by Tim O'Connor
ISAF Team Racing World Championships is being hosted by the Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre in Schull, Ireland from 28th August to 4th September 2011.
ISAF Team Racing World Championship 2011
The organising committee have confirmed tremendous interest in the event. The prestigious sailing event will be held in the West Cork village for the first time and a warm welcome is assured for the competing teams, supporters and general public.
Under the auspices of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and supported by Cork County Council, Irish Sports Council, West Cork Development Partnership, Failte Ireland and a host of commercial, private and local sponsors, the event has already attracted the interests of the top sailing teams in the world. To date, teams have entered from Japan, Australia, Thailand, United States, Italy, Great Britain, Spain and Ireland, 22 teams in all, to compete in Open and Junior categories during the week of sailing. Six team members comprise each team and racing will take place close to the shore of Schull Harbour.
Committee Chairman, Tim O’Connor, outlined the full community involvement in the event through sponsorship, volunteerism and a significant input from the recently formed Schull Community Council. 'A colourful parade of nations, together with a display of vintage cars, while the whole village will be decorated accordingly forms the opening highlight of the event,' he comments. Each of the local businesses have adopted competing countries and will be decorated in the respective national colours he says. This has been co-ordinated by the Community Council and the organisers are extremely grateful for their assistance.
A unique element of team racing is the requirement of the organisers to provide 25 identical sailing dinghies for the competitors and this has proved to be one of the big challenges for the organisers. Centre Manager, David Harte has been delighted with the response of companies and individuals who have generously sponsored the manufacture of boats or part thereof. 'It would not have been possible to do this without the support of such people' he opined.
Other members of the Committee, Denis Quinlan, Kevin Murray and Daniel Cahill are busying themselves with logistics around catering for all competitors and international jury, results during the event – which will be live on-line, safety aspects and the overall efficient running of the event while ensuring everybody who competes or spectates experiences the unique West Cork welcome.
From the competitive aspect of Championships, the reigning champions, USA, will start favourites with the GBR team next in the pecking order while the Australian and Irish teams may have other ideas and a real threat may come from the local youth teams in that category.
A full programme of entertainment will run throughout the week culminating in a closing function prior to the final races on Sunday 4th to decide World Champions.