ISAF Sailing World Cup Series kicks off with Sail Melbourne

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ISAF Sailing World Cup Series 2011-12 will kick off with Sail Melbourne at Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne, Australia on 6th November 2011.

First launched in December 2008 the ISAF Sailing World Cup brings together the existing major regattas on the Olympic sailing circuit, starting in Australia.

This year Sail Melbourne welcomes sailors preparing for the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, which takes place from 3rd to 18th December.

With 57 entries the Laser fleet boasts the most entries at Sail Melbourne. Tom Slingsby (AUS) heads into the regatta as the sailor to beat following his victory at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta at the Olympic Sailing Venue in Weymouth, Great Britain and his comprehensive victory in the overall ISAF Sailing World Cup Laser Standings.

But the 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year will have his work cut out having come third at the regatta in 2010. Great Britain’s Nick Thompson took the gold medal last year and is back to defend his crown. Tom Burton (GBR) also finished ahead of Slingsby at the 2010 Sail Melbourne and will look to replicate his performance.

And with World number four Roelof Bouwmeester (NED), World number seven Josh Junior (NZL), World number 10 Ryan Palk (AUS) also competing there will be no easy ride throughout the week.

A competitive fleet will line up in the Laser Radial spearheaded by World number two and 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED). The Dutch girl has recently hit a rich vein of form and sealed gold at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta with a day to spare. She will be favourite to take gold but like Slingsby the Dutch girl finished third last year behind Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) and Nathalie Brugger (SUI).

The World number 44 Chinese sailor will find it tough to retain her title with sailors ramping up their preparations and looking to gain an upper hand on their rivals one month out from the Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds.

World number eight Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR), World number 11 Andrea Brewster (GBR) and World number 18 Annalise Murphy (IRL) will also be in contention throughout the week.

2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup Men’s RS:X title holder Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) begins his campaign in Melbourne and will be up against Jon-Paul Tobin (NZL) and Zachary Plavsic (CAN). The Women’s RS:X fleet features Jessica Crisp (AUS) and Bryony Shaw (GBR) who look to get in some final preparations before Perth.

A strong 14-boat Men’s 470 fleet will line up in Melbourne featuring World number one Australian duo Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page. The Australians won the opening ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta last year and after claiming the Men’s 470 they will look to get off to a good start. Last year’s silver medallists Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl (USA) return as do the bronze medallists Sam Kivell and Will Ryan. 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds 420 bronze medallists Angus Galloway and Alexander Gough (AUS) will also sail in the competitive fleet.

The 2010 Women’s 470 gold medallists Kathrin Kadelbach and Friederike Belcher (GER) return and will go against 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup Women’s 470 Champions Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving (USA) and Weymouth and Portland International Regatta winners Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JPN).

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) will sail in the 49er fleet and nine Australians feature in the 11-boat Finn fleet with Oliver Tweddell the highest ranked competitor at number 59 in the world rankings.

The SKUD-18 and 2.4mR sailors also begin their 2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup campaign.

For more information on the ISAF Sailing World Cup click here.

ISAF website