The first international sailors have arrived in Fremantle to train on local waters ahead of the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships.
Four Japanese sailors competing in 470 class events arrived in Perth last week and since 23 September have been training in a variety of conditions off their base at the Fremantle Sailing Club.
Skipper Ai Kondo
and her crew Wakako Tabata
will start the women's 470 event in Perth on a high after winning the gold medal from 22 boats at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, Olympic Test Event, at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy in August. The pair also won their class at the Asian Games in China last year.
Also training off Fremantle are Japanese men's 470 crew of Ryunosuke Harada
(skipper) and Yuugo Yoshida
Both crews are practising under the keen eye of Japan's head sailing coach, Kazunori Komatsu
who sailed in four Olympic Games in Solings and 470s. He last visited Fremantle in 1997 when he took part in that year's Whitbread Round The World yacht race.
"The World Championships are important for all our crews because it's both a contest for selection for Japan's Olympic team and for the World Championship itself,"
said Komatsu. "We hope Ai Kondo will win a championship gold medal as she already has won silver."
Twelve hundred of the world's top Olympic class sailors and 850 boats from 80 nations will contest the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships between 3 -18 December 2011.
The two Japanese crews will train off Fremantle until returning to Japan on 8 October to compete in a local regatta and then take part in Sail Melbourne
, the first regatta on the ISAF Sailing World Cup Series, in November.
The 470 athletes will put their boats on the train to cross the Nullabor to Melbourne - a 7,000 kilometre round journey. Many other international sailors arriving in Perth over the next two months will also be travelling to Melbourne for final top-class competition ahead of The Worlds.
Japanese sailors will compete in five world title events at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing Worlds.