Melbourne is bracing itself to welcome one of the world's most prestigious sailing events, with the first event of the 2009-10 ISAF Sailing World Cup set to start on 14 December.
A host of world champions and Olympic gold medallists from across the globe will descend on Sandringham Yacht Club for 'Sail Melbourne' - event one of the second edition of the ISAF Sailing World Cup
- which runs from 14 to 19 December 2009.
Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Page
and his new 470 partner Mathew Belcher
(AUS), 49er World Champions Nathan Outteridge
and Iain Jensen
(AUS), and Olympic RS:X windsurfer Jessica Crisp
(AUS) are just a sample of the sailing elite taking part on their quest for world glory. The stunning, recently refurbished Sandringham Yacht Club will play host to six days of action.
The 2009-10 edition of the ISAF Sailing World Cup gets underway in Melbourne and then moves to six other venues around the world - the USA, Spain, France, The Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain. At each event competitors vie for valuable standing points which determine the overall ISAF Sailing World Cup champions.
Bruce Griffiths, Chairman of Sail Melbourne, said, "We are all incredibly excited that the ISAF Sailing World Cup is coming to Melbourne. Sandringham will offer an ideal, picturesque backdrop to a week of exciting action involving some of the world's top sailing talent. Our vision is to grow the event over the next three years, with as much happening on-shore as out on the water. Our aim is to promote the benefits of the sailing lifestyle to the wider community as well as providing a riveting show for sailing enthusiasts."
A lavish opening dinner, a glamorous Lady's Day and spectator events for kids and adults will ensure everybody gets a chance to embrace the lifestyle.
Earlier this year, the Victorian Government announced its successful bid to host the Asia Pacific arm of this prestigious event until 2011.
Sports Minister James Merlino said, "Victorians love their sport and they love our major events. We are delighted that yet another sporting event of this calibre is coming to Melbourne. The chance to see it grow over the next three years into a signature event is a wonderful opportunity for Victoria. We're certain that the ISAF Sailing World Cup will become a fixture of our jam-packed sporting calendar and Sandringham will play host to an ever expanding marine carnival."
Gavin Jennings MLC, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, said, "The Victorian Government is delighted to have a strong and ongoing relationship with the sailing community through its partnerships with Parks Victoria, Yachting Victoria and Sail Melbourne. We welcome the opportunity Sail Melbourne provides to showcase Port Phillip on a national and international stage as a vibrant destination for sailing and other recreational and tourism activities."
Sail Melbourne's own sailing legend John Bertrand said, "Australia is one of the most successful countries in the world when it comes to sailing, currently ranked second in the world. We're thrilled to be able to offer such a great platform for our home grown sailors to demonstrate their talents. Watching them contend against some of the highest calibre of international competitors is bound to make for an event not to be missed."
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.