The Sail Melbourne International Regatta is over for another year and the 2003 event has been an outstanding success. Over 2,000 competitors took part in 24 different championships around Port Philip and Westernport.
The events could not have taken place without the skills and effort of the 800 volunteers who give up their time to ensure Sail Melbourne is a great event.
The Australian Yachting Federation conducted the first selection trails for the Australian Olympic Sailing Team for Athens 2004 during the Olympic & Invited Classes Regatta. With 32 countries represented, the regatta saw top level competition with a number of past Olympians and new faces campaigning for a place in the 2004 team.
McCrae Yacht Club hosted the B14 World and Australian Championships which saw rivalry between the Aussies and the Poms to match that of the cricket. Local sailor Guy Bancroft made a charge for the World championships with some outstanding tactical sailing but Tim Fels from the UK prevailed to take the World title.
The Inaugural Commonwealth Sailing Championships had sailors from 11 countries taking part. Sailed in 470's, Laser's, Laser Radials, Mistral and Hobie 16, the Commonwealth Games Federation and International Sailing Federation approved regatta took place at Sandringham Yacht Club. Whilst numbers may have been small for this first event the quality of the sailiors was not. Olympians Michael Blackburn, Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell took part along with former 420 World Champions, Farokh Tarapore/Amit Arvid (India) sailing a 470. World ranked number 5 Ed Wright from the UK and world number 6 Brendan Casey from Australia competed alongside Michael Blackburn in the Laser class. Peter Bartels from the Australian Sports Commission officially opened the Championships and it is hoped that the running of this event will support the bid to make sailing part of the Commonwealth Games.
Numerous other championships were held as part of the 2003 Sail Melbourne International Regatta. The 49ers, A Class Catamaran's and Access Dinghies raced out of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club. Cross-Tasman rivalry was played out at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron with the Interndominion OK Dinghy Championships. The Pacer Nationals held at Altona Yacht Club saw 52 competitors take part and the Victorian S80 Championships at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron had a record entry, with 27 boats taking part - virtually every S80 in Victoria! The Tasars held their National Championships at Mordialloc, and the Fireballs sailed from Safety Beach on the Mornington Peninsula. Other Sail Melbourne Regattas, the Dinghy and Catamaran Classic's, Trailable Regatta, and the Olympic Class Warm Up Regatta at Royal Brighton Yacht Club ensured there was plenty of events for sailors of all types.
Sail Melbourne would like to thank the sponsors who make it all possible:
State Government of Victoria, Sport & Recreation Victoria, Yachting Victoria, Parks Victoria, Ronstan, Collex, Jacob's Creek, Subaru, Bayside City Council, City of Kingston and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.