The Perth International Regatta 2010 today welcomed two international sailing heroes, Ben Ainslie, triple Olympic gold medallist, and Tom Slingsby, 2010 ISAF World Sailor of the Year, to discuss the build up to Perth 2011 Sailing World Championships and the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Perth International Regatta is the formal test event for the Perth 2011 Sailing World Championships in December next year and has attracted 230 boats from 40 nations.
Ian Campbell, the Chairman of Perth 2011 and the CEO and Events Director John Longley both expressed their satisfaction with the number of top level competitors at the Perth International Regatta and the high level of excitement among national and international sailors.
The Perth International Regatta boasts eight of the 10 Olympic classes and half of the sailors competing are in the top 10 in the world in their events. It is the biggest international class event held in Western Australia and Event Director John Longley estimates that this week’s event could bring five million dollars into the local economy.
Longley said the phenomenal success of Ben Ainslie and Tom Slingsby put them into “a different class of sailing with their pure athleticism.” He encouraged spectators to watch the medal races to be held close into the Fremantle foreshores in Bathers Bay.
Improved technology in TV coverage, twitter, and tracking has also expanded spectators’ ability to watch or follow the races.
Slingsby and Ainslie agreed that the renowned windy and choppy conditions from the Fremantle sea breeze will be a big challenge, especially for Ainslie who said “the sea breeze is nothing like in the UK”.
In reflecting on his performance at Skandia Sail for Gold 2010 in Weymouth, the 2012 Olympic sailing venue, Ainslie admitted that in terms of fitness and speed it may be a “struggle” for him to keep up as there would be fierce competition to qualify for London 2012.
Despite the challenging winds, both athletes were very positive about Perth and its ability to host the test event regatta and the 2011 World Championships.
With accreditation and registration completed today, all is set to start on schedule tomorrow. The forecast is for good winds and champagne sailing in Fremantle for the regatta.
A free “one year to go” party will follow the medal ceremonies at the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour on Sunday 21 November.
AFTERNOON DAY ONE
In the afternoon’s racing on the first day of the Perth International Regatta, the Laser Radial competition started with Fremantle’s famed sea breeze fully set in for the rest of the day.
The two Laser Radial races provided stiff competition with the leaders changing around the course. Two young local sailors from AUSTRALIA, Matthew Wearn and Tristan Brown are in the overall lead.
The final results of the two races for the Ladies provided success for Alison Young of GREAT BRITAIN taking the lead on day one, followed by world number seven, Natalie Brugger of SWITZERLAND. Tuula Tenkanen of FINLAND is lying third.
Key favourites looking to improve on today’s performance are ISAF number one Marit Bouwmeester of the NETHERLANDS, who is twelfth, and ISAF number four sailor Tatiania Drozdovskaya of BULGARIA in fourteenth place.
Overall, competitors seemed to enjoy the first day’s sailing off Fremantle. Tuula Tenkanen of FINLAND said “It was nice conditions, so I’m happy.”
The key focus of the afternoon men’s racing was the clash of the titans in the Finn class, with much of the focus on the return of Ben Ainslie of GREAT BRITAIN to full time Olympic Class competition.
ISAF World number three, Johnathan Lobert of FRANCE, took the first day’s lead, followed by Daniel Birgmark of SWEDEN in second place and Rafael Tujillo Villar of SPAIN in third.
British sailors put in a solid performance today with Andrew Mills, fourth, Giles Scott, fifth and Ben Ainslie in sixth place.
Tomorrow is set to be a thrilling day with all four race courses operating.
FIRST RACES FOR 49ERS!
The ocean off Fremantle was filled with sails today as boats from all eight events competed in the second day of racing at the Perth International Regatta. It was an important day for the sailors to get some solid results to build on over the next four days.
Australian 49er team, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, dominated the day winning all three races in their group. “We had a pretty good day. We kept it simple. We managed to get three firsts. We were sailing in small fleets of about 15 boats,” said skipper Nathan Outteridge.
“Having three wins today was a terrific start. It was a consistent breeze, the focus was on speed and we were going quickly through the water,” said crew Iain Jensen. “We were going along nicely. We haven’t sailed since Sail for Gold two months ago and we have only had four or five days’ training since. We slotted back into everything nicely.”
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, Tom Slingsby from Australia, won both races in the Laser men’s event, moving him into second place overall just behind Croatian, Tonci Stipanovic.
Fremantle Laser Radial sailor, Matthew Wearn maintained first place overall after finishing 19th and 4th in the two races this afternoon. Inconsistent results have narrowed the points margin between boats.
470 men and women teams had a small delay this morning after being held ashore waiting for wind. Israel team Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela are equal first in the men’s event with Australians Matthew Belcher and Malcolm Page. Young New Zealand team Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie were in top form, winning both races in the 470 women’s event.
RS:X athletes worked hard this afternoon, pumping their sails in the light wind and 35 degree heat. Netherlands world number eight, Dorian van Rijsselberge, won both races in the men’s fleet. Spanish board sailor, Marina Alabau, also won both her races.
In the Finn event, French sailor Jonathon Lobert maintained first place after four races. Britain’s Ben Ainslie moved up the fleet by finishing second in the last race of the day.
DAY THREE OF RACING!
Good performances in moderate but shifty breezes on the third day of the Perth International Regatta have seen Australian sailors taking the overall lead in three of the class events racing today.
After the three races this morning for 49ers, Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have a 10 point overall lead from Chris Draper and Peter Greenhalgh from Great Britain. The French crew of Emmanuel Dyen and Stephane Christidis is in third position.
Outteridge said the Australians had a good morning’s racing in the shifting easterly offshore breeze.
“We got it right with two race wins. In the middle race we lost an early shift but still managed to come home fifth. It was a really good day,” he said.
The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, Tom Slingsby of Australia, is leading in the Laser Full Rig after five races. He is followed by Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia with the New Zealander Andrew Murdoch lying in third place.
The other Australian success story at the half way mark of the regatta is in the Laser Radial with Matthew Wearn sitting three points clear of Sari Multala of Finland, with another Finn Tuula Tenkanen another three points behind. The Radials had some thrilling racing today with the women now filling thee of the first four overall places.
Sailing superstar Ben Ainslie from Great Britain took third place in the only Finn race completed today to move into fourth place overall. He lies behind Jonathan Lobert of France, Giles Scott of Great Britain and Rafael Trujillo Villar of Spain.
The flukey conditions led to the abandonment of the sixth race on today’s schedule for the Finns.
The RS:X fleets completed two races today in the moderate conditions. With four now completed, the Men’s RSX leader is Dorian van Rijsselberge from Netherlands and Marina Alabau from Spain is heading up the open fleet.
The Israeli crew of Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela remain in overall first place in the Men’s 470. In the women’s 470 event, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie from New Zealand continue to hold overall lead.
A hot, hot day and light breeze brought little joy to many of the sailors hoping to consolidate their fleet rankings ahead of the weekend finals races.
The famed Fremantle strong sea breeze, known locally as the Fremantle Doctor, failed to eventuate as the temperature soared to a maximum 35.2 degrees by late morning.
Only the Laser Radial Open and RS:X Men’s and Open windsurfer fleets completed morning racing, with all the afternoon events falling victim to the frustrating lack of wind.
Commenting on today’s conditions, Laser sailor Simon Grotelueschen from Germany said: “We sail in the south of France and it’s different in every region. I like the specific conditions here in Perth but I’m used to not being able to race.”
In the RS:X Men’s windsurfer fleet, Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberge placed third and second in today’s two races to head the fleet. French skipper Julian Bontemps and Ivan Pastor of Spain are tied for second and there is also a tie for fourth place between New Zealand’s Jon-Paul Tobin and Richardo Santos from Brazil.
In the RS:X Open event Marina Alabau from Spain is ahead of Australian Jessica Crisp and Flavia Tartaglini of Italy after six races.
The RS:X finals are being held on Sunday.
The other class to get in two races this morning was the Laser Radial Open. Two Finnish skippers now lead the overall fleet with Sari Multala in first place and Tuula Tenkanen second. Denmark’s Alberte Holm Lindberg follows in third place after eight races.
The finals of the Laser Radial Open will be held on the Bathers Bay in-shore course Saturday.. It is the first of eight finals being held over the weekend and spectators lining the Fremantle foreshores will have a spectacular close-up view of the racing.