Friday, 22 October 2010
The Laser fleet is expected to be even bigger than last year. Image copyright www.harvpix.com
by Di Pearson
Early entries from Canada, Slovenia, Switzerland, Trinidad, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand and Australia wide have set the tone for a quality turnout at Sail Sydney, Yachting NSW’s principal event held annually on Sydney Harbour.
Online entry and the Notice of Race for the 6-9 December regatta are now available on the official race website at: www.sailsydney.org.au and prospective competitors are urged to sign on now, as entries close on November 12.
The only ISAF Grade 1 Olympic and Paralympic classes’ event in NSW and only one of two Australia wide, a large entry will be in force, as the London 2012 Games are looming and valuable points can be earned towards Olympic selection.
For the first time, racing will be held on weekdays only; making it a fairer playing field for the high-calibre sailors who make the trip to Sydney each year. In the past, weekend traffic, including shipping and the many ferries has made it hard on competitors.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming local, interstate and overseas competitors back to Sydney Harbour. With a mix of Olympic and international classes, we’re expecting a large turnout for what is the premier event for centreboard classes in NSW,” David Edward, Yachting NSW board member said.
Olympic classes for Sail Sydney this year are: 470 Men’s and Women’s, RS:X Men’s and Women’s, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial and 49er.
The Laser class has prompted the most international interest so far, led by heavyweight Olympians Mike Leigh (CAN) and Rutger Schaardenburg (NED). Joining them is Josh Junior (NZL), who is also making a name for himself on the international youth match racing circuit.
Such is the talent of Kiwis in the Laser, Junior will have a big job on his hands to overcome challenges from at least three of his compatriots to make Olympic selection.
Sailors from Switzerland, Trinidad and Slovenia are also on the start list, and along with the other internationals, will have to be in peak form. Treble Laser world champion Tom Slingsby (AUS), whose season has been exceptional, inclusive of victory at the 2010 Worlds, will be waiting.
“I’ll be at Sail Sydney and I’m looking forward to competing on the Harbour again. I’m glad the regatta has been moved to week days only,” said Slingsby at the Australian Yachting Awards where he was a finalist.
The Moths will be back after their popularity in 2009. Image copyright www.harvipix.com
Inclusion of the Paralympic class SKUD18 and 2.4mR have brought some names out of the woodwork, particularly in the 2.4mR. Stephen Churm is a three-time Australian representative in the Paralympic Sonar keelboat at three world championships, but has decided to try his hand in the 2.4mR.
Greg Hyde is a big name from the past. He represented Australia at the 1984 Olympics in windsurfing for which he also won a world title, is a former 16ft skiff champion and a helmsman aboard Cuckoos Nest, the overall winner of the 1993 gale swept Sydney Hobart in which the 40 footer finished second on line.
Hyde, from NSW, was cut down in his prime 14 years ago by a near-fatal form of encephalitis and subsequent problems. Never one to give up, He is now a member of the Australian Sailing Development Squad in 2.4mR class.
The Sydney sailor has one clear goal; to represent Australia at the 2012 Paralympic Games, but he will have to fight it out with Tasmanian Matthew Bugg, whose sixth place at the IFDS Worlds holds him in good stead. Bugg is expected at Sail Sydney too. All three Paralympic hopefuls are products of various Sailability programs.
Other classes invited to take part are the Moth, 505, Hobie 16, 29er and 29erxx and Bich Techno 293 classes, along with the Laser 4.7 and 420 classes.
Sail Sydney will once again be hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club (WSC), which has great facilities and a good entry point to the Sydney Harbour courses, much the same as those used for the Sydney Olympics. The Club hosted many boats and crews during their stay in Sydney for the two Test Events and just prior to Sydney 2000.
Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club will again provide race management teams, a necessity for an event of this calibre.
Entries must be received no later than 1700hrs on 12 November 2010. Entries received after that date will be subject to a late entry supplement.
Sail Sydney is proudly supported by Sport and Recreation, NSW Maritime, Steve Jarvin Motors, Alphaboat, and Tohatsu.
Entry, NoR and further information at: www.sailsydney.org.au