With 18-knot wind and more spectacular sailing at the F18 Worlds, French sailors Gurvan Bontemps, Billy Besson and Francois Gabart finished the first six qualifying races in first, second and third positions respectively.
On Thursday, the fleet splits into Golden and Silver groups with four races planned for each, starting from 12:00 (local time).
A 12-knot westerly wind increased to 18 in the afternoon giving both the Formula 18 Worlds and the Compagnia della Vela Grosseto another great day's sailing. The fleet of 161 teams were competing in the last two heats of the qualifying phase and are now preparing to embark on the final stage of the competition.
The French teams masterfully dominated the racing action, taking up the top three positions in the standings. First overall were Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot (FRA) who had a practically perfect day of it with two consecutive victories the icing on the cake. They now have 10 points in the overall standings and lie ahead of Billy Besson and Jeremie Lagarrigue (FRA), who are second on 11 points.
The third step on the podium went to Francois Gabart and Matthieu Vandame (FRA) who have 14 points. However, with one win and one tenth position finish, the overnight leader Mischa Heemskerk (NED) is now on 15 points and has slid down into fourth followed by Hugh Styles (GBR) in fifth on 16 points and his Jorden Veenman (NED) in sixth on 27 points.
The Italians also performed very well on Wednesday, with Vittorio Bissaro and Lamberto Cesari (ITA) delivering an excellent score thanks to a seventh and a sixth position. They are now on 35 points which means they've moved up to ninth position overall, just behind Taylor Reiss and Matthew Whitehead (USA) on 35 points and Mitch Both and Jordi Booth (NED) in seventh on 28 points.
On Thursday the fleet will be split into gold and silver fleets. Four races are scheduled starting at 12:00 (local time) and a further four on Friday to guarantee the two last days will deliver truly spectacular, edge-of-the-seat sailing.