On the eve of the 17th 49er World Championship and 1st ever 49erFX World Championship, the city of Marseille eagerly anticipates a great battle.
The 49er has 95 boats, the second highest total ever and the largest in a decade. The 2013 World Championship is the first World Championship of the Rio Olympic Quadrennial and many teams are eager to find out where they stack up looking toward Rio.
The 49er has been very competitive through the year, with 11 different winners since the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. The regatta also marks the return of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) to 49er racing. Outteridge and Jensen have been with Artemis Racing for the America's Cup throughout 2013 and come to Marseille with only one month of practice. Their rivals are hoping to knock them from their perch on top of the 49er world as they have been dominant since they teamed up in 2009.
The 49erFX has 53 teams entered, which is a fantastic fleet size for any women's fleet, and especially one that only became official in November 2012. These sailors have had huge smiles on their faces all year as they learn to conquer the 49erFX. It's a tough and demanding boat that is testing them all to their fullest.
Racing to date has had a number of national teams do well by putting together 3-5 teams and having them all develop and push each other. The Danes, Brits, and German's have been at the top of the leaderboard so far, but we can't forget about the Brazilians, Kiwi's, Italians or Dutch. As this is the first World Championship of the 49erFX, there will surely be some nervous sailors on the start line on Tuesday 24 September.
Aside from the squads assembled, there are also the top teams who have moved over from sailing other classes to start in the 49erFX, including a number of Olympic medallists. Spain's Women's Match Racing London 2012 gold medallist Tamara Echegoyen, silver medallist Olivia Price (AUS) and bronze medallists Silja Lehtinen and Mikaela Wolff (FIN) will all face off again in the 49erFX. Beijing 2008 gold medallists Tessa Parkinson (AUS) and Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) also bring a tremendous level of excellence with them to skiff sailing but like all the fleet are still learning the intricacies of sailing at such high speeds.
Racing starts every day at 11:00 local time and coverage is on 49er.org
. The first three days are for qualifying, before the Semi Finals for days 4 and 5 followed by the Final on Sunday 29 September. Each day there will be GPS live tracking on the championship course, and for the semi finals and finals there will be a live broadcast in both English and French.