The Skandia Sail For Gold regatta promises to offer a fitting finale to the ISAF Sailing World Cup season with an official entry of over 700 boats and almost 1000 sailors from 57 nations all challenging to claim the ultimate prize of the Sailing World Cup in each of the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines.
At least 10 of these nations come from the Asian/Pacific region with a large entry from China, the largest team to compete from this nation since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. There is also a big entry from the Americas region including eight South American nations. These are joined by a growing list of participating Caribbean nation sailors who have been gaining valuable experience in youth regattas around the world.
Based upon feedback, ISAF's Executive Committee approved the recommendation to modify the World Cup scoring system for 2009-2010. For the overall Sailing World Cup series score, five out of seven events would be counted; at least one of the discarded events being a European Sailing World Cup event.
This decision has resulted in a mouth watering final regatta in Weymouth with almost all classes going down to the wire to decide the overall Sailing World Cup champions.
The winner of the Sailing World Cup in the Women's 470 will be a nail biting finish. Marseilles based Ingrid Petitjean
and Nadège Douroux
(FRA) hold a slender one point lead having claimed silver medals in Miami and Palma, and bronze in Medemblik.
The French pair go to Weymouth having just secured fourth in the recent world championship in Holland. Their team colleagues, Emmanuelle Rol
and Hélène Defrance
will be hard on their heels, and only one point back in third is Henriette Koch
and Lene Sommer
of Denmark. Both these two crews have also sailed four regattas of the series. There is an outside chance of Sailing World Cup medals for a number of very talented crews entered but the top three have stole a march on the rest of the field. The French performance here may have a significant influence on the national battle between France and Great Britain for the overall nation trophy.
The Women's Match Racing event is billed to be one of the closest competitions in the final stage of the 2009-10 ISAF Sailing World Cup. All the key top teams will fight it out for the Sailing World Cup in the Elliott 6m, the equipment chosen for the 2012 Olympic Games competition to be sailed in Weymouth..
Leader in the SWC standings Lucy Macgregor
(GBR) has competed in all SWC regattas but reached the final twice without winning. Macgregor goes into the final event with a single point lead over arch rival Anna Tunnicliffe
(USA). The two teams have clashed regularly throughout the season particularly in Miami where Tunnicliffe beat Macgregor in the final by three flights to two.
On equal points with Tunnicliffe is Claire Leroy
of France, who has finished third at two SWC regattas and runner-up in Kiel. The chasing pack of Nicky Souter
(AUS), Silke Hahlbrock
(GER) and Renee Groeneveld
(NED) all have an outside chance of SWC success but will have to depend on the leading three teams having a bad regatta.
In the Men's 470 class Australians Mathew Belcher
and Malcolm Page
have sailed themselves into an unbeatable position having competed in all six regattas of the ISAF Sailing World Cup. Their record stands at two wins and two second places discarding a fourth and their worst result this season, a sixth in Hyeres. The pair recently sealed a fifth 470 World Championship win.
However the chasing pack are very close and still in the hunt for silver and bronze medals. Anton Dahlberg
and Sebastian Östling
(SWE) just stole the gold from the Australians on the finish line in the medal race in Miami. The Aussies reversed the positions in the last regatta of the series in Kiel. Dahlberg and Ostling have sailed in all regattas except Melbourne and have amassed 71 points overall.
The consistent French pairing of Pierre Leboucher
and Vincent Garos
have not finished out of the top six at all four Sailing World Cup regattas they have sailed to record 67 points, only one point ahead of the 2007 and 2008 World Championship bronze medallists Gideon Kliger
and Eran Sela
The top three teams in the 49er class have opened up some fresh air between themselves and the rest of the fleet. All three crews have competed in five regattas throughout this season's Sailing World Cup. Austrians Nico Delle - Karth
and Nikolaus Resch
have recorded two silvers and two bronze medals with a fifth their worst result in Palma. The Austrian's go to Weymouth with 74 points, eight clear of Allan Norregaard
and Peter Lang
(DEN) who claimed silver in Kiel and drop their worst result, (11th) collected in Palma.
Third in the SWC standings are Emmanuel Dyen
and Stéphane Christidis
of France who began the early part of the season with consecutive gold medals in Miami and Palma but dropped off the podium in subsequent regattas to finish on 62 points after six regattas.
Whilst much attention will be focused on the battle of the Brits with four time Olympic legend Ben Ainslie
(GBR) returning to the Finn class to assess his current status against some of the best Finn sailors in the world, his other main rival will be 2010 European and 2009 Skandia Sail for Gold silver medallist Ed Wright
(GBR) who has opened up a six point lead in the SWC standings.
Ainslie will not be in the running for SWC medals but the battle between the top Finn sailors has been intense all year. Olympic medallist, Rafa Trujillo
(ESP), fourth in the 2010 Europeans, shares second spot with Jonathan Lobert
of France who have both travelled the circuit securing top ten places at all their regattas.
Three more sailors have a good chance to claim SWC medals. Beijing 2008 silver medallist Zach Railey
(USA) has 62 points and returning Skandia Sail for Gold champion Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic
(CRO) goes to Weymouth in a rich vein of form having collected the 2010 European Championship gold and wins in the last two SWC regattas in Medemblik and Kiel. Gaspic and Gasper Vincec
(SLO) share 59 points.
