Denmark is gearing up for a busy summer sailing season at it hosts a series of leading international yachting events as part of the country's 'Year of Sports 2009'.
During 2009 more than 60 major international sports events are taking place all over Denmark, culminating in the IOC Olympic Session and the Olympic Congress at the beginning of October. The World Taekwondo Championships, the UEFA Congress, the World Wrestling Championships and the LEN Congress are also among the many events taking place in Denmark this summer. The Year of Sport is part of a national effort to realize a vision of the Danish Government: to place Denmark firmly as one of Europe's leading hosts of major international sports events and congresses.
On the sailing side, Year of Sport 2009 'Inviting the World of Sports' kicks off with the Finn Gold Cup, the annual World Championship for the Men's One Person Dinghy Heavy Olympic event, over 3-11 July at Vallensbæk Sailing Club to the southwest of Copenhagen, where Patron of the event is H.R.H. Crown Prince Frederik. The line-up for this includes almost all the top names in the class such as past World Champions Spain's Rafa TRUJILLO
(2007) and Denmark's own Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN
(2006) as well as the Beijing Olympic silver medallist, the USA's Zach RAILEY. Also featuring are the present leaders in the ISAF Sailing World Cup
- British sailor Ed WRIGHT
, Croatia's Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC
and third placed TRUJILLO.
Following immediately after is the European Championship for the Women's One Person Dinghy Olympic event, the Laser Radial. This will take place at the Skovshoved Sejlklub in Copenhagen over 9-16 July. At present 106 entries are registered for this event from 32 countries. They include the multiple European Champion from Belgium Evi VAN ACKER
plus Croatia's Tina MIHELIC
and the USA's Paige RAILEY
currently lying second and third respectively in the ISAF Sailing World Cup.
After a short break there is then the EUROSAF Open European and Women's European Match Racing Championships over 5-9 August, to be held at Middelfart Sailing Club. Denmark has a long history in match racing and has produced some exceptional sailors in this discipline such as Jesper BANK
, the triple Soling Olympic medallist and more recently Jes GRAM-HANSEN
and Jesper RADICH
as well as four-time ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion Dorte JENSEN
. The event is sure to attract attention on the women's side with Women's Match Racing recently adopted as the latest Olympic sailing event. This is followed over 9-13 September by the Danish Open Match Racing held over Marselisborg Harbour in Århus, set to be contested by several America's Cup skippers such as Italian Paolo CIAN
and Australian legend, Peter GILMOUR
At the end of August the 470 class, equipment for the Men's and Women's Two Person Dinghy Olympic events, hold their World Championship in Denmark, out of Copenhagen's Rungsted Harbour on 20-29 August. The line-up is set to include Danish hopes Henriette KOCH
and Lene SOMMER
, who secured this year's ISAF Sailing World Cup title following their performance at Kieler Woche. They will have the advantage of sailing in their own waters, KOCH having grown up close to the Rungsted Harbour.
In addition the Contender class are holding their World Championship and the Dragon class their Gold Cup in Denmark. But kicking off this season's action last week was high profile International Moth class, with its European championship in Horsens, Jutland. Sailing with their hulls dramatically lifted out of the water on hydrofoils, the 'foiling' Moths were once a left field phenomenon, but this year's event was hotly contested by 45 foilers, raced by sailors from all across Europe and Scandinavia, with Switzerland's Arnaud PSAROFAGHIS
retaining his title, despite being tied on points with past World Champion Simon PAYNE
"We are very proud to welcome sailors to Denmark, especially this year, because with the International Olympic Committee conference being held in Denmark, this is why we have worked hard to get as many international events to Denmark in order to promote sailing,"
says Dan IBSEN, Secretary General of the Danish Sailing Association. "We have never had so many world and European championships for the Olympic disciplines in Denmark in one single year. So it is a very exciting year for us and we hope everyone will enjoy the racing and have a good summer in Denmark."
IBSEN points out the advantages of holding regattas in Denmark. "We love sailing in Denmark, and sailing has a very high profile among all sports, especially Olympic sailing. We are good and efficient organizers, with strong support from Communities and Sport Event Denmark. We have sheltered waters and we haven't got very much current in most of our waters. There's also normally sufficient wind and wind of different types, so it makes regattas challenging over a week, because you don't have the same weather every day."
To do their utmost to ensure that their events are held to the highest possible standards the Danish Sailing Association is working with the support of the insurance company CODAN (part of Sun Alliance Group), to provide TracTrac tracking during the Finn Gold Cup, Laser Radial Europeans, EUROSAF Match Racing Europeans and 470 World Championship. The Danish Sailing Association has gone to the length of purchasing 150 state of the art GPS tracking devices, allowing races to be followed in real time over the internet.
Last year the TracTrac tracking of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship
in Århus, Denmark was followed by nearly 30,000 viewers from 69 countries all over the world.
The Danish Sailing Association has also contracted the services of Sailing Intelligence, the British-based media services company to provide expert race reporting at these same four key events this year. Sailing Intelligence has previously worked for America's Cup Management, Alinghi, the Volvo Ocean Race, Team ABN AMRO, Rolex, the World Match Racing Tour as well as the 49er and other dinghy classes.
For more information on the Danish Sailing Association visit www.sejlsport.dk