ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne organisers have extended the original on-water program to host a Laser qualifying regatta immediately before the Sailing World Cup, to give those athletes outside the top 30 Laser (male) and Laser radial (female) sailors in the world the chance to compete alongside those directly invited by the governing International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
The Laser qualifier will be run from the St Kilda Sailing Precinct, the same venue as the Sailing World Cup, on Saturday December 5 to Monday December 7, 2015, and will be open to sailors who have prequalified for the World Cup and those looking to earn their spot.
“The ISAF SWC has quotas of a maximum of 40 entries per class and it is very likely that the Laser and Laser Radials will exceed the quota this year, as they both did last year,” said SWC – Melbourne event director Mark Turnbull OAM.
“The number of ISAF SWC – Melbourne spots made available via the qualifying regatta will depend on how many ISAF direct invites are taken up. If all 30 are accepted it will mean that 10 places will be available, likewise if only 10 ISAF invites are taken up, there will be 30 places available through the qualifying regatta.
“The depth of the fleet will be outstanding given it is open to those 30 top Laser sailors in the world already expecting a direct ISAF SWC invite to compete.”
President of the Australian Laser Association and chairman of the International Laser Class Association Asia Pacific region, Ken Hurling, says, “The Sailing World Cup brings the best sailors in the world to Australia. Lasers aren’t the biggest class worldwide but internationally they are very well placed and regularly 117 countries vie to host the annual Laser World Championship.”
The ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne will commence on Wednesday December 9 and run through to December 13 at the St Kilda Sailing Precinct, a purpose built shoreside precinct utilising the St Kilda Baths for administration and hospitality and the nearby Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron for race management and volunteers.
“I’m excited to be campaigning for Rio 2016 in the Laser Radial class,” said the dual Olympian and former ambassador of Melbourne’s Sailing World Cup, Krystal Weir.
The decorated Victorian sailor has travelled the world and rates her local Port Phillip waters, particularly off Sandringham to St Kilda’s east, as the best training venue. “There are no better conditions – big breezes and big waves which make for great sailing! I’m really keen to see the next generation of sailors come through and compete in December,” Weir added.
Competition will play out on multiple course areas on the waters of Port Phillip, off the bayside suburb of St Kilda its historic Pier. The event boasts the use of innovative technology and line of sight viewing, giving the public unique access to watch the Olympic, invited and youth classes battle it out. The festivities on land, including Discover Sailing days and public set podiums, will create opportunities for Melbourne’s residents and visitors to interact with the athletes.
The event is an Oceanic continental qualification regatta and ISAF expects a strong showing from the Pacific nations. “Given the ISAF SWC – Melbourne’s status we’d expect athletes from PNG, Fiji and the Cook Islands coming off the back of this year’s Pacific Games as well as the Emerging Nations Program clinic we held in Fiji,” said Malcolm Page OAM, ISAF’s head of marketing and media and a dual Olympic gold medallist.
For all other ISAF Sailing World Cup classes other than Laser and Laser Radial, there is a two-step entry process to the ISAF SWC – Melbourne.
Round 1 – Entry invitations from ISAF will go out to the top 30 ranked sailors in each class and also to National Member Associations to secure their entry
Round 2 – on September 23, 2015, 72 hours after ISAF rankings are posted based on the results from the Qingdao ISAF SWC event, entries for Melbourne will be open to anyone seeking the remaining spots not taken in round one on a 'first come first served' basis until the quota of 40 is reached.
– Lisa Ratcliff