Laser sailor Michael Beckett is relishing the opportunity to test himself against the best Laser sailors in the world when he takes on the Hyères Olympic Week Regatta from 27 April to 4 May.
Beckett will be among a host of British Sailing Team Laser sailors in the South of France looking to test themselves against the very best single-handed dinghy sailors from across the globe.
“The top 20 at this event looks red hot,” said Beckett, 24, from Solva, Pembrokeshire.
“There were six or seven boats that I thought were sailing exceptionally well in Palma [at the Princess Sofia Trophy]. If you add in to that the Australian and New Zealand sailors that weren’t there but have been training full on over their summer, it’s going to be a very interesting fleet and good to see what form everyone is in.”
Michael Beckett. ©Lloyd Images
Compatriot Lorenzo Chiavarini, who was the top British Laser sailor at last year’s event finishing in fifth, echoes his teammate’s sentiments.
“Hyères is one of the real tests in the beginning of the season,” said Chiavarini, 25, from Bellanoch Bay, Argyll.
“This year the entry is of a very high standard. It will be very exciting to see how the high pressured event will bring the best out of us all.”
The British Sailing Team Laser squad’s last event was the Princess Sofia Trophy at the beginning of April and Beckett expects some similarities in Hyères now the French regatta has moved away from a limited entry fleet.
“It’s the first time I will have ever done Hyères where it isn’t a World Cup event, so now I think it’ll be the same type of event as the Princess Sofia.
“I know it’s going to be different and to be honest I don’t really know what to expect. I’m going to go in with an open mind, but I am very much looking forward to it. I always like sailing in Hyères.”
Beckett will form part of a strong Laser squad that includes Olympian Nick Thompson who took bronze in Palma and Elliot Hanson who took silver.
Double Olympian Ali Young and Hannah Snellgrove will race in the Laser Radial while recent RS:X Europeans medallists Emma Wilson and Andy Brown will be part of the British windsurf squad hoping to capitalise on a good run of form.
Racing in Hyères begins on Monday 29 April and concludes with medal racing on Saturday 4 May.