Practice, measurement and the Opening Ceremony are all over for athletes and spectators in Suva, Fiji for the 2003 South Pacific Games. Serious racing in the sailing event kicks off today from Laucala Bay.
The Bay is located to the east of the Fijian Capital of Suva, and sailing takes place out of a complex that hosts the majority of the 32 sports in the games. 92 sailors from nine of the Pacific Region countries are competing in three classes over the duration of the ten-day sailing event organised by the SPG organising committee and the Fiji Yachting Association (FYA).
As well as the home nation of Fiji, who have a delegation of 18 sailors, other nations represented in the event include New Caledonia, with the largest contingent of 27 sailors, the Cook Islands, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tahiti, and Wallis and Futana.
Overall, for all sports, there are over 400 athletes in Fiji competing in the games, making it one of the largest multi-sport Games in the World.
The mixed fleet will sail the Hobie 16 catamaran, first used as the equipment in the multihull demonstration event at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in 2001 in Crozon Morgat, France, this boat is a technically simple, easily matched, fun catamaran to sail.
Split into male and female fleets, the other two classes used are to be the Olympic classes, the Laser, and the Mistral One-design sailboard. All equipment is provided to athletes by the event organisers and ensure fair competition based on ability around the racecourse.
12 races are to be held, starting today for the men and mixed fleets, with ten scheduled for the ladies, and continues until next Wednesday 9 July, with a rest day this coming Sunday.
Fiji recently hosted an Olympic Solidarity course, which concentrated on training young sailors as well as the Fiji national team members and a national judges course. The course was coached by Ralph ROBERTS (NZL) an expert sailor and ISAF International Judge, who has also taken the role of ISAF Technical Delegate for the South Pacific Games, advising on the running and management of what is sure to be a fantastic regatta.
More can be seen on the recent Olympic Solidarity Course in Fiji by following the link below - ISAF will bring you full results from the South Pacific Games as they are released.