows that at least one of the breakaway trio will be on the Hyères podium, their stranglehold has been infiltrated recently with a number of teams making impressions on the fleet.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) took a well-deserved bronze at the 2014 ISAF Worlds and followed this up with gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne, which also confirmed their place on the 2015 Abu Dhabi Final start line. The pair will be aiming to make an impression in Hyères.
A strong British team will also be on the startline and they will be buoyed by recent successes. Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) finished second at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami whilst John Gimson and Hannah Diamond (GBR) picked up silver at Trofeo Princesa Sofia. Gimson and Diamond are a relatively new Nacra 17 pairing and with their silver, qualified for ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères.
Men's and Women's RS:X
French sailors will be at the forefront of the Men's and Women's RS:X fleets In Hyères. Julien Bontemps and Charline Picon made it a double French gold at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain and they have continued that form in 2015.
At the recent Trofeo Princesa Sofia, Picon claimed the women's gold whilst Bontemps narrowly missed out on gold in the men's via countback.
On their home waters in Hyères they will want to continue their good form but face strong opposition.
Kiran Badloe (NED) had the beating of Bontemps at Trofeo Princesa Sofia and will head over to Hyères full of confidence. Fellow Dutchman and London 2012 Olympic Champion Dorian van Rijsselberge will be on the startline as will the strong Polish trio of Przemyslaw Miarczynski, Piotr Myszka and Pawel Tarnowski.
With a strong winter training period behind each competitor, the level of competition in the Men's RS:X will be one of the highest ever seen.
Joining Picon in the Women's RS:X fleet will be World #1 Flavia Tartaglini, ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallist Bryony Shaw (GBR) and London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Marina Alabau (ESP).
Men's and Women's 470
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) and Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) will renew their longstanding rivalry in the Women's 470 in Hyères. Ever since their final day winner takes all battle at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, which saw the Kiwis take gold, the pair have battled it out at the front of the pack.
2014 World and European Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) will miss out on Hyères. Nonetheless the fleet will feature an abundance of big game contenders such as 2013 Hyères gold medallists Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA), Hélène Defrance and Camille Lecointre (FRA), Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) and Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA).
In the Men's 470, as with any regatta they attend, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) will be amongst the favourites. Since their partnership formed, they have featured on every ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta podium they have competed at, winning five gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.
Most recently Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) pushed the Aussies back at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami taking the spoils and they'll be back in the mix in Hyères. Further teams that will be in the hunt in Hyères are Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG), Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO), Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) and Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA).
Hyères will feature 18 sailors in the 2.4mR and seven teams in the Sonar.
At the 2014 edition of ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères, Heiko Kroger (GER) and Damien Seguin (FRA) had an epic final race winner takes all battle in the 2.4mR. The German came from behind to defeat Seguin and take gold. The rivalry will be renewed in 2015. The 18-boat fleet features a number of leading contenders who will want to come between Kroger and Seguin. London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) will be in the mix as will her compatriot Megan Pascoe.
Bjorner Erikstad (NOR) won ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in January and will also fancy his chances in Hyères.
In the Sonar, John Robertson, Steve Thomas and Hannah Stodel (GBR) will return to defend their title. Joining them will be World Cup Miami gold medallists Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen as well as 2014 Hyères silver medallists Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA).
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
ISAF Sailing World Cup website
ISAF Sailing World Cup Facebook