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11 December 2009, 08:44 am
Melbourne Hosts Start Of ISAF Sailing World Cup Season Two
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Sail Melbourne 2009
Melbourne, Australia

The ISAF Sailing World Cup is set to take to Melbourne's waters starting 14 December, bringing with it a host of World Champions and Olympic gold medallists from across the globe.
The newly built world class Sandringham Yacht Club facilities will play host to the first event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup at Sail Melbourne. The event runs from 14-19 December 2009 and organizers are hoping the occasion will encourage Melburnians to embrace the sailing lifestyle.

Bruce Griffiths, Chairman of Sail Melbourne, said, "We are all thrilled that the ISAF Sailing World Cup is coming to Melbourne. We are looking forward to watching the event grow over the next three years into a sports entertainment platform which will become an exciting fixture of the city's event calendar."

Displays of world class Olympic sailing will be seen on the water, while a thrilling programme of interactive events on shore will give everybody the opportunity to get involved.

The official ISAF Sailing World Cup Dinner will pay tribute to and celebrate the history of Australia's sailing greats, with a panel of guest speakers including Olympians from throughout the years. On the panel will be legendary John Bertrand, who skippered the boat that led Australia to victory in the 1983 America's Cup and took the bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

Ladies who enjoy the finer things in life can soak up the glitz and glamour of the event's official Ladies Day, which is being held in aid of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. There will be a lavish drinks reception, three course lunch, spectacular fashions by Helly Hansen, Natalie Begg, Flamingo Sands and Victor Alexandre and a fantastic draw with an array of amazing prizes to be won.

An elegant 'Lifestyle Party' will allow invited guests to take the day into the night on the idyllic yacht club balcony with a vibrant celebration of sailing, eye-catching fashion shows and the finest beats from Melbourne based DJ talent, all set to a backdrop of a stunning Port Phillip Bay sunset.

Kids will be given the unique opportunity to come face-to-face with some of Australia's Olympic sailing heroes. Youngsters who attend the Olympian Heroes Day for Kids will be treated to inspirational talks from the likes of Victor Kovalenko, head coach of the Australian Sailing Team. There will also be the opportunity to experience a number of marine driven activities including wind surfing, stand up paddle, kayaking and of course sailing.

The Spectator 'Go-Sailing' Day will give adults the chance to chat to Olympians during the final day of competitive finals racing. They will spend the afternoon watching kite surfing demonstrations and trying their hands at water based activities.

Earlier this year, the Victorian Government announced its successful bid to host the Asia Pacific arm of the Cup until 2011. The event gets underway in Melbourne and then moves to six other venues around the world - the USA, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain. In each country, competitors vie for valuable standing points which determine the overall ISAF Sailing World Cup champions.

Sports Minister James Merlino said, "The fact that this event is coming to Melbourne re-affirms our city's status as a host for world class sporting events. We're confident that the ISAF Sailing World Cup will become a highly anticipated and much loved part of Melbourne's sporting calendar."

Mark Stone, Chief Executive of event sponsor Parks Victoria, said, "Port Phillip Bay is an ideal location for Sail Melbourne. The event supports Melbourne as a premier location for world class sailing, and showcases the stunning natural environment of Port Phillip Bay and its marine protected areas."

Councillor James Long, Mayor of the Bayside City Council, said, "This is a fantastic tourism opportunity for Sandringham and Bayside community. The chance to brush shoulders with Olympic athletes is sure to drive people to Port Phillip Bay, where they will experience first hand our spectacular coastal scenery. The crowds will be great news for local traders, and the community aspects of the event will bring people together for what is sure to be a wonderful spectacle."

Find out more about the ISAF Sailing World Cup, including more on the seven events, photos, videos, the latest World Cup Standings and the scoring system at www.sailing.org/worldcup.

Sam Watson
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