by Jo Grindley
Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta is being held from 4th to 9th June 2012. Newly crowned Star World Champions Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada with be racing against the 1988 Star class Olympic gold medallist Mike McIntyre at this year’s event.
Star class fleet, day 5 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2011
The pull of racing in Weymouth and Portland in the Star class was just too much, that McIntyre is set to return to the Olympic sailing arena to compete, once again, in the Star class. His previous gold medal winning partner Bryn Vaile has been replaced by James Grant from Emsworth, Hampshire for the one-off event.
McIntyre explained his reasons for his unexpected return. 'It’s largely nostalgia that has led me to race at this time. I have watched my daughter compete in the 470 at Skandia Sail for Gold over the last couple of years and thought I should be out there myself. This is the last chance I will get to race a Star in an open regatta in the UK so we are going to enjoy every aspect of the event. I have only notched up about 30 minutes in a Star since 1988 and the first race next month will only be my 28th in total, including the seven from Games in Seoul in this class.'
McIntyre and Vaile’s preparations for the 1988 Seoul Olympics were quite different preparations of today’s generation who are preparing for this summer’s Olympics, 'We’d only been campaigning together for 10 months (ahead of the Seoul Olympics) and I’d never sailed a Star previous to that. We were also both working full time and only got to sail every weekend. But we achieved so much in those two days because we had to stay so focussed on what we wanted to get out of each session. It was only when the sailing journalist Stuart Alexander started shouting at us 'Gold! Gold! Gold' from the press boat we knew we’d done it.' Mike commented.
Stuart Alexander recalls that he was the only press guy on the boat, alongside Russian coach and multiple Olympic medallist Valentin Mankin. 'We were on a Korean Naval vessel, the fleet were fairly scattered as Mike secured his win. My overriding memory is of Mark Reynolds saying 'Goddamit – bet he never sails a Star again!'.'
2012 marks the seventh edition of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta and the final chance for sailors from all over the world to test themselves on the Olympic waters ahead of this summers Olympic Games. The inaugural event was held in 2006 when 264 boats from 22 nations competed in 13 classes. In 2011 the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta welcomed a record entry of over 1000 sailors. The closing date for 2012 entries is 21st May.
This regatta is the penultimate event in the 2011 – 2012 ISAF World Cup, the annual series of the events for the Olympic and Paralympic classes and will see Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, the official London 2012 Olympic sailing venue, put through its paces ahead of the Games in just two months’ time.
For all 10 of the the Olympic classes bar Women’s Match Racing, making its Olympic debut at London 2012, this year’s Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta comprises a five-day opening series (Monday – Friday) followed by a double point medal race for the top 10 in each class (Saturday). Competitors in the Paralympic classes will have 5 days of fleet racing and no medal race. Medals will be awarded to all Paralympic and Olympic classes after racing on Saturday 9th June.
Star class fleet, day 2 2011 - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2012
Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta website