Current World Champions Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ from Spain head a star-studded catamaran line-up at the ISAF Grade C1 Tornado Asia Pacific Regatta starting on Westernport Bay on the Mornington Peninsula this afternoon.
Hosted by Somers Yacht Club, some of the top names are Australia's Olympic silver medallist and multiple World Champion Darren BUNDOCK
and his Victorian crew Glenn ASHBY
, with whom BUNDOCK won the 2006 World title.
Second at the 2007 Worlds, and the only elite female Tornado sailor globally, Carolijn BROUWER
and her crew Sebastien GODEFROID
(BEL) are here too; both are multiple Olympians in other classes. The Belgians are joined by third, fifth and seventh placed at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships
, respectively, Mitch BOOTH
and Pim NIEUWENHUIS
(NED), Leigh MCMILLAN
and Will HOWDEN
(GBR) and Iordanis PASCHALIDIS
and Konstantinos TRIGONIS
Add to the equation two highly ranked German teams; Roland GAEBLER
and Gunnar STRUCKMANN
, bronze medallists from Sydney 2000, and brothers Tino MITTELMEIER
and Niko MITTELMEIER
, third place getters at the recent ISAF Grade 1 Sydney International Regatta.
The ISAF World Ranked #7 pair of Oskar JOHANSSON
and Kevin STITTLE
(CAN) and two Russian crews led by the World Ranked #9 pair of Andrey KIRILYUK
and Valery USHKOV
are also competing. It will be a fascinating series.
Twelve other Australian crews are signed up, including Victorians Michael VANDENBERG and Ben CARROLL and Andrew GRIFFIN
and Chris TUCKER; a great opportunity of racing against the world's best at this ISAF Grade C1 Sail Melbourne event.
This is the hottest fleet seen in Australia since the 2000 Games. The event is an important lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Games.
Two races per day on windward and leeward courses are scheduled for the series finishes on 9 January. Visitors are welcome to view racing from Somers.
Sail Melbourne - www.sailmelbourne.com.au