New Olympic prospects will cross swords with experienced campaigners including many who have recently returned from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games when Yachting NSW's annual ISAF Grade 1 Sydney International Regatta (SIR) is held from 6-9 December 2008 on Sydney Harbour.
Held as as part of the Sail Down Under series, incorporating Sail Brisbane, SIRs and Sail Melbourne, the SIR will be the first ISAF Grade 1 multi-class regatta to be held since the Beijing Games in August. As such, the event is expected to attract many new Olympic campaigners and experienced Olympians alike, all eager to score early points in the new Olympiad as they look to selection for the 2012 London Games. SIRs is also the perfect opportunity for sailors gearing up for the start of the 2008-09 ISAF Sailing World Cup
, which will kick off at Sail Melbourne, held from 16-21 December.
Australia finished the Games with solid medal-winning performances, garnering gold medals in the Men's and Women's 470 and silver in the Tornado. Those medal winners competed at the SIR last year; Men's 470 gold medallists Nathan WILMOT
and Malcolm PAGE
(AUS) and Tornado silver medallists Darren BUNDOCK
and Glenn ASHBY
(AUS), along with others including Finn gold medallist Ben AINSLIE
(GBR) who increased to his collection to three gold and one silver medal across the Laser and Finn classes.
Many Australian Sailing Team members and international Olympians are expected to make their return to serious competition at the SIR.
Adrian STEER, the CEO of Yachting NSW commented, "We are very much looking forward to seeing a good mix of talented sailors at SIRs. For many Beijing Olympians, this will be their first major regatta since returning from China. Spectators will be given the rare treat of be able to watch Olympic medallists and Olympians in action on Sydney Harbour.
"Being a new Olympiad, SIRs will also showcase up-and-coming Olympians as they chase their dream to represent at the 2012 London Games. There is so much talent emerging in Youth Squads around the world right now and SIRs will give an early glimpse as to who might be standing on the Olympic podium in four years time."
An ISAF Grade 1 event in the Laser, Laser Radial, Finn, 470, 49er and RS:X and Grade 2 for the Ynglings, this year's event will include the Yngling Australian Championship.
Other classes invited to the regatta include the 420, 29er Laser 4.7 and the A Class Catamaran.
Competitors will race in the A Class Catamaran World Championship to be held at Belmont north of Sydney in January next year, so SIRs will be an important pre-Worlds regatta for them. Entries are restricted to 25 and competitors must enter through the A-Class association.
The exhilarating 'foiling' Moths will also feature at SIRs. Australians John HARRIS
, Andrew MCDOUGALL and Mathew BELCHER
filled out the top three places at the 2008 Worlds in July, which were held in Weymouth, Great Britain, the site for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. Australians also featured in other top-ten places, so expect to see a good fleet of these increasingly popular foiling machines.
December 2008 marks the 17th edition of SIRs, which has received ongoing support from NSW Sport and Recreation for the past three years.
To be hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, entries are expected from around Australia and internationally.
Notice of Race and all other information can be found at www.nsw.yachting.org.au