On Tuesday we brought you an introduction to what will be the largest event to take place in recent times, the 2003 ISAF World Championships and Olympic Qualification Regatta, which takes place in early September next year.
Today we give you an insight into the racing format.
Held over three principle venues around the Bay of Cadiz, all nine Olympic classes in eleven fleets will race their World Championship from 12-24 September, completing the second and penultimate opportunity for athletes to qualify their nation for the Olympic Games in Athens 2004.
The major venue will be Puerto Sherry, situated on the eastern side of the Bay of Cadiz and host to the Mistral Men and Women, Europe, Finn, Yngling, Tornado and 49er classes. Rota on the opposite side of the bay will be hosting the 470 Men and Women and Club Nautico Elcano will host the Laser fleet.
Each class, variant on the number of entries, has a different racing format but, with the decision at the ISAF Annual Conference in Limassol this Year to limit the number of boats that could be on the start line of any single race, we are seeing more and more the format of holding qualification and final races, and splitting the fleets into smaller groups. At this event, all but the Finn Class will hold such qualifying races.
The maximum number of boats on a start line is 80 dinghies, Catamarans or sailboards and 60 keelboats, in each championship holding qualification races the fleet is split into four parts or flights, with each flight racing the others twice over the qualification period. Once six races have been completed the fleet is ranked according to their results so far, at this stage sailors may discard their worst score of the regatta before the fleet is split into Gold and Silver for the final five races. At the end of the championship, the series score for an individual boat will be the total score of both the qualification and final races, excluding the worst result.
The first Championship to start racing will be the Europe class from Puerto Sherry. Their qualification series starts on Friday 12 September for three days, with the Final five races being held from 16-18 September. Having to wait until 18 September to start their qualification regatta, the 470 and Tornado Classes are the last to start, finishing their final races on 24 September.
Each Class has different characteristics and as such different course and race time limitations. The 49er and Tornado classes, being Asymetric, will sail straight windward/leeward courses in races lasting approximately thirty minutes for the 49ers and sixty for the Tornado. The 49er is unique in that instead of the scheduled eleven races in the series, they will be holding sixteen. The longest scheduled races are for the Star keelboat, sailing either triangle windward/leeward courses, they will sail for ninety minutes each race.
Next Week we will bring you a profile of each of the venues to be used at next year's ISAF World Championships.