Six teams will gather tomorrow at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia for their practice session for the ISAF Nations Cup 2011 Regional Final Oceania, sailing in the Elliott 6.0m boats.
Three teams representing Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia will compete in the open division, with three teams from Australia, New Zealand and Japan competing in the Women’s division.
Laurie Jury (NZL) and his crew of Logan Fraser and Michael Edmonds are the highest ISAF ranked open team (29). Jury recently finished fourth in the Korea Match Cup qualifier earlier this month and placed first in the New Zealand qualifier in March this year. He has also competed in several European regattas last year.
Evan Walker (AUS) is the highest ranked Australian and second highest ranked for this event (43). Walker qualified for this event after winning the Australian Match Racing Championship in November last year with a mixed crew that included Olivia Price, Amanda Scrivenor and Jack Hubbard.
Walker has stamped himself as one of the nation’s outstanding young match racing helmsmen after this win. He then went on to win the Colin Mullins International Youth Regatta and Warren Jones International Youth Regatta that provide him entry into some of the most high profile international match racing events throughout this year; including the Korea Match Cup where Walker finished third and the Open de Espana where he placed seventh.
Representing New Caledonia, Tugdual Piriou and his team of Remy Desbordes, Josselin Dupont and Alexandre Plantey are the only non ranked team competing in the open division.
Olivia Price (AUS) is the highest ranked women’s skipper currently ranked 61, and will sail with Nina Curtis, Haylee Outteridge and Rayshele Martin for this event. Price is a member of the Australian Women’s Match Racing team in training for the 2012 Olympics, and won the CYCA’s Marinassess Women’s Match Racing regatta with fellow AWMRT team members Nicky Souter, Nina Curtis and Olympian Karyn Gojnich in February this year. Price qualified for this event after finishing second in the Australian Women’s Match Racing Championship to New Zealand’s Stephanie Hazard.
Maiko Sata and her crew of Makiko Matsuishi, Chie Takeuchi and Satsuki Ogawa will represent Japan in the Women’s division. A previous Olympian in 2000 and 2004, Sata is also an accomplished Laser sailor and has been competing recently in open match racing events in Japan
Olivia Powrie and her crew of Miranda Powrie, Jo Aleh and Merran Walbridge will represent New Zealand after qualifying first in the New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Championship in March this year. Powrie is also an accomplished 470 sailor having won the 470 title in Princess Sofia World Cup last month and placing second in the 470 world championships last year.
The winner of each division receives an invitation to Nations Cup Final to be held in Sheboygan, USA in September 2011. The ISAF Nations Cup was first introduced to the world in 1991 as an Open event, with the Women’s division being added in 1993. The Cup is based on a series of Regional Finals with the top crews meeting at the Grand Final.
Following on from earlier editions in 1991, 1993 and 1995, the ISAF Nations Cup was successfully re-launched in 2006 with over 50 nations competing. Eight Regional Finals decided the line up for the Grand Final at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, where France completed a double triumph in the open and women's events with teams led by skippers Mathieu Richard and Claire Leroy. Leroy and Damien Iehl again triumphed for France in the ISAF Nations Cup 2009 held in Brazil.
Racing commences in the ISAF Nations Cup 2011 Regional Final Oceania on Thursday 12 May at 1015hrs with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting west to south westerly wind of 15 to 20 knots decreasing to 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon and will be sailed in the vicinity of Rushcutters Bay. The event will conclude on Saturday 14 May 2011 when the finals will be conducted.
For a list of competing teams click here