April 21 - Hosts France and New Zealand were the dominant nations on the first day of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Cup in Hyères, as they top the early leaderboard in four of the 10 Olympic classes being contested.
With more than 1,100 of the world's top sailors in Hyères for the final World Cup meeting of the season, competition off the French coast is fierce and home sailors are stepping up to the mark early on.
Leading the charge is Billy Besson and Marie Riou who have started their bid for a second successive World Cup win, following victory in Mallorca, in superb fashion by recording two wins on the day to add to a second in their opening race.
However, they only hold a one point lead over British duo Pippa Wilson and John Gimson who claimed a first and a second, while compatriots Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond sit third after also securing a win in the Nacra 17 class which is split into two fleets.
The Laser competition is also split into two fleets and sees Frenchman Jean Baptiste Bernaz currently in the lead after registering two wins in his opening races, while Rober Scheidt of Brazil, Swede Jesper Stalheim, New Zealander Andy Maloney and Matt Wearn of Australia all secured opening day wins.
Maloney's compatriots Peter Burling and Blair Tuke hold the lead in the 49er class following a brace of wins, ahead of British duo Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign who recorded one win and two third places.
Despite getting off to a poor start in race one, New Zealand's Natalia Kosinska bounced back with a first and second and narrowly heads the women's RS:X competition ahead of Poland's Maja Dziarnowska, who registered a best of first and third place in her three races.
In the men's RS:X, Dziarnowska's team-mate Piotr Myszka put in probably the most dominant performance on day one as he powered his way to three consecutive victories in the split-fleet.
Dutch duo Kiran Badloe and Dorian Van Rijsselberge, along with Germany's Toni Wilhelm, all took a win apiece to trail the Pole.
Two race wins sees Belgium's Evi Van Acker lead the way in the Laser Radial event ahead of Ireland's Annalise Murphy and Tatiana Drozdovskaya of Belarus, while a first and an eighth place sees New Zealanders Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie sit just behind Americans Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha, who recorded a win and a fifth in the women's 470 class.
Olympic champions Aleh and Powrie are seeking a hat-trick of World Cup wins following victories in Qingdao and Mallorca and appeared content with their opening efforts.
"We kept it pretty simple," said Powrie.
"We just got out of the blocks well and then chipped away from there.
"It was a top 10 finish so it's a keeper.
"We missed a few things on the first beat and we had to crawl back from there.
"We managed to come away with a decent result so we're happy with the day."
The men's 470 class sees a familiar duo leading the way as Australia's Mat Belcher and Will Ryan once again set the pace with a brace of wins, ahead of second placed Spaniards Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera with Sweden's Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom lying third.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze set down a marker in the 49erFX competition with two impressive victories, as British duo Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth picked up the other race win.
Former European champion Ioannis Mitakis of Greece has a five point lead in the Finn class after opening up with two wins, ahead of Croatia's Milan Vujasinovic and American Caleb Pine.
Racing in Hyères is due to continue through until Saturday (April 26).
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April 2014: World's best to gather in Hyères for final sailing World Cup event of season