Sailing World Cup about to launch off St Kilda
Colin Cheng at 2014 World Cup
Melbourne is the first stop of
the 2016 Sailing World Cup series and close to 1,000 competitors from around
the world are in the final hours before launching off the historic seaside
suburb of St Kilda tomorrow, Wednesday December 9, 2015 for the opening bout
of the Olympic, Paralympic and invited class racing.
Tonight the Victorian sailing community, international delegates, three
London 2012 sailing gold medallists and other high profile sports stars are
gathering for the World Cup's official opening event and by midday tomorrow
the quest for greatness will be underway.
To put sailing front and centre, the seventh edition of the event moved from
Sandringham to the specially created St Kilda sailing precinct of the Royal
Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS), St Kilda Baths, St Kilda Beach and Catani
There's historical significance attached to RMYS which played host to the
Summer Olympic Games in 1956 and where Australia won its first two medals in
Olympic sailing. John Scott and Rolland Tasker claimed silver in the 12 metre
class, while the team of Doug Buxton, Devereaux Mytton and Alex 'Jock'
Sturrock won bronze in the 5.5 metre class. Of the five sailing classes at
the '56 games, only one, the Finn class, is still an Olympic class.
As well as the wonderful fusion of the sailing and entertainment precincts,
St Kilda offers a huge variety of restaurants, cafes and shops plus sailors
have access to local attractions Luna Park, the recently developed skate park
Olympic class names to
watch out for
Competition begins tomorrow for the following; 470 Men, 49er Men, Finn Men,
Laser Men, 470 Women, 49erFX Women, Laser Radial Women, RS:X Women, IKA -
Formula Kite Open, 2.4mR, SKUD18 and Sonar.
Eight Olympic classes and three Paralympic classes totalling 180 sailors will
vie for top ten selection for Sunday's Medal Races when a huge summer crowd
is expected to line St Kilda Pier and other viewing locations enjoying the
expert commentary or live streaming of vision at the stage next to RMYS.
For international followers, racing can be watched in 2D and 3D through the
series here http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php
International names to watch out for in the coming days include; Tatiana
Drozdovskaya (BLR) in the Laser Radial, Laser sailor Giovanni Coccoluto
(ITA), Stefano Marcio (RSA), that country's Laser class qualifier to Rio 2016
and Lee Parkhill (CAN) who finished fifth in the Laser at the Olympic test
event in August and won bronze at the Pan American games Toronto in July.
London Olympian Colin Cheng from Singapore and Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy (MAS)
are two more hoping to feature in the Medal Races on Sunday.
In the Paralympic fleets, France's Damien Seguin won gold in the 2.4mR class
at last week's Para World Sailing Championship. The Athens 2004 gold
medallist finished ahead of another World Cup name to watch, Great Britain
and London gold medallist Helena Lucas.
Aussie Paralympic gold medallists and 2015 Para World Sailing champions Dan
Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch have had the British team of Alexandra Rickham and
Nicky Birrell on the ropes ever since they relegated the British sailors to
bronze place in London in the SKUD18. The ding-dong between three-up Sonar
British team of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas and
Australians Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russel Boaden is expected to
continue at the World Cup.
The Sailing World Cup Melbourne is also the Oceanic qualifier for the Rio
2016 Olympic Games.
Australians to watch
Last Friday six sailors were selected for Rio 2016 and at the Sailing World
Cup Olympic hopefuls still vying for selection to the Australian Sailing
Team's Olympic squad are competing. Australian Sailing's Ashley Stoddart
(QLD), Joanna Sterling (QLD), Carrie Smith (WA), Jaime Ryan (QLD) just
recently secured country qualification at their class world championships in
the Laser Radial, Women's RS:X and Women's 470, respectively.
As event ambassador and Rio hopeful in the Finn class Oli Tweddell says, "It's a pretty cool move
having the World Cup at St Kilda, there's great exposure for the sport and
lots to do from an international sailors point of view.” On his
own campaign between tomorrow and the gold medal round on Sunday Tweddell
adds, "It's always
great having a World Cup on home waters and I'm happy to support the
event. This regatta I'll be targeting a few key areas where I made some
mistakes at the Finn World Championship in New Zealand a fortnight ago. I'll
be trying to eradicate those from my game.”
Irish, Canadian and United States teams have travelled the furthest to one of
Melbourne's signature sporting calendar events. Canadian Laser sailor Evert
McLaughlin goes into tomorrow's first race with extra zest having beaten the
international fleet in the Laser Warm Up regatta that finished yesterday.
Pre-regatta confidence for Kiwi 470 sailors Sam Barnett and Zak Merton was
boosted when the pair scored a win in the 470 Australian Championship that
also wrapped up on Port Phillip yesterday in funky winds.
Forecast winds for day one of racing on Port Phillip tomorrow, Wednesday
December 9, are variable 10 knots becoming west to north-west 15 - 20 knots
early in the morning then turning south-westerly in the middle of the day.
South to south-westerly 10-15 are likely for Thursday December.
Racing will take place from 12:00 local time until around 17:00 and ashore
the public is invited to mingle with the athletes before and after racing,
enjoy the restaurants and bars at the Baths, try kiteboarding, stand up
paddle boarding and Discover Sailing on the weekend.
Thursday sees the invited classes schedule commence for the following; 420;
2.4mR (Open); 29er; Optimist; Laser 4.7; Laser Radial; Minnow; Open Bic;
Skud 18 Fleet at the Para World