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Sailors bound for Sail For Gold Regatta 2013

 

The world’s top Olympic and Paralympic sailors return to the 2012 waters for the Sail for Gold Regatta

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy will welcome back some familiar faces on Sunday (9 June) as some of the world’s top Olympic and Paralympic sailors return to the 2012 waters of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour for the start of the Sail for Gold Regatta 2013.

The annual event, which forms the third stage of the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup, will this year be held from the 9 -13 of June and will feature a selection of star studded sailors who competed for Olympic and Paralympic honours at last summer’s 2012 Games.

Returning to WPNSA for the first time since becoming China's first ever Olympic sailing gold medallist in a dinghy after a thrilling medal race at the London 2012 Olympic Games will be China’s Lijia Xu in the Laser Radial class. The 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year will be joined by inform Annalise Murphy from Ireland who claimed two consecutive Radial gold medals at Garda Trentino Olympic Week and the Delta Lloyd Regatta last month, the opening two events of this five event EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup Series.

“I’m not too sure what the key too my success has been at the last few regattas,” said Murphy on her two consecutive gold medals. “I have just been enjoying my racing again and the conditions have been nice, well other people probably wouldn’t say they were nice as it was windy and rainy in Holland but I certainly enjoyed them. The new format has been difficult but its ended up being pretty good for me.”

“I arrived in Weymouth on Sunday and have been training the last few days with the Irish Youth Squad who are also over competing at the event so it’s pretty nice to have a big group of Radials to sail with. We have had light winds for the first few days but its picked up again and it’s a different direction to normal but nice.”

The last time the Irish sailor was in Weymouth and Portland was when she narrowly missed out on the Olympic podium, finishing fourth after an intense medal race in which Lijia Xu was crowned Olympic champion.

“I really like being in Weymouth, I spent a lot of time here over the past four years and trained here a massive amount last year. I did really enjoy the Olympics, I had six days that I remember being pretty good sailing but my medal race I didn’t enjoy as much - but I suppose one of us had to be the looser out of the four, but I’m actually happy to be back. I like Weymouth and Portland, it’s good for cycling and the weather has been great so far – so yes it’s great to be back!” said the Laser Radial sailor.

In the 49er fleet Dave Evans and Ed Powys will be looking for their fourth straight podium finish after securing medals at the Palma and Hyeres Sailing World Cup events and at the Dutch let of the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup, with a gold at this event a main priority for the British Sailing Team duo.

“A gold medal is definitely the aim for this regatta,” said Evans, 27 from Cardiff. “We are generally better in a bigger fleet and a big open track just allows people to use their raw boat speed so we have been working on trying to make our boat go as quick as possible. I think boat speed will be a big factor this week so we will just have to wait and see.”

“We have been out in the Bay with the other British boats and the Australians who are over for this event working on our routines before the event kicks off on Sunday. We have got a great Race Management Team on our course with David Campbell James as our Race Officer and there is a good sized fleet so it should be a really good week of racing here at WPNSA.”

Powys added: “I think the key to our recent success is down to all the hard work we put in in January and February where we ironed out a lot of weaknesses. We are just sailing really well with very few flaws at the moment which is always nice to see.”

Olympic silver medallist Stuart Bithell will be looking to test his mettle against international competition for the first time on home waters since making the switch to the 49er from the 470 dinghy in which he won Olympic silver with Luke Patience in 2012.

“It’s the first time I have been out in Weymouth Bay for a while actually and when we were being towed back in due to no wind earlier I was looking at the Nothe course thinking ‘wow’ it feels like a long time ago now but the memories are certainly still there! I’m just looking forward to a week’s racing in Weymouth in what looks like some great sailing conditions, “enthused Bithell.

Marking its first competitive appearance on British waters since being announced as the two new classes for the Rio 2016 are the 49er FX and Nacra 17 classes with Australia’s Olympic silver medal-winning match racing team of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty having all made the switch to these new classes in their quest for Rio 2016.

The Match Racing skipper Price has teamed up with Caitlin Elks in the two-women 49er FX skiff while Curtis has joined forces with Haylee Outteridge, the sister of London 2012 Laser champion Nathan, with the Sail for Gold Regatta being there first international regatta in the new class. Lucinda Whitty has opted for the mixed-multihull class and has teamed up with Euan Mcnicol, joining a further two Aussies boats in the Nacra 17 class.

World Champion and Olympic silver and bronze medallist windsurfer Nick Dempsey will be favourite to take gold in the RS:X Men’s windsurfing fleet, while RS:X World Championship silver medalist Bryony Shaw will also be looking to dominate proceedings in the RS:X female fleet ahead of her British Sailing Team training partner Izzy Hamilton and ISAF Youth Worlds gold medalist Saskia Sills.

Rounding off the start studded line up at this year’s event is Britain’s Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas in the 2.4mR class who will face stiff competition from fellow British Sailing Team sailor Megan Pascoe who clinched event honours in front of Lucas by a single point at the Dutch leg of the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup towards the end of May.

There will be further action in the Laser class where New Zealand’s Andy Maloney will be eager to carry his momentum forward from the Sailing World Cup events in Hyeres and Palma where he scooped silver and gold respectively, while Delta Lloyd winner Mark Andrews will be looking to throw down the gauntlet once again to his rival GBR sailors in the heavy weight Finn class. Last year’s Sail for Gold winners John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas top the billing in the Paralympic Sonar event.

The event is supported by Dorset County Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. For more information on the 2013 Sail for Gold Regatta please visit the event website www.sailforgold.co.uk , like the event Facebook page or follow @sailforgold on Twitter.

 

Article Author RYA 7/6/2013 16:41

 

Photo © OnEdition

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