These are great days for fans of Grand Prix buoy racing. The salt spray has barely dried on Key West Race Week, and this coming week marks the start of both the Melges 24 Worlds (January 27-February 2), which are being held in Geelong, Australia, as well as the start of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami (January 27-February 1).
Festival of Sails - Festival of Sails 2014
According to reports, sailors used last week’s Australian Open National Melges 24 Championships as a tune-up event to this week’s fully international event, but that certainly didn’t stop the Aussie Open from providing plenty of great racecourse action. American sailing legend Harry Melges sailed an impressive Aussie Opens, earning the top step on the podium.
'For us the venue is awesome, we love shifty conditions and lake-style sailing on flat water,' said Melges. 'We are pretty used to it, and comfortable. Every day we learnt more about how the wind acts and every day was very different which made it so interesting.'
As for the Melges 24 Worlds, Melges himself is realistic about the level of competition, especially given the names of the skippers and the teams that have entered this celebrated regatta. 'The worlds will be really tough; it will be a whole new regatta,' said Melges.
Inside, get the full post-racing report from the Australian Open National Melges 24 Championships, and stay tuned to the website for the latest racecourse news, as it becomes known.
Meanwhile, many of the world’s best Olympic class sailors are in Miami this week for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, which promises to offer some of the year’s best stateside One Design action. According to reports, more than 550 sailors from 50 nations are competing in ten Olympic classes and three Paralympic classes.
Olympic Gold medal sailor, Matthew Belcher (AUS) speaks with kids today at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron Sunday Dec 2nd /St Kilda, Victoria as part of the Oceanic Leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup 2012 Sandringham Yacht Club, Victoria AUSTRALIA December 2nd - 8th, 2012 © Sport the library / Jeff Crow
'Miami is a strong event and it shows by all of last year’s world medalists being there,' said Men’s 470 skipper Matthew Belcher (AUS), who was recently named 2013 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. 'For us, this is why we come over, to get good racing. The fleet [will] have a lot of respect for us and we for them. We are really looking forward to racing the other guys and starting 2014 off well.'
Get the full regatta preview reports inside this issue, and stay tuned to both the newsletter and the website this week as the racecourse action unfurls.
Also Florida-related, the top Hobie 16 sailors are starting to gather in Palm Beach, Florida for the upcoming Hobie 16 Worlds (January 31-February 15). According to reports, Hobie Alter Jr. will be racing, as well as several Olympic sailors and plenty of dialed-in Hobie 16 crews, making this an exciting event to follow.
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And speaking of multihulls, word has emerged that 'Gazprom Team Russia' has entered the Extreme Sailing Series. Igor Lisovenko will skipper the team’s Extreme 40 catamaran and Aleksei Kulakov will cover bow duties; a mix of British and Russian sailing talent will tackle the other three positions.
'This is both a challenge and an opportunity for me to become skipper and tactician of such a team, that for the first time will fly the Russian flag in such a highly competitive fleet,' said Lisovenko. 'I wish to prepare and perform well for when we arrive at the Saint Petersburg event in June! But the level of the team members assures me that even the highest expectations are within our potential.'
And finally, be sure to check out the full Key West Race Week media debriefing, don’t miss the post-racing report from the Contender class Worlds, and be sure to catch the latest reports from the Clipper Round the World Race. Enjoy!
May the four winds blow you safely home,