Another four races were sailed on day four of the F18 Worlds in Italy with Billy Besson taking a decisive lead ahead of Hugh Styles and Mischa Heemskerk.
Things went from strength to strength on the racing course off the Compagnia della Vela Grosseto on Thursday with another fantastic and thrilling day's sailing in the bag, courtesy of a westerly that got up to 16 knots in the afternoon, ensuring the 161 teams had to really push themselves hard both physically and tactically on the water.
Four races were held in the first day of the finals for the Gold and Silver groups into which the fleet is now split. The top class was dominated by Billy Besson and Jeremie Lagarriquem (FRA) who were the real stars of the day, confidently delivering two victories and two fifth-position finishes. This means they now have a total of 18 points in hand, making them undisputed leaders in the overall standings with just one day to go in the Formula 18 World Championships.
Behind the French duo in second place are Hugh Styles and crew Richard Mason (GBR) on 22 points (3, 12, 1, 2). They are ahead of Mischa Heemskerk (NED) (10, 7, 81 DNC, 1) who takes the bottom step of the day's Gold podium on 33 points. In fourth, on 35 points, is Francois Gabart (FRA) (2, 23, 15, 4) followed by Mitch Booth (7, 6, 2, 28) in fifth on 42 points and overnight leader, Gurvan Bontemps (28, 8, 3, 81 BFD).
Faring best of the Italians right now are Carlo de Paoli and Maurizio Stella who are ranked 14th on 83 points ahead of Bissaro-Cesari who dropped from ninth to 15th position thanks to a score of 87.
Dutch duo Arjan Baas and Gort Roderick (143 points) triumphed in the Silver fleet ahead of Austrians Andreas Geritzer and Peter Klenner (169 points), while the third step on the podium went to Italians Manuel Vaccari and Alessandro Meoli (170 points).
Friday is expected to bring another enthusiastically windy day and perfect racing conditions. The committee will be aiming to start the last four races from 12.00 (local time) with the prize-giving ceremonies for both Gold and Silver fleets scheduled for 18.00 at Compagnia della Vela Grosseto.