The ISAF Grade 2 Sail Auckland, is about to get underway on Thursday on Waitemata Harbour. The regatta is open to all the Olympic classes, plus invited classes; Optimist, P Class, Starling, 29er, 420, Laser Radial, Hobie 16 and Splash.
Auckland, a city of 1.2 million people is known as the City of Sails due to the large number of yachts that sail on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. February is normally the best month of the year in Auckland with average temperatures of 18 to 20 Celsius with predominately northerly breezes averaging 5 to 15 knots.
New Zealand's top sailors have just finished competing in their Olympic trials and many will be back this week to hone their skills in the endless quest for sailing perfection.
The Europe sailors, including Sarah MACKY, selected to represent New Zealand at the Olympic Games in Athens, have jumped ship into the Laser Radial in preparation for the Laser Radial worlds in Brisbane in April.
New Zealand's Laser Radial sailors can be rated among the best in the world. They have placed consistently at the top for a number of years in the ISAF Youth Worlds as well as the Laser Radial Open and Youth Worlds. Medallists include Sarah MACKY, Sara WINTHER, Kate O'BRIEN and Miranda POWRIE. Krystal WEIR from Australia, the current runner up from the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Portugal will also be joining this strong fleet. Michael BULLOT made sailing history when he was the first sailor to place first in the open and youth events in the same year, Jake BARTROM placed second in the Open World Championship last year and Blair MCLAY finished sixth in the youths. We also should not forget master Mark ORAMS. We can be sure the fleet will be extremely competitive.
In the Laser fleet, Hamish PEPPER, current New Zealand champion and winner of the Olympic trials will compete against a number of entries, including second placed laser Andrew MURDOCH.
The Mistral fleet will also have some top sailors. These include Barbara KENDALL, holder of a rainbow of Olympic medals, J.P. TOBIN, ranked number one in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Thomas ASHLEY, Olympic nominee for the and fresh from Sail Melbourne. There are also a number of international sailors, Olga MASLIVETS (UKR), Allison SHREEVE (AUS), Sigrid RONDELEZ (BEL), Ilona GRINBERGA (LAT), Max OBEREMKO (UKR).
The competition in the 420 and Splash fleets will be strong. The 420 fleet are sailing for the honour of being National Champions and will include Australians, Jemma HENDERSON and Bettina NEATE who placed seventh at the recent 420 World Championship, as well as locals Alastair THOMPSON/Scott ILLINGWORTH and Olivia POWRIE/Sarah BILKEY.
Further details are available on the event website at the address below.