Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds An Open Game For Laser And Radial
The game will be wide open in
the Laser and Laser Radial at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World
Championship with large numbers gunning for World Championship glory and a
Rio 2016 Olympic place.
Seventy two nations featuring 150 sailors will compete in the Laser fleet
whilst 58 nations will sail in the 120-boat Laser Radial fleet. Both fleets
will kick start racing in Santander on Friday 12 September.
2014 acts as the first qualification regatta for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing
Competition. Twenty three Laser and 19 Laser Radial nation spots are there for
the taking which will make for tight and fierce competition on the Bay of
Brazil's Robert Scheidt heads to Santander as the defending champion having
taken his ninth Laser world title at the 2013 class World Championship in Al
Mussanah, Oman. Since returning to the Laser in March 2013 Scheidt has picked
up where he left off, racing at the front of the pack.
Throughout the 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup series Scheidt has
continually been at the top of the leaderboard with silver in Miami, a ninth
in Mallorca and a fourth in Hyeres to his name. With a tenth Laser world
title in sight the Brazilian is excited to head onto the Santander race
track, "It's going to
be a huge regatta and I've never sailed there but I've heard it's very
challenging with different courses with different conditions so I'm really
looking forward to it.
"We know it's not
going to be easy. The Laser is a very tough and demanding boat and there are
a lot of good guys at the moment pushing very hard. I think I'll have my chances
so I'll go there and play the game.”
For the Brazilian sailors across the ten Olympic fleets the pressure to
qualify for Rio 2016 is off with the host nation automatically receiving one
spot in each event. For the Brazilian Laser sailors, Scheidt, Bruno Fontes
and Alex Veeren it is a weight off their shoulders with all efforts and focus
channelled towards top finishes, "We don't have to make a good result at the worlds but at the end of the
day when you go to a regatta you always go to try and win regardless of the
qualification system. A lot of the good guys already know that they're going
to take a spot and do the best they can,” concluded Scheidt.
Australia's Tom Burton heads into Santander as the man in form and the one to
beat. Burton has amassed three consecutive race victories in highly
competitive fields. He took ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca and Hyeres gold
before winning on Rio 2016 Olympic waters at the first test event, Aquece Rio
International Sailing Regatta 2014 in August.
After a ninth at the last World Championship Burton has his eyes on the prize
in the Spanish city, "Going
into Oman the goal was to win the Worlds and I was pretty disappointed with
how I went and the result there. Santander, definitely, I want to win the
worlds. A few years back I was thinking, 'yeah win the worlds that would be
pretty good', I was young and time is moving on so it's now time to start
Burton has five World Championship appearances under his belt, building up
knowledge and experience and he knows that in the competitive field anyone,
on their day, can strike gold, "Robert
will always be tough to beat at the worlds. For myself the worlds is a step
up and only happens once a year so it's tough to get the experience of that
atmosphere but Robert's been there so many times, won it so many times it's
probably a little bit more chilled for him.
(CRO)] been the most on form this season and I think he's got his Olympic
trials there so he's putting in a bit more effort into it. The usual guys
will be up there. Tonci, Robert, Rutger [Van Schaardenburg (NED)] and the
Kiwis but it depends who's on form throughout the week. Anyone in the top 20
in the world could be really having a good week and be at the front.”
All of the world's top 25 sailors in the Laser will sail in Santander with
World #1 Stipanovic, World #2 Nick Thompson (GBR) and World #3 Pavlos
Kontides (CYP) coming in with good form and aiming to take gold.
Competition in the 120 boat Laser Radial fleet will be fierce with any sailor
who brings their A-game capable of taking gold.
Throughout the 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup series there were separate
winners' at all five regattas. Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) took gold on her home
waters in Qingdao, Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) claimed the Melbourne honours,
Paige Railey (USA) defended her Miami title, Marit Bouwmeester (NED)
dominated the Mallorca field and Evi Van Acker (BEL) stormed to Hyeres gold.
All will be in contention in Santander but several other contenders will be
full to the brim with confidence and optimism ahead of racing.
Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom has consistently been at the front of the pack in
the Laser Radial over the last 12 months yet lacked a major title. Her
breakthrough came at the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta 2014, the
Rio 2016 Test Event, where she took gold in a world class field.
With Rio gold behind her Rindom is full of positivity going into Santander, "It's good to win before the
World's next month,” said the Dane after racing in Rio, "It's a good signal that you
can sail at the Olympic venue.
"Top ten in Santander
will be really good because then we will have funding for next year and
that's the most important thing. Also it is important to get a national place
for the Olympics, that will be really good but I'm also going for a medal now
I know I can do it. I am looking forward to it.”
At the Rio Test Event the Radial fleet were pushed to the max with big waves
and plenty of breeze on the race courses outside of Guanabara Bay. The
conditions were not too dissimilar to those expected on the race courses in
Santander with the Bay of Biscay famous for big swell.
Ireland's Annalise Murphy thrived in the big conditions in Rio and goes into
the ISAF Worlds eager, "I
was in Santander training just before I came here [Rio Test Event] and it's a
really nice place to sail. Again there's really big waves so maybe being here
will help a little bit.
"I want to go and
have a good event and qualify the country for the Olympics and try and race
well. I'm looking forward to it, it's a big world championship and it's my
goal of the year and I can't wait.
"If I can sail well
and race well I want to try and be at the top of the fleet and kind of see
how it goes. I've been pretty up and down this year but I'm going to try and
do the simple stuff right and hopefully the results will come. It's going to
be a really good event and really competitive.”
Croatia's Tina Mihelic won gold at the 2013 Laser Radial World Championship
in Rizhao, China and will aim to defend her title in Santander. Further
contenders for the podium positions will be 2014 European Champion Svenja
Weger (GER), Alison Young (GBR) and World #6 Tuula Tenkanen (FIN).
The Laser and Laser Radial fleets will be the first to commence racing in
Santander and will take to the water on Friday 12 September for two races.
The Qualification Series will conclude on 13 September with four races
deciding the gold, silver and bronze fleets.
Final series racing will start on 14 September with 15 September a reserve
day. Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 will see the Medal Race places decided
before the finale on Thursday 18 September where the medallists will be
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