Racing at the 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao commences in one week with the 2013 World Champions in the Laser Radial and Women's 470 ready to lead the charge.
The inaugural event gets going on Monday 14 October through to the Medal Races on Saturday 19 October with 149 sailors from 23 nations making the journey to the venue of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.
A highly competitive Laser Radial fleet will line up on the waters of Qingdao and includes 2013 World Champion Tina Mihelic and World #1 Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR).
Mihelic became Croatia's first female World Champion in Rizhao City, China on 7 October and will head 150km north to Qingdao full of confidence.
The experienced World #1 Drozdovskaya finished 33rd in Rizhao City and has knowledge of racing in Qingdao from when she finished 23rd at Beijing 2008. "For Qingdao I hope for good weather and wind,"
said Drozdovskaya. "This is my first return to Qingdao after Beijing 2008 and I hope to improve this time round.
"My aims are only on one regatta at a time, sailing without mistakes both to show beautiful races and to take the most prestigious place."
With experience evident in the Laser Radial 20-boat fleet there are also several young, exuberant talented female sailors who will look to make their mark in Qingdao.
Thailand's Kamolwan Chanyim is just one of them as she begins her campaign to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition.
The Thai sailor is part of the Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds Emerging Nations Programme and at 17 years-old will use the Sailing World Cup series to help build for the 2014 ISAF Worlds, "For 2014, it is my hope to participate in the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Palma and Hyeres for the first time, the ISAF Youth Worlds for the last time (my fourth one), Santander 2014, and again at the Sailing World Cup in Qingdao.
"We are now actively searching for sponsorship so I can do these and continue with the three year plan we have to help me become the first Thai woman to qualify for and sail in the Olympics in the Laser Radial."
Chanyim's long-term aims are clear whilst in the short term she is aiming to impress in Qingdao, "I would love to be in the top ten. I do know that if the winds are light, I will have to use my brain more. In strong winds, it is all about the physical and hiking out, but in light winds as in Rizhao, strategy is much important."
The Thai sailor competed at the previous two ISAF Youth Worlds, as did Lithuania's Milda Eidukeviciute so there will be familiar company for the Thai sailor.
Eidukeviciute will travel with team-mate Viktorija Andrulyte as the pair set out on a Rio 2016 together, "Viktorija and I are in the same team. She is good and fast so it's good that I can train with a sailor like her. It also helps me to go a bit faster, we are like colleagues to each other."
At the 2013 Laser Radial Worlds it was the younger of the two, Eidukeviciute, who enjoyed the best result, finishing 37th to Andrulyte's 40th. With a smaller fleet in Qingdao the pair will be lock horns and push each other once again.
World #13 Ashley Stoddart (AUS) has had a quiet 2013 but ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao is just the start of a busy Radial season for the Australian, "Qingdao will be another chance to race and I am looking forward to that. This is my first time in China, so it will be good to experience Qingdao after being in Rizhao, further south.
"I plan to do all the ISAF Worlds Cups following Qingdao including Melbourne and then our Australian Nationals before heading to Miami and then Europe in 2014."
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominees Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (NZL) will spearhead the 14-boat Women's 470 fleet.
The New Zealand duo took their first World Championship title in La Rochelle, France in August and make a return to the boat in Qingdao.
Whilst they will be favourites to take gold they will have tough competition from an 11-boat Chinese contingent that has strength and depth in numbers.
World #5 Xiaoli Wang and Xufeng Huang (CHN) and World #13 Xiamei Xu and Chunyan Yu (CHN) both tested the Kiwis at the 470 Worlds. Wang and Huang took bronze whilst Xu and Yu came sixth and with local knowledge on their home waters an upset could be on the cards.
In the Women's RS:X World #1 Bryony Shaw (GBR) and World #5 Maayan Davidovich (ISR) will be aiming for top honours.
The pair have had a busy 2013, Davidovich took gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in January, beating Shaw whilst the tables turned at the RS:X Worlds and ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma where Shaw took two silvers compared to a single bronze for the Israeli.
Shaw then had the better of Davidovich at the RS:X Europeans and Ciudad de Santander Trophy and with World #1 status will be the one to watch.
The 20-boat fleet also includes current South American Champion and World #9 Patricia Freitas (BRA), World #4 Hei Man Chan and China's first ever ISAF Youth Worlds gold medallist Lu Yunxiu.
Six classes make a return to the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center, Men's and Women's 470, Men's and Women's RS:X, Laser and Laser Radial with 180,000USD prize money spread across the fleets.
Racing across the six classes commences on Monday 14 October at 12:00 local time and along with the four other ISAF Sailing World Cup venues, Melbourne, Miami, Mallorca and Hyeres, the regatta will adopt the following race format:
Two day Qualification Series, three day Final Series with concluding final day Medal Race
Number of races
Two races per day for Laser, Finn and 470
Three races per day for skiffs, boards and multihull
One Medal race (10 boats for all classes)
ISAF Sailing World Cup Website