Hyères: A Paris 2024 Olympic appetizer

Published on December 19th, 2020

Hyères’s 53rd Semaine Olympique Française (SOF) will take place from April 17 to 24, 2021. The last big sailing meet before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the SOF in the south of France will bring together the 10 classes competing in Japan in August 2021, as well as the 4 new disciplines that will be competing on the waters of Marseille at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

In addition, the offshore race, which the IOC will decide on May 31whether to include in the Olympics, will also be contested. Thus, this edition of the SOF promises an unprecedented level of competition, especially as it will be an opportunity for the European Laser sailors to clinch the final remaining places for Tokyo, while the Finn event will also double as their 2021 European Championship.

With more than 600 sailors from more than 50 countries, Hyères’s Semaine Olympique Française promises to be the elite sailing event three months ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games in August 2021 – and a showcase for Paris 2024. For the first time, all the classes that will compete at the next two Olympiads will be brought together at the same event.

The 10 Olympic classes competing in Japan: women’s and men’s windsurfing (RS: X), women’s and men’s single-handed dinghy (Laser), men’s single-handed dinghy (Finn), women’s and men’s double-handed dinghy (49er), mixed catamaran (Nacra 17), women’s and men’s double-handed dinghy (470).

The 4 new classes that will present in Marseille in 2024: mixed kiteboard (kitefoil), mixed double dinghy (470), women’s and men’s windfoil (iQFoil). The offshore race (mixed crew), the presence of which in Marseille 2024 will be decided next May.

In all, 15 classes will compete on a stretch of water in the Mediterranean where racing is as technical as it is tactical. Famous for its often forceful easterly or west-north-west (mistral) winds, Hyères on the Cote D’Azur also has a varied regime of thermal breezes.

“The Semaine Olympique Française is back for its 53rd edition,” Ed Russo, FFVoile’s SOF event manager said. “The health crisis that is affecting the whole world has caused the postponement of many events to the summer of 2021, including the most important of them all, the 2020 Olympic Games.

“We wanted to make the best of the unique situation this year by combining all the disciplines that will be present in Tokyo in 2021 and in Paris in 2024. This is a first and so the 53rd edition will therefore go down in the annals from this point of view. There is a lot at stake and the Laser class will also use the event to allocate their last European Olympic quotas, while the Finns will compete in their European Championships. It’s an important event for the Finn class, which a few days later will also allocate their last Olympic quotas in Portugal.

“We also have an ambitious project with Palma (Mallorca) organizing a mini mixed doubles offshore racing championship. It will be an opportunity, with the support of World Sailing, to demonstrate to the IOC all the great qualities of this discipline.”

The offshore race, co-organized with Palma and Marseille, will culminate in Hyères.

Although the mixed double-handed ocean race class has not yet been approved by the IOC for the following Olympic Games (Paris 2024), a 5-stage championship is being planned with Palma. The details have not yet been finalized, but the organizers know that they can race two fleets (L30 and Grand Surprise) for this championship, with the final in Hyères.

• Stage 1: Marseille -> Palma
• Stage 2: Princess Sofia Palma
• Stage 3: Palma -> Marseille
• Stage 4: Marseille -> Hyères
• Stage 5: SOF Hyères

This partnership between two major Olympic-class events together with World Sailing will be an opportunity to demonstrate that the mixed double-handed offshore race is a suitable event for the Olympic Games. With two starts from Marseille, the event will also make it possible to plan towards 2024.

The last major Olympic sailing event before the Tokyo Olympic Games will be held in Hyères from April 17 to 24, 2021.

Event Website: https://evenements.ffvoile.fr/sof2021gbr/

Source: Event Media

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