OLYMPIANS FLOCK TO SAIL MELBOURNE12 Dec 2018
A selection of the world’s best sailors has assembled at Melbourne’s Royal Brighton Yacht Club this week to contest the 2018 edition of Sail Melbourne International (SMI) starting tomorrow, Thursday, 13 December 2018.
Sail Melbourne is Australia’s premier Olympic and Invited Classes Regattas, held annually in the waters of Port Phillip, Victoria and is the largest annual ‘Off the Beach’ regatta in the southern hemisphere.
Racing at Sail Melbourne International will run from Thursday, 13 December to Sunday, 16 December 2018 with 375 competitors from 18 countries contesting the event.
Less than two years out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, this year’s Australian summer sailing season has attracted the best of the best with Australia providing some of the leading training and competition conditions in preparation for the Olympic Games.
"It’s an exciting time for sailing in Melbourne and Victoria and it’s great to see close to 370 entries at this year’s Sail Melbourne International. The event is key for the Australian domestic calendar for both the Olympic classes looking towards Tokyo, and also the youth classes with their eyes on more distant horizons. It’s also great to welcome sailors from fifteen countries to this year’s event," Event Director Mark Turnbull said.
With Victoria hosting a series of the World Sailing Olympic qualifying regattas at next year’s “2020 Summer of Sailing”, Sail Melbourne International is a welcome opportunity for domestic and international sailors alike to test Port Phillip’s waters.
Having some of the world’s best sailors at Sail Melbourne International offers a great opportunity for Australia’s up-and-coming sailing talent and the young champions of the future to mix it up with the national and international champions of today on the Port Phillip racetrack, including Rio medallists and members of the Australian Sailing Team on the road to Tokyo 2020.
Australia’s Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallists and current men’s 470 class world #1 tea Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) will be contesting Sail Melbourne International in a fleet that includes sailors from seven countries and features Spanish 2018 World Championships bronze medallists Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nicolás Rodrigues Garcí-Paz.
Belcher and Ryan finished second at the first round of the Sailing World Cup at the Olympic venue in Enoshima, Japan and finished just ahead of Japanese team of Daichi Takayama and Kimihiko Imamura at Sail Sydney.
“Sail Melbourne and Sail Sydney are great opportunities to get through some testing and to get back on the water after a long European season. Will and I have taken some time out of the boat competing in other classes over the last couple of months, so it’s great to come back together, re-assess where we are and plan towards 2019. We have a great fleet here so we are looking forward to the racing,” Mat Belcher said.
Belcher was instrumental in supporting a couple of the international crews to come to Australia to compete and organised some boats for the international visitors to compete in.
“We are really fortunate that we have a small but strong fleet competing. After a few discussions with some teams earlier in the year, it just worked out that they wanted to come to Australia and that we were able to help them come over,” Belcher said.
The 470 will be racing in a mixed fleet, including the Australian Sailing Squad’s winner of Sail Sydney Nia Jerwood (WA) and Monique des Vries (WA). The WA pairing had a tight battle with Germany’s top women’s 470 sailors Frederike Loewe and Anna Markfort in Sydney.
Sail Melbourne International is World Sailing 100 points graded Olympic sailing events and as such are ranked as major international events on the World Sailing event calendar.
See entries here
Follow results here
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