First up: Women's match racing
Following years of preparation from athletes and event organisers alike, racing is set to begin at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships on Saturday.
More than 1200 sailors from 80 nations have made the trip to Western Australia with athletes competing not only for their World Championships but a chance to qualify their countries for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The first two days of racing will feature the Women’s Match Racing competition battling it out on Fremantle Harbour in the opening round robin, before the 470 men, Laser Radial, RS:X women and Finn classes get into the action on Monday.
The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew of Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Katie Spithill will be the first Australians to hit the water on Saturday with compatriots Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty set to race on Sunday.
Souter, Eastwell and Spithill will be competing at just their second regatta together in Perth with Souter saying that they’re ready to get into racing.
“We’re feeling pretty confident going into racing tomorrow,” said Souter. “We’re not exactly sure who we’re racing first up but we’re the only Aussies in action tomorrow so we’re ready to get out there.”
The six members of the Australian Women’s Match Racing Team have spent the past few weeks training in Perth with Eastwell commenting that the time has been invaluable for the new crew.
“It’s been a great few weeks here training in Perth,” said Eastwell. “We’ve been getting use to the conditions, the sea breeze, the easterly, the shiftiness, getting back into it has been great.”
The Women’s Match Racing competition will take place in Fremantle Harbour with the venue foreign to all 31 teams as the working port has been off limits for training.
Racing will take place close to shore with the Match Racing course ideal for spectators.
“It’s a challenging venue but also a really good venue,” said Spithill. “It would be great for people to come down and have a look, we’ll be close by and hopefully put on a good show and get some good results.”