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13 January 2006, 10:30 am
History In The Making
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Sail Melbourne 2006
Melbourne, Australia

Tomorrow officials and competitors at the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne in Australia will, for the first time, use the new Olympic Format that will be used at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao. Following races completed today, the top ten placed boats, following one discard, will advance to the Medal Race from which the winners in each event will be decided.
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Competitors will carry their series scores (i.e. total of race scores after discard) through to the Medal Race. Any series tie after the Medal Race will be broken in favour of the boat finishing higher in the Medal Race and double points will be scored for that race. If the Medal Race is not completed, medals will be awarded based on the series score for all the prior races (in the normal way).

Racing for all classes will be conducted on one course at 20 minute intervals. Twelve on water umpires split into two teams will be there to handle any protest situations. Chief Umpire, Joe BUTTERFIELD (the 13th man), will be on the race course to immediately handle any requests for redress.

'It is umpired fleet racing as per ISAF Appendix Q,' said Principal Race Officer, Kevin WILSON, explaining, 'If a competitor fails to ask for a decision under Appendix Q, the umpires will not take action.'

He went on to say, 'Sail Melbourne is testing the new format on behalf of ISAF. Race Officers and jury will then give feedback to be passed onto ISAF, including any issues and management of the twelve required umpires.'

Those competitors who did not make the top ten, visitors to Melbourne and the general public will be able to view history taking place, as the course will be set just off the host venue, Sandringham Yacht Club in full sight of all. The public can either take to the water, or go to the breakwater, or the car park, just above the club for a birds eye view of the action.

Although the 2.4 Metre are a Paralympic class, rather than an Olympic one, they have requested to be part of the new format and will race as well.

WILSON will oversee proceedings, whilst his brother Ross is the Chief Race Officer, who will take charge of on the water proceedings.

At a logistics meeting tomorrow morning, each competitor will be furnished with a protest flag, not something they would normally carry, so that should they wish to protest, the flag will be used to alert umpires who will make an immediate decision.

'It will be like watching match racing, except there will be ten boats instead of two,' Kevin WILSON said. 'Most competitors are looking forward to seeing what happens,' said South Australian coach Brendan TODD. 'They are quite excited about trying it and about being the first to trial it,' he added.

Ross WILSON commented, 'I am confident things will run smoothly and keep on schedule, given there will be only one course to manage.'

BUTTERFIELD finished by saying, 'We umpires are nervous but confident.'

Medal winners in each class will be known immediately at the completion of racing. However, rather than present medals onshore (as it will be at the Olympics), medals will be given at a prizegiving ceremony that evening at Sandringham Yacht Club.

Following is the order of racing:

  • 2.4mR first off - 1140 hours local time
  • 49er - 1200
  • Yngling - 1220
  • Tornado - 1240
  • Laser Radial - 100
  • Laser - 120
  • Finn - 140
  • 470 Men - 200
  • 470 Women - 220
  • RS:X Women - 240
  • RS:X Men - 300

Umpires are:

Team A

  • Bill BELL
  • Geoff SEARLE
  • Paul WITHERS
  • Peter MERRITT
  • Rob WARE
  • Paul PASCOE

Team B

  • Bill O'HARA
  • Paddy OLIVER
  • Peter SCHEUERL

For all the news on Sail Melbourne CLICK HERE.

Di PEARSON (As Amended by ISAF). Image, All eyes will be on Sail Melbourne tomorrow as the new Olympic Format decides the winners for 2006:© Jeff CROW, Sport the Library at Sail Melbourne
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