The quality of racing in both the men’s and women’s Olympic skiff events at 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland is guaranteed to be world class with both fleets featuring not only both reigning world champions but the also men’s silver medallists from the 2013 Worlds, and female 49erFX crews from the Netherlands, Japan and Australia.
Hot young kiwi skiff-sailing talents Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech, who won the inaugural world title in the class last September in France, have enticed Dutch 49erFX helm Annemeik Bekkering to the southern hemisphere along with two compatriots Claire Blom and Annette Deutz who will likely sail on alternate days with Bekkering.
Bekkering and Blom placed fifth at 2013’s most significant regattas; the 49erFX European and World Championships and are anticipated to provide the locals with some stiff competition. Australia’s Haylee Outteridge and Ella Clark are also coming to Auckland fresh from a medal winning performance at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne Regatta in December 2013.
A Japanese 49erFX entry further highlights the growing international participation at the regatta. Chika Hatae and Noriko Okuma who placed 13th in the silver fleet at the 2013 49erFX World Championships are also coming to Auckland for the event.
Having the top international crews in town for 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland is exciting for not only Maloney and Meech, but also for the other New Zealand crews competing.
Maloney says; 'The opportunities to race at home in New Zealand against quality international sailors don’t come along to often. To have the visiting sailors choosing to come down to Oceanbridge Sail Auckland takes it up a notch for the kiwis, and Molly and I are really looking forward to going racing on February 1st.'
Headlining the men’s 49er skiff are Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, Olympic silver medallists and reigning world champions in the class. Yet despite their formidable talent Burling and Tuke have another kiwi crew hot on their heels, and they’ve managed to dodge the spotlight while securing impressive international results.
Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski earned themselves selection to the NZL Sailing Team with a sixth place world championship finish back in 2012 both just 19 years old at the time. At last year’s Worlds they secured the 49er World Championship silver medal, and the young guns would no doubt enjoy taking a victory from their senior training partners and NZL Sailing team-mates.
Peter Burling says; 'With Marcus and Josh in the fleet regattas like the National Champs and Oceanbridge Sail Auckland are no easy win for Blair and I. They’re young, they’re hungry and they go out there with nothing to lose – they definitely keep us on our toes, which is awesome.'
He continues; 'Oceanbridge Sail Auckland is a great regatta. With so many of our major international regattas in the northern hemisphere we really like being able to race here at home, and in front of friends, family and the New Zealand public.'
About 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland
Oceanbridge Sail Auckland 2014 will take place at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club from the first – 4th February 2014.
The NZL Sailing Team are anticipated to feature strongly in what is the biggest Olympic and Paralympic class regatta in New Zealand, and alongside them will be New Zealand’s top developing youth sailors and keen competitors in a range of invited classes such as the OK Dinghy and A-Class catamaran.
All Olympic and Paralympic class boats are invited to take part: The Laser, Laser Radial, Finn, 470 Men, 470 Women, 49er, 49er FX, RS:X 8.5, RS:X 9.5, Nacra 17, Skud 18, 2.4mR and also other classes are encouraged: the OK Dinghy, 29er, 420, Liberty, Hansa 303, Kiteboards, F18 and A Class Catamaran.
Over four days of racing 11-15 races will take place for each fleet, and the format for all classes will be fleet racing with no medal race. All racing will take place in the Waitemata Harbour, in the surrounds of Rangitoto Island, North Head, Mechanics Bay and Browns Island.
Oceanbridge Sail Auckland is made possible only thanks to the contributions from principle sponsor Oceanbridge, and supporters: Sport New Zealand, Yachting New Zealand, Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Danske Mobler, The Landing and Orakei Marina. Equally important is a team of more than 50 volunteers that are behind the success of this regatta every year.
by Jodie bakewell-White
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9:35 AM Thu 23 Jan 2014GMT
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