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1 February 2006, 10:24 am
Aspiring Olympians Battle In New Zealand
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Sail Auckland 2006
Auckland, New Zealand

Over 350 sailors are expected on Auckland harbour over Waitangi weekend for the annual ISAF Grade 2 Sail Auckland Regatta in New Zealand. The four day regatta starting this Friday 3 February is supported by Ports of Auckland and will host top New Zealand Olympic class sailors, as well as some internationals that have travelled to Auckland for the event.
Regatta organizer Tom MACKY explains, 'Sail Auckland attracts superb international competition for our local Olympic class sailors campaigning for Beijing.'

'This year we will have more than 20 New Zealand sailors competing who have either won medals at the Olympics, in Olympic Class World Championships, or ISAF Youth World Championships. The high standard of our local sailors attracts top international champions to our waters.'

Olympic Squad Sailors Lead The Charge

Four Yachting New Zealand Olympic Squad sailors will be on the water including Andrew MURDOCH and Jo ALEH in the Laser and Laser Radial respectively. Competition is likely to be tough in the Laser fleet with fellow Kiwis Michael BULLOT, David WEAVER and Blair MCLAY challenging MURDOCH for the top spot. Young Australian Laser hot shot Tom SLINGSBY, as well as sailors from Britain and Korea are also in Auckland for the event.

The other YNZ Olympic Squad members taking part are former board sailors Aaron MCINTOSH and Bruce KENDALL, now paired sailing the Tornado catamaran. Sebastion GODFRIOD and Carolijn BROUWER from Belgium are both world champions in single-handed classes and come together to compete in the Tornado at Sail Auckland. The New Zealand Tornado National Championship takes place the following weekend.

Sail Auckland also presents top board sailing competition with New Zealand and international sailors testing their skills on the new Olympic board, the Neil Pryde RS:X. 2004 Olympian Tom ASHLEY (NZL), who came out on top in the fiercely contested the ISAF Grade 3 RS:X New Zealand Championship, which just concluded at Takapuna, is competing this weekend. Recent medallist at Sail Melbourne and Oceanic Champion, Jon-Paul TOBIN is also in the fleet.

ASHLEY and TOBIN are up against two strong Polish board sailors in New Zealand for this summer's regattas, which are amongst the first ISAF Graded events in this new Olympic equipment.

Focus On Youth

Top junior sailors Peter BURLING and Carl EVANS who recently won the individual Starling and P class National Championships respectively have paired up in the double-handed 420. BURLING placed sixth in the 420 World Championships 2005 and has numerous other titles to his name.

Junior Sail Auckland incorporating the Optimist, P Class, Starling and Splash fleets runs over Saturday and Sunday 4-5 February.

Kohimarama Yacht Club will host the event, with three races scheduled daily on Inner Waitemata Harbour from 3-6 February.

Jodie PERKINS (As Amended By ISAF) Image, Aaron MCINTOSH and Bruce KENDALL will lead the Kiwi charge in the Tornado:© Jeff CROW, Sport the Library at Sail Melbourne
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