The 42nd edition of the Semaine Olympique Francaise, fourth regatta of the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup will take off on 25 April in Hyeres, part of Toulon Proven Mediterranée territory.
Two years out from the Olympic Games, this event is sure to gather the best sailors world wide. To date 570 teams have registered including most of the French contingent. Event coordinator, Bernard Bonneau is expecting entries to exceed 600 by the 31 March deadline.
Several reasons can explain this predicted success. For the first time ever, the French ISAF Sailing World Cup stop include all the Olympic events. The Star class returning to Hyères last year has increased its entries. The Women Match Racing event will be present for the first time, using the Olympic boat, the Elliott 6m.
The second reason for this success is linked to the Olympic quadrennial calendar. Two years out from the Olympic Games, every international team is opening the doors to international competition for their sailors, before starting selections. Apart from France represented with 75 boats, there are many XXL teams like the British, German, or Spanish with over 30 entries. Quantity and quality go well together; over 10 Olympic medallists will ensure the level of competition at the 42nd Semaine Olympique Française.
Interview with Event coordinator: Bernard Bonneau
"I had a look at the latest entry numbers and they are pretty good. Being part of the Sailing World Cup, we have to respect some entry quotas and have already reached them in the Laser Standard, and are nearly there in other classes. With the Olympics only two years away, the national teams have big numbers and are participating in many European events. We have noticed much more Star boats pre-entered (11) than last year when they were six on the starting line. They still have to confirm their entries, but I feel confident because the "Sailing world Cup effect" encourages participation at more events, in order to be in good place for the title.
"This year is a first for the Elliott [equipment for the Women Match Racing event] which doesn't come without some difficulties as it is a real event in itself! We have to provide the boats, which we have done in partnership with Palma [the Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, third event of this year's World Cup], and organize round robins selection, a process requiring great attention to weather conditions, to ensure all the teams' race the same number of flights. We will have all the Olympic events represented, which hasn't happened during the 20 years I have been organising the regatta! We are also expecting high attendance levels in the Paralympic events."
The SOF in numbers
571 registered teams
6 racing days
10 Olympic events
3 Paralympic events
10 Olympic medallists
Find out more at the event website http://sof.ffvoile.net
and at www.sailing.org/worldcup