Dutch Olympic Grade 1 event is now known as the Delta Lloyd Regatta
The only Dutch Olympic Grade 1 event has changed its name into Delta Lloyd Regatta that will take place from 21 to 25 on the Ijsselmeer at Medemblik. About 490 boats have entered so far. Since it is an Olympic year, most of the competitors have already qualified for Beijing, which leads to a very high profile fleet.
The first two Medal Races are to be sailed on Saturday 24 May. The top ten of the remaining classes will battle it out on Sunday 25 May.
The level of competition is expected to be extremely high, as everybody is at full strength. The 2006 and 2008 World Champions 470 men, Nic Asher and Elliot Willis from the UK, will be present. They will meet the Australian World Champions 2004-05 and 2007, Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page. The Dutch brothers Coster know their home water very well and will push hard for a podium finish. The 2005, 2006 and 2007 World Champions Marcelien de Koning and Lobke Berkhout (NED) are highly motivated to win the 470 women class.
The 49er class is also strongly represented on the IJsselmeer. The Gold medallists from Athens and current European Champions, Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez from Spain, will compete against all the medallists from the 2008 Worlds. Including the winners Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin from Australia.
Although Ben Ainslie (GBR) has not entered yet, the Finn fleet is at strength as well with Jonas Christensen (DEN, silver at the 2008 Worlds), last year’s winner Dan Slater (NZL, bronze at the 2008 Worlds) and Pieter-Jan Postma from the Netherlands (silver at the 2007 Worlds).
Laser World Champion and last year’s winner Tom Slingsby from Australia will line up for another battle against the top of the world. Michael Leigh from Canada will be eager to continue his success after his winning series in Hyeres. The women in the Laser Radial will experience a tough competition with top sailors as current World Champion Sarah Steyaert (FRA), winner of the pre-Olympics Anna Tunncliffe (USA) and last year’s number one and double European Champion Evi van Acker (BEL).
This year’s Delta Lloyd Regatta is a qualification event for Dutchmen Dorian van Rijsselberge and Casper Bouman, who are both in the process of selecting themselves for Beijing. RS:X World Champion Tom Ashley will be one of their competitors. Barbara Kendall (NZL), who already won all Olympic colours, will be favourite in the RS:X women fleet.
Star Champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson can expect strong competition from 2008 World Champions Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL), runners up Diego Negri and Luigi Viali (ITA) and 2007 World Champions Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA).
Six fold Tornado World Champion Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby (AUS, two world titles) seem to be unbeatable. After a successful winter Down Under, they started their European season with another victory in Hyeres. But 2005 and 2007 World Champions Fernando Echavarri and Anton Paz (ESP) will try to stop them in Medemblik. And so will Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis (NED) on their home water.
The selection of three Dutch crew members for the Olympic national Yngling team in Beijing, is coming to an end. The potential Olympians will line up against the 2007 and 2008 World Champions Ayton/Wilson/Webb from the UK.
Event website - http://www.deltalloydregatta.org