With the second leg of the premier ISAF Sailing World Cup only days away, world champion sailors are arriving in Melbourne to prepare for the regatta, beginning on Sunday December 1 at Sandringham Yacht Club.
Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan
Currently 579 competitors from 23 different countries around the world, including China, New Zealand, Croatia and the Netherlands will battle it out on Port Phillip over the course of a week. The racing begins on Monday following Sunday’s official flag raising and welcoming ceremony.
The Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon. Hugh Delahunty MP said, 'The ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne is a fantastic event for Victoria, with hundreds of international competitors showing just how highly regarded our sporting events are globally.
'The Victorian Government is proud to support the event and we are excited to see Melbourne’s international reputation as a sporting capital cemented as we head into our summer of sailing.'
Australian Olympic gold medallist and 2013 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Mathew Belcher and crewmate Will Ryan are preparing to go up against 2009 470 Men’s World Champion team Šime Fantela and Igor Marenic from Croatia, who also came out on top at the last three European Championships.
Mathew Belcher said, 'We’re really looking forward to competing on home waters at this year’s Cup against some of the best in the sport. We hope to finish off a perfect year with a win.'
Current World Number One sailor in the Laser class, Australian Tom Burton, won gold and silver at other World Cup events earlier this year and will be back to defend his 2012 title, while London Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen will also return in the 49er class after a successful year of America’s Cup competition.
Olympic rower Sarah Cook will join forces with up-and-coming sailor Carrie Smith in the Women’s 470, and London Olympic silver medallist Nina Curtis will hit the water in the Nacra 17s, with Olympic sailor Krystal Weir in the Laser Radial and gold medal Paralympian Liesl Tesch in the Skud18.
Bruce Griffiths, Chairman of Sail Melbourne said, 'The ISAF Sailing World Cup is Australia’s premier Olympic class sailing event and this year is sure to impress, with Australia’s gold medallists, number ones and young up-and-comers in the Invited Classes all ready to rule the waves.'