The annual ISAF Grade 1 event runs over four days, boasting world class fleets in ten divisions, including five Olympic grade classes.
The field is expected to include stars like Gold Medalist Tom Ashley and fellow Olympians Jo Aleh, Andrew Murdoch, and numerous past and present national champions, as well as teams from Malaysia and Japan, and competitors from six other countries.
Of the Olympic classes, the Laser Full Rig class will be one of the most closely watched; the class is one of the most popular boats in the world, and in New Zealand is currently dominated by Andrew Murdoch, fresh from winning the national championship at New Plymouth last month. Andrew will line up against international contestants from Australia, Switzerland, Korea, Malaysia and the Cook Islands, along with 14 other New Zealanders.
The counterpart to the full-rigged Laser class for women is the Radial Rigged Laser. Represented by eleven confirmed entries, including six New Zealanders, four Japanese sailors, and one bearing the GBR colours, the top New Zealand representative is 2007 National Champ Miranda Powrie, who will face 16-year olds Momoko Tada from Japan, and Molly Meech from Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty, and some of the country’s top female dinghy sailors. Notable for her absence in this class is Olympic representative Jo Aleh, who is instead sailing in the fast double-handed 470 class. Jo will face nine other teams, including New Zealand champ Geoff Woolley and entrants from Australia, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
22 confirmed entries have been received in the RS:X men’s boardsailing fleet, in which New Zealand sailor Tom Ashley is reigning Olympic champion is expected to compete, and nine in the women’s, plus youth entries.
The Starling class remains one of the most popular youth classes in New Zealand, and Sail Auckland will, for the first time, incorporate racing for the class’s national championship title, in a special competition sponsored by the Sleepyhead Bedding Company. Entries include sailors from Korea, Noumea and Australia, vying to join the likes of Russell Coutts, Chris Dickson and Simon Cooke as a New Zealand Starling National Champion. The other junior class represented, the Splash dinghy, also sports a strong contingent of entrants.
Racing will start on Thursday 5 February, and concludes on Sunday 8 February, on the waters of the Waitemata Harbour. Land based activities will centre on Kohimarama Yacht Club, and ten races for non-Olympic classes, and eleven for Olympic classes are scheduled. For the Olympic classes the final days racing will be a fleet race followed by one medal race, which carries double points.
New television show: Sailing NZ
Singapore Airlines in association with Sail Auckland have put together ‘Sailing NZ’, a brand new television series running on Sky TV. It’s a must see and will be profiling Singapore Airlines Sail Auckland and many other Sailing events in New Zealand. Check our website for schedules.
A full list of entrants may be viewed on www.sailauckland.org.nz
by Sara Roberts
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11:22 AM Wed 4 Feb 2009 GMT
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