In the biggest fleet of the SWC series with regularly over 100 entries the Laser class has a clear leader in Javier Hernandez
of Spain. With a gold medal in Palma and two bronzes in Hyeres and Medemblik, Hernandez has opened up an 18 point lead with a maximum of 20 points on offer. The battle for second in the overall SWC standings is however very much up for grabs.
2009 Laser World Championship bronze medallist, Nick Thompson
(GBR) has top four results in three SWC regattas to stand on 54 points followed by Matias Del Solar
of Chili tied on 52 points with Jean Baptiste Bernaz
Current Olympic and World Champion, Paul Goodison
(GBR) and previous double World Champion and in form Australian Tom Slingsby
both have an outside chance of climbing onto the podium but have only competed in two regattas each to date this season. Slingsby goes to Weymouth on the back of two victories in the last two Sailing World Cup regattas.
The tussle for Sailing World Cup gold in the Laser Radial class is another tense battle. Bronze medallist in last year's Skandia Sail for Gold, Marit Bouwmeester
(NED) leads Paige Railey
(USA) by two points. Railey goes to Weymouth having collected the bronze medal at the 2010 Laser Radial World Championship in Largs only a few weeks ago. Railey also counts two SWC victories in Miami and Kiel this season. Tied on points with Railey is Veronika Fenclová
(CZE) who has competed in all events except Melbourne this year. Still in the hunt will be Tatiana Drozdovskaya
(BLR). Tatiana from Minsk, finished fifth in the recent Radial Worlds in Largs.
The Men's RS:X class is lined up to be a major showdown between three sailors currently standing on 64, 64 and 63 points. 2008 Olympic silver medallist, bronze medallist in the 2009 Skandia Sail for Gold regatta and winner of the last SWC event in Kiel, Julien Bontemps
(FRA) will clash horns with Ivan Pastor (ESP) who has been racing neck and neck with Bontemps all season.
The third of the trio is Nimrod Nashich from Israel who has not been out of the top seven in the four SWC regattas he has competed in. Local British representative Nick Dempsey
(GBR) won the 2009 Worlds in Weymouth and currently lies in fourth place in the SWC standings ten points adrift of the podium. Tied on overall points with Dempsey is Andreas Cariolou
(CYP) who also has an outside chance of reaching the podium.
The Women's RSX division will be an all European clash. The two Spaniards, Blanca Manchon
and Marina Alabau
have been battling throughout the SWC season with Manchon currently holding all the cards with 77 points overall and is the current Skandia Sail for Gold champion. She won in Medemblik this year and finished second in Miami, Hyeres and Kiel. Manchon will no doubt be pushed hard by current Olympic bronze medallist Bryony Shaw
(GBR) who knows the waters of Weymouth well.
Six points adrift in third in the standings lies Laura Linares
who comes from Marsala in Sicily. Linares has also been a regular on the podium this season with two bronze medals in Palma and Medemblik.
The Star fleet is full of Olympians at this years Skandia Sail for Gold regatta however Eivind Melleby
and Petter Morland Pedersen
(NOR) have already achieved what they set out to do at the beginning of the Sailing World Cup season by winning three gold medals at Miami, Hyeres and Medemblik establishing an unbeatable position in the SWC standings with one regatta remaining.
Of a number of American entries,Andy Horton
and James Lyne
, and Mark Mendelblatt
and John Von Schwarz
look set to challenge for the minor medals in the multi national fleet.
The 2.4mR have sailed at all six SWC regattas to date this year with a highly competitive mixed fleet. Thierry Schmitter
(NED) has been the most consistent performer winning in Palma and claiming silver in Miami, Hyeres and Medemblik, discarding a third in Kiel. Schmitter has amassed 77 points, seven ahead of Paul Tingley
of Canada who won the first two regattas in Melbourne and Miami two card 70 points. The big battle will be for SWC silver and bronze medals with two Brits, Megan Pascoe
and Helena Lucas
with 67 and 66 points respectively followed by Barend Kol
(NED) also sharing 66 points.
The Skud 18 class has only had sufficient entries to qualify for SWC standings at two Sailing World Regattas this year. Scott Whitman
and Julia Dorsett
(USA) won in Miami whilst Ame Barnbrook
of Australia won in Melbourne. However at the time of going to press neither of these two crews are entered in Weymouth leaving the battle for medals to be between the Canadian's John Mcroberts
and Brenda Hopkin
currently in fifth place and Alexandra Rickham
and Niki Birrell
(GBR) who are one point behind in sixth.
The Sonar has been raced at two regattas, Miami and Medemblik and looks to be a straight forward tussle between leaders Aleksander Wang-Hansen
and his crew from Norway who hold a five point lead over the British crew skippered by John Robertson
The overall nation medal table is also very close with Great Britain, France and Australia all with nine gold medals to date in this season's ISAF Sailing World Cup. In overall medals won, Great Britain holds a slender advantage with 25 medals won followed by France on 23 medals and Australia on 19 medals.
Schedule of Events
Friday 6th August Event Office opens for registration
Sunday 7th August Briefing for coaches and team leaders
Monday 9th August Racing day 1
Tuesday 10th August Racing day 2
Wednesday 11th August Racing day 3
Thursday 12th August Racing day 4
Friday 13th August Racing day 5
Saturday 14th August Medal Races (no warning signal after 1530)
For the latest news, to enter online and for media accreditation go to: www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk
For the latest news, photos and videos, as well as Standings, event details and more, visit the ISAF Sailing World Cup website at www.sailing.org/worldcup.
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