A strong day five performance from the British Sailing Team saw a quintet of crews book their places in Saturday’s medal races at the World Cup Series in Hyeres, France.
The 49er, 49er FX and Nacra 17 medal races will all feature British teams thanks to a string of top finishes in much-improved conditions.
Reigning Nacra 17 world champion Ben Saxton is guaranteed at least a bronze alongside stand-in crew Nicola Boniface after another day of consistent results.
The pair sit second overall, and a 20-point lead over fourth-placed Spanish team Iker Martinez and Olga Maslivets means they can’t fall out of the top three regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s race.
Saxton and Boniface will be joined in the Nacra 17 medal race by team mates John Gimson and Anna Burnet who sit sixth overall.
In a dramatic turnaround from early regatta disappointment, 49er FX team Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey secured their medal race spot with two race wins, a fourth and a sixth from an action-packed day of fleet racing.
“We are totally thrilled,” said Dobson, 31, from Weymouth, Dorset. “We have been working on some things and I was a little ill at the start of the week so we have had a bit of a double whammy of things not going right.
“It’s been good to work through that though and come out the other side by working on our basics and being able to deliver. Yesterday especially was a turning point for us and today was our ideal conditions so it was fun to just let it rip.”
The pair’s comeback sees them rise from 18th after day two to within a single point of the podium sitting in fourth place overall.
Fellow 49er FX duo Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth go into the medal race in eighth overall having not dropped out of the top ten all regatta.
Launching late in the afternoon the 49ers could only complete one race as winds on the French coast dropped to as low as three knots, but a ninth for current world champions Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell was enough to see them qualify for the medal race in eighth.
Following the example set by Dobson and Tidey, Ben Cornish put a challenging regatta start behind him to take a race win and a fifth on day four in the Finn.
“It’s nice to be back at the top end of the fleet which I haven’t had a lot of this week,” said Cornish 26, from Exeter, Devon. “I feel like I’ve been missing the big gains straight from the starts but I was on to it today.
“I’ve been working with my coaches all winter to try and tidy up a few areas of weakness and trying to put those in to a race situation has been quite hard, so doing the simple things has taken a bit of a back seat.
“We had a chat this morning and decided today we would take things back to basics and not over-complicate things. Just let it roll and see what happens.”
Cornish has one more day of fleet racing to see if he can improve upon his 17th place on the leader board and make the Finn’s medal race on Sunday.
Three-time RS:X youth world champion Emma Wilson knew a good day could just nick her a place in the windsurfing medal race, but it just wasn’t to be. Wilson came out all guns blazing with an opening race victory and a third place before a 27th in the final fleet race put an end to her chances.
Meanwhile Michael Beckett had the Laser performance of the day in the Standard taking a third and a fifth place but it is Lorenzo Chiavarini who still holds top Brit status sitting in fifth overall. Georgina Povall dropped one place to sixth but remains firmly in contention for the Radial medal race.
Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Hannah Mills and crew Eilidh McIntyre continue to hold onto second in the women’s 470 as male counterparts Luke Patience and Chris Grube took two fourth place finishes from two races in the men’s fleet.
The first round of medal races – for the 49er, 49er FX, Nacra 17 and RS:X – are scheduled to begin at 1257 local time 1057 GMT tomorrow.
The final day of fleet racing for the Finn, men’s and women’s 470 and Laser Standard and Radial begins at 1100 local time (0900 GMT) with the medal races held on Sunday.
Full results are available on the Manage2Sail website on behalf of World Sailing.
Watch the action LIVE on the British Sailing Team’s Facebook or follow updates on the Twitter and Instagram pages.