The 2012 European Champion Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) made the best start in the Finn class at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres, the final event in the 2013-14 series. A second and a first left him leading the 59 boat fleet after the first two races from Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) and Caleb Paine (USA). The first race was won by Jonathan Lobert (FRA).
A few of the top sailors have decided to skip Hyeres this year, preferring to concentrate on preparations of the 2014 European Championships, which open in La Rochelle, France in just two weeks time. The most notable absentees are the British team, including last years gold and silver medalists in Hyeres, Andrew Mills (GBR) and Giles Scott (GBR).
It was an almost perfect start to the week with 10-15 knots of breeze, sunshine and some interesting racing mixing up the single fleet. With a scheduled start time of 14.00 the first race produced two casualties in the form of last year's bronze medalist Josh Junior (NZL) and fellow kiwi Andrew Murdoch (NZL), who both placed highly in the race but ended up with a BFD apiece. The race win finally went to Jonathan Lobert (FRA) from Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) and Milan Vujasinovic (CRO).
Mitakis went one better in the second race to win, this time from Filippo Baldassari (ITA) and former world No 1. Caleb Paine (USA). Junior made up for his unfortunate race 1 to pick up fourth place in the second, while race 1 winner Lobert picked up a 28th to end up 13th overnight.
Overall leader Mitakis said, "The wind was 10-12 knots with free pumping conditions. It was a bit tricky but the left side paid more."
"I passed the first mark in third behind POL 13 [Michal Jodlowski] and BRA 1 [Bruno Prada] and then on the first downwind I rounded the gate in second and from the middle of the second upwind I took the lead. Then I just concentrated on my boat speed till the finish."
The qualifying series continues until Friday, with the medal race for the top 10 on Saturday. From Wednesday all boats will be tracked and this can be watched live online at: http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php
Results after 2 races:
1 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 3
2 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 8
3 USA 6 Caleb Paine 10
4 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 14
5 AUS 41 Jake Lilley 15
6 BRA 1 Bruno Prada 17
7 POL 1 Milosz Wojewski 18
8 ITA 123 Filippo Baldassari 21
9 POL 17 Piotr Kula 23
10 CRO 1 Josip Olujic 23
Full results: http://registration.ffvoile.fr/swc2014/old/race/swisstiming/Finn/Finn-Fleet-Overall.pdf
Event website: http://swc.ffvoile.com/swc2014gbr