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28 November 2011, 04:09 pm
Sailing World Comes Together At Perth
Marit Bouwmeester
Marit Bouwmeester At The 2010 Perth International Regatta

Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships
Perth, Australia

In just five days' time the sailing world will converge upon Perth, Australia for the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships.
Over 1,100 sailors from 78 nations will compete in the ten Olympic events as they look to claim World Championship glory and qualify their nations for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.

The Women's Match Racing competition will kick the competition off on 3 December before the Men's RS:X, Laser, Women's 470 and 49er round off the competition on 18 December.

During the 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup no Women's Match Race crew stamped their authority on the opposition as six separate winners came out of the six World Cup regattas that featured Women's Match Racing. Nonetheless, ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) took the overall title after finishing on the podium at four World Cup regattas. In fact the American has finished on the podium at 11 of 13 regattas sailed in during 2011 and will be one of the front runners in Perth.

Tunnicliffe said, "We would love to come away with the gold medal. Our goal is to be on the podium in Perth. But what's cool about match racing is that anybody who is sailing well that day can come out on top. Even if you're top in the world and have a bad day you're not going to make. We are looking forward to the intensity of the event and sailing against all the competitors.

"I've sailed Lasers in Perth and absolutely love it. I love the wind, the temperature and they're going to do a fantastic job."

View an interview with the American Match Racer here.

Finland's Silja Lehtinen will be one to watch out for in Perth and proved she has what it takes to win major competitions following her gold medal at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, the Olympic Test event, in August.

The ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship defending champion Lucy Macgregor (GBR) is back to defend the title she claimed at Newport, Rhode Island, USA last year. The World #3 comes into the regatta without the pressure of having to qualify Great Britain for the Olympic Games after she was awarded the quota place in September.

Twenty seven crews have been confirmed, and competition will be fast and fierce with nine of the top ten Women's Match Racers registered. The final champion will be crowned on Friday 16 December.

The Laser Radial, Men's 470, Women's RS:X and Finn will be the first fleets to set sail on Monday 5 December with the Medal Races scheduled for 11 December.

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) have dominated the Laser Radial in recent months with the former comprehensively sealing gold at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta and moving to the World #1 spot. But with over 100 entries in the Laser Radial the opening stages will be crucial.

China's Lijia Xu took the first ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta at Sail Melbourne in her preparations for Perth. The Chinese sailor and World #60 finished ahead of an experienced field that featured World #6 Krystal Weir (AUS), World #7 Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) and Annalise Murphy (IRL). All will sail in Perth to stake their claim for World Championship glory and an Olympic spot.

The Finn class have 77 expected entries from 33 nations, with the strongest and deepest fleet assembled in recent years. In all there are 22 former Olympians, four Olympic medallists and four former world champions.

During the 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup the Finn was dominated by British sailors. At all seven regattas either Giles Scott, Ben Ainslie or Ed Wright topped the podium. In the end it was Ainslie who came out on top, claiming the title by nine points ahead of Wright.

The trio will all be in contention throughout the regatta however the likes of Zach Railey (USA), Rafa Trujillo (ESP), Dan Slater (NZL), Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Ivan Kjlakovic Gaspic (CRO) are all capable of causing an upset and will feature heavily during the regatta.

Sixty seven entries have been confirmed in the Women's RS:X and 19 of the world's top 20 will sail in Perth. Among the entries is 2010 Women's RS:X World Champion, 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion and current World #1 Blanca Manchon (ESP), the experienced Jessica Crisp (AUS) and four time Olympic medallist Alessandra Sensini (ITA). Add in the on form Marina Alabau (ESP), Zofia Klepacka (POL) and Bryony Shaw (GBR) and the scene is set for a gripping competition.

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) have prepared for Perth 2011 in fine fashion. The World #1 470 duo finished second at Sail Melbourne but at the 470 Australian Nationals in Perth they sent out a message to the strong field by blowing all the competition away to win by 17 points.

The Australians took the 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup title ahead of Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) and Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA). The World #2 Greek pair will be worth a watch but the Australians main rivalry could come from the French pair. Leboucher and Garos have had the better of the Australians in 2011 finishing ahead of them in three World Cup regattas and winning the Olympic Test Event. Belcher and Page will want to stamp their authority on the chasing pack by taking the World Championship.

The Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships website will bring you results, tracking, live updates and all the latest news both on and off the water.

More than 25 international and national broadcasters have signed up to take the television coverage of Perth 2011 and viewers will also be able to watch live coverage of all ten Medal Races on the Perth 2011 website as well as daily highlights on www.sailing.org/TV.

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