Established in 1990 as the only ISAF Sailing World Cup event in the U.S. for Olympic and Paralympic classes, the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta kicks off tomorrow. Rolex Miami OCR is the second of seven ISAF World Cup regattas and features elite-level competition in the classes selected for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. At the close of registration, 532 sailors representing 44 countries were registered. Canada is at the top of the list with 86 sailors registered right behind the host country USA with 140 sailors in attendance.
All eyes will be on the Laser & Radial event as it represents the last stage of Canadian Olympic qualification for these classes. Points are carried over from the 2011 ISAF World Championships to combine with Miami OCR results. David Wright and Chris Dold, both from RCYC, are in tight battle this week with only 3 points seperated them. In the Radial class, Isabella Bertold (RVYC) currently leads the way followed closely by Danielle Dube (4 points behind), Claire Merry (RCYC), 9pts, Ingrid Merry (RCYC), 15pts, and 2008 Olympian Lisa Ross (RNSYS), 16 points behind.
In the Star class, the Clarke/Bjorn duo are back at it, just recently qualifying themselves for the 2012 Olympic Games, sailing for podium position against World Champions Sheidt/Prada (BRA). Richard & Tyler placed third at last years OCR and will looking to revisit the podium again this year.
The Canadian Finns are in full force here in Miami, with Greg Douglas (RCYC), Martin Robitaille (RCYC) and Brendan Wilton getting ready for action.
In the RSX M, Canadian Dave Hayes will be raising his game after just missing the gold fleet at the 2011 OCR, placing 11th overall. Dominique Vallee is representing Canada in the RSX W.
The 49er Canadian fleet is quite deep with a total of 8 teams represented in Miami. Top 49er team, Cook/Lowden are looking to seperate themselves from the pack and hit the podium after a miss last year, placing fourth overall. Also, watch for CST sailors Ladha/Inkpen (RNYC) & Gooderham/Hogan (RCYC).
There are two Canadian Match Racing teams testing the waters, Ferris-Choat/Kaars Sijpesteijn/Prokop and Gordon/Taylor/Belanger. The match racing Canadian Olympic qualification is to follow Miami OCR one week later.
470 team Mike Leigh/Luke Ramsay (RVYC) are hoping to work their way up the ranks at this event as it brings them one step closer to the 2012 470 World Championships, the last chance qualifier for the Olympics. CST sailors Archibald/Dexter (RNSYS) will represent Canada at OCR in the women's 470.
Bronze medallist at the recent 2012 IFDS Worlds, Paul Tingley (RNSYS) is hoping his experience sailing in Miami conditions will lead him to a repeat in podium performance. He just missed the podium at the 2011 Miami OCR in fourth. John McRoberts and Stacie Louttit (RVicYC) are sailing in the SKUD class and Sonar team Millar/Campbell/Lutes (RVicYC/Sask) are the only Canadian reps in the 10 boat fleet.
CYA High Performance Director, Ken Dool adds that in addition to Olympic selection for Laser/Radial classes, 'this event provides a final opportunity for all of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic classes to gain Canadian Sailing Team status, as the final team positions will be selected based on the outcome of this event.'
Canadian meteorologist, Eric Holden is predicting light winds for the start of the event but the sailors are ready to go!
Updates will be posted on the Canadian Sailing Team https://www.facebook.com/pages/Canadian-Sailing-Teaméquipe-canadienne-de-voile/196992790349209!FACEBOOK_page.
Results can be found at http://rmocr.ussailing.org/