World class sailors in 10 Olympic classes and 3 Paralympic classes will be competing this week at the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami on January 26-31. More than 850 sailors from 63 nations will be vying for qualification and valuable points towards the Abu Dhabi Final later this year.
Top ranked Canadian Laser Radial sailor Isabella Bertold will be battling against the best in class including top ranked sailors Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Evi Van Acker (BEL). “This is going to be a really fun regatta! All of the contenders will be racing, every little mistake will be costly, I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Pan Am qualification is also on the line for the Radial contingent with top Canadian finisher securing a spot for Toronto 2015. Bertold finished 4th at the 2011 Pan Am Games and is looking to improve upon that result should she earn the opportunity again this year. “I think it would be pretty awesome to hear the Canadian National Anthem on Canadian soil.” Fellow teammates Brenda Bowskill, and Claire Merry will be looking to make their move and claim top spot next week.
The Laser fleet is historically the largest fleet of the event and this year is no exception. The maxed out fleet of 120 boats includes 22 of the top world ranked laser sailors. There are 17 Canadian sailors registered including CST sailors Robert Davis, Lee Parkhill, Tom Ramshaw, Evert McLaughlin and Matt Ryder.
2012 Olympian Greg Douglas will be aiming for the Finn podium this year after placing 5th at last year’s event. Douglas will throw on the gloves on against the top 5 ranked Finn sailors in the world including Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), Caleb Paine (USA) and Björn Allansson (SWE).
470 North American champions, Jake and Graeme Saunders, will be working hard to challenge the dominant Aussie’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan at the front of the fleet while Nacra team Luke Ramsay and Nikola Girke will be putting pressure on their rivals in the 50 boat fleet launching from the Miami Rowing Club. 49er and FX fleets will also sail out of the Miami Rowing Club with healthy sized contingents from Canada, Britain and US.
RSX fleets will be launching from the Coconut Grove Sailing Club with an extensive fleet of board sailors including Canadian Olympian Zac Plavsic. Plavsic just recently qualified for the 2015 Pan Am Games at the Miami Midwinters.
The Paralympic fleets of 2.4mR, Sonar and SKUD 18 will be sailing out of Shake a Leg Centre, with Canada well represented in all three events. Canadian Allan Leibel will be looking to surmount the dominant force of Megan Pascoe and Helena Lucas (GBR) both in the hunt for medals. Canadian SKUD’s John McRoberts and Jackie Gay will take on British rivals Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell for the chance at gold and the Canadian Sonar team Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell, and Scott Lutes will look to add another medal to their collection following their success at the IFDS World Championships.
Competitors in the Paralympic events will have five days of fleet racing from Monday to Friday. Medal Races across the ten Olympic events will bring the regatta to a close with a medal ceremony on Saturday, January 31.
Source : Sailing Scuttlebutt www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/