US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR returns to Coconut Grove, Miami, USA from 24-29 January, bringing together the world's top sailing athletes for competition in the classes selected for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Held on the waters of Biscayne Bay, the regatta is the second stop of the 2010-11 ISAF Sailing World Cup, and has already attracted over 800 sailors from 52 nations.
"Most athletes training for the 2012 Olympics or Paralympics will say they don't want to peak just yet," said US SAILING High Performance Director Kenneth Andreasen, "but you can bet the sailors here will be very serious about being in the top five, if not winning, in their classes and accumulating points towards their standings in the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit, which affects their world rankings.
"From all over the world, there will be athletes who are either already on their national teams or aspiring to be named to them and there will be dozens upon dozens of national team coaches and private coaches attending."
and Malcolm Page
(AUS) will be sailing in the men's 470 and are 2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup and 470 class World Champions. The Australians are ranked number #1 in the world, with Page having crewed for an Olympic Gold medal with Nathan Wilmot
in Beijing 2008.
"It certainly is a nice feeling to know that you are on the right track; however, sport is sport, and there are a lot of top guys right there also," said Belcher. "This year at the Rolex Miami OCR, I think we have everyone in the top ten in the world here from the 470 men's class."
If it is by resume that Belcher and Page are favourite in the men's 470 class, then Ben Ainslie
(GBR) is the favourite in the Finn class. After winning a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games and gold in 2000 Olympic Games in the laser class he put on 40 pounds and moved to the larger Finn boat.
Ainslie has had further success in the Finn boat after winning gold in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. And despite taking a three year break to pursue an America's Cup campaign he won Sail Melbourne, the first of the ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas.
(ESP), the 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, is competing in the RS:X women's class, while other past recipients competing are: Claire Leroy
(FRA) and Anna Tunnicliffe
(USA) each skippering an Elliott 6m; Paige Railey
(USA), in the Laser Radial; and Torben Grael
(BRA), Robert Scheidt
(BRA) and Mark Reynolds
(USA) each skippering in the Star class.
Manchón said, "I'm number one in the ISAF world rankings, so I'm very motivated for this season that starts here in Miami.
"This regatta will be the first one for me where I'm actually working with my own coach, and the water and the climate are perfect for training and testing equipment."
The Rolex Miami OCR is open to boats competing in events chosen for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition and 2012 Paralympic Sailing Competition. The ten Olympic events are sailed in the: Laser Radial (women), Laser (men), Finn (men), Men's RS:X, Women's RS:X, 49er (men), Men's 470, Women's 470, Star (men) and Elliott 6m (women). The three Paralympic classes are: 2.4mR (open, able and disabled), SKUD18 (mixed, disabled) and Sonar (open, disabled).
For the nine Olympic fleet racing events, the regatta will consist of a five-day opening series (Monday - Friday) and a double-point Medal Race (Saturday). The top ten finishers in the opening series of each class will advance to the Medal Race. For the women's match racing event in the Elliot 6m, which makes its debut in the 2012 Olympic Games, the regatta will consist of an opening series, a knockout series, and a sail-off for boats not advancing to the knockout series.
Competitors in the Paralympic classes will have five days of fleet racing (Monday - Friday) and no Medal Race. Medals will be awarded to the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class on Saturday 29 January.
In addition to title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., the 2011 Rolex Miami OCR is also sponsored by AlphaGraphics, Gowrie Group, Chubb Insurance, Sperry Top-Sider, Harken McLube, Trinity Yachts, University of Miami Hospital and Kattack.
A complete list of competitors can be viewed at the event website, RMOCR.ussailing.org
, where real-time racecourse blogging, commentary and fan interaction, regatta results, photos and news updates will be integrated into a live coverage platform once racing begins.
Video highlights produced by Gary Jobson and presented by Rolex will air daily and are available on-demand on the event website. Fans can also follow the event on http://www.facebook.com/rolexmiamiocr
And keep up-to-date on all the Sailing World Cup regattas here www.sailing.org/worldcup