Early form this year would indicate a long deserved title win for teams from Israel or the Netherlands is on the cards. Israel's Gideon KLIGER and Ehud GAL in the men have had a great year with top five placing's in all the major events including a win at the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères and a close second in the ISAF Grade C1 470 European Championship in Gdynia, Poland. KLIGER and GAL were also the number one team in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings until relinquishing the top spot to Portugal's Alvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES (POR) at the end of June. Meanwhile Israel's women's team of Nike KORNECKI and Vered BUSKILA have also scored top results all year and also sit just second on the Rankings. KORNECKI and BUSKILA were an unlucky third in the 2004 Worlds and generally sail well in the heavier conditions so San Francisco Bay should be to their liking.
Sailing under the guidance of their Olympic Soling representative father, Sven COSTER and Kalle COSTER (NED) will be hoping to carry on the Dutch tradition of brotherly World Championship Titles. The Netherlands have won four men's 470 World titles in the past and all have been won by teams of brothers; the VAN ESSENS, the VOLLENBREGTS and the famous KOUWENHOVEN brothers Ben and Jan who won two Worlds. The COSTERs love the big winds and are sure to feature heavily in the top places. Dutch women Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT also are great in the breeze and have shown glimpses of blistering speed during the European season. With the disappointment of missing Olympic selection in 2004 the girls have determined looks on their faces.
American hopes lie with Michael ANDERSON-MITTERLING and David HUGHES in the men's competition. ANDERSON-MITTERLING has an impressive eclectic sailing background and with HUGHES came from nowhere to win the famous ISAF Grade 1 Kieler Woche in Germany this year and become only the second USA boat to do so. They joined Athens gold medallists Paul FOERSTER and Kevin BURNHAM in having their names engraved on the Kiel trophy.
Amanda CLARK and Sarah MERGENTHALER are the most experienced of the USA's women, coming in seventh in Kiel. If they can handle the aggressive starts of the Europeans then they should do well in San Francisco.
Austrian women's pair Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER shot out of the gates at the start of the season and VOGL has the experience to guide this team to greatness. They are without doubt one of the teams to watch.
Athens silver medallists Nick ROGERS and Joe GLANFIELD (GBR) only returned to 470 sailing for the Europeans in June after a stint in Big Boats and immediately started out where they had left off, taking bullets in successive heats and just missing out on the open European title at the regatta's last breath. They will be amongst the favourites for 2005 glory along with twelve to 15 other men's teams who can claim to have a realistic shot at the title. Amongst those names past World Champion Gildas PHILIPPE (FRA) stands out as of course do the reigning World Champions Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS), who have put off their diets to be ready from some heavy breeze in San Francisco. The Worlds will see the Australians back in the 470 in their first ISAF Graded event since finishing a disappointing 12th in Athens, and their rivals will be looking closely to expose any signs of rustiness.
Therese TORGERSSON and
Women's number one team in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and now European Champions Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadège DOUROUX (FRA) enter the regatta as women's favorites after a blistering 2005 season which has seen them win in Hyères and at the ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta in Medemblik before taking the European crown. However Sweden's defending World Champions and 2004 Olympic bronze medallists Therese TORGERSSON and Vendela ZACHRISSON (SWE) are good in the breeze and will favour the conditions on San Francisco Bay.
Canada's Olympic Representative Jen PROVAN and new crew Carol LUTTMER have been spending excellent training time on the water and should have a good local knowledge ahead of the international fleet.
All the women's teams will have to contend with the multiple Spanish Champion and Olympic silver medallist Natalia VIA-DUFRESNE and crew Laia TUTZO, who are fresh from winning the Mediterranean Games on their home waters.
The ten boat Japanese team includes Athens bronze medalist Seki KAZUTO and is coached by experienced mentor Aiko SAITO. With a large team at the Worlds, Japan is putting the right foot forward to increase their Olympic haul of 470 class silver and bronze medals.
Argentina's Javier CONTE and Juan DE LA FUENTE lead the six boat South American push with the pair in excellent form at their win at the Europeans. MARINHO and NUNES will also go to San Francisco full of confidence. The pair have been in top competition since being World Junior Champions in 1997 and their labours have recently brought them to the top of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.
Knowledge of the tides and currents in the Bay will be critical and there is a chance of the fleet all charging for the shoreside out of the current, but this will provide some great viewing for the 'Frisco Locals' eager for their Bay to show it's secrets.
It will all be decided on San Francisco Bay between Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge in seven tough days of competition from 22-29 August.