ISAF Grade 1 means Sail Auckland will have greater weighting for the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and as a result is expected to attract greater interest from international sailors. Previously rated ISAF Grade 2 the annual event scheduled for 9-12 February in 2007 will now sit more prominently in the down under sailing calendar for Olympic campaigners.
Yachting New Zealand and Sail Auckland are delighted that the application to upgrade the regatta has been successful. Chairman of Sail Auckland, Tom MACKY sees the benefit for New Zealand sailors.
'This is a great accolade for New Zealand yachting,' says MACKY. 'It will provide fantastic competition for our Olympic aspirants both current and future, to compete in a major event at home during the New Zealand summer season.'
Sail Auckland follows two major Australian regattas in the down under circuit for Olympic class sailing. The Sydney International Regatta (SIRs) runs from 16-19 December 2006 and Sail Melbourne between 15-20 January 2007.
'ISAF's according of Grade 1 regatta status to Sail Auckland is a major advance and acknowledgement of Olympic Class sailing in New Zealand,' says Des BRENNAN, Yachting New Zealand's Chief Executive.
'There is now opportunity to really promote Sail Auckland as part of an attractive package of highly competitive regattas, including Sail Melbourne and a range of World Championships scheduled for New Zealand and Australia building towards the 2008 Olympic Games. Both Yachting New Zealand and Yachting Australia are very supportive of this concept.'
Australian sailors must include one overseas ISAF Grade 1 regatta in their calendar in order to feature in domestic rankings and the option to cross the Tasman to meet that requirement is good news for them.
With the successful application Sail Auckland regatta is now required to meet ISAF regulations requiring each competing class to have a fleet size of 15 or more as well as representatives from at least three nations including New Zealand for the Grade 1 weighting to be applied.