Olympic classes action in Holland starts today
Second leg of the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup, the Delta Lloyd Regatta starts today in Medemblik, running until Saturday.
The 29th running of the Dutch Olympic classes regatta, once again sees Delta Lloyd as title sponsor and the shipping company has committed to back the event for another four years, through to the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.
Chairman of the Organising Committee, Arjen Rahusen is pleased with the extension of this partnership: “An organisation such as Delta Lloyd, which is increasing its profile as the backer for watersports in the Netherlands, is a perfect fit with the ambitions of the Delta Lloyd Regatta. The only Dutch sailing event for all Olympic classes has long been recognised as the most innovative and ambitious. With organisations such as Delta Lloyd and new partner Swiss Timing combined with the extension and support of the province of North Holland, we are continuously seeking improvement of the sailing event. More and more the focus is based on making the event more accessible and enjoyable for the public. In partnership with Delta Lloyd we will be trying to raise sailing to a higher level over the next four years.”
Since 2008 the Delta Lloyd Regatta was part of the ISAF Sailing World Cup. Starting this year, the organising committee decided to take a different approach whereby a number of innovations will be introduced. From 2013, the Delta Lloyd Regatta is part of the Champions Sailing Cup that includes other big European Olympic classes events, including Faglia Vela Riva in Italy, Kieler Woche in Germany, Sail for Gold in Great Britain and the Semaine Olympique Francaise in La Rochelle, France.
As one of the initiators of the Champions Sailing Cup, the Delta Lloyd Regatta will be introducing a number of changes. There will be some experiments with the competition formats that will make sailing more accessible for media and visitors. In addition, Swiss Timing will develop a platform where people all over the world can follow the races live in 3D.
The new format contains three phases:
Qualification Series: this will comprise six to eight races.
Final Series: the top 25 from the Qualification Series will progress into the Gold Fleet, the points already won will also be taken forward. The other participants continue in the Silver Fleet where there will also be six to eight races. After the Final Series, the standings will be confirmed.
Medal Race: the top six from the Gold fleet will qualify for the final. The result in this race, added to the combined standings from the Final Series will determine the final positions. For Example: 1st in the Final Series and 3rd at the Final race, means 4 points. Non-finalists participate in one more race which also counts towards final positions.
Among the participants in Medemblik is a full strength Dutch Olympic team is also expected. This includes London 2012 RS:X Men's gold medallist Dorian van Rijsselberghe, who will be competing against the rising Dutch star in the class, Kiran Badloe. The Polish team, French and Israeli will provide for tough competition. Moana Delle (GER), Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) or Bianca Manchon are among the favourites in the RS:X Women.
London 2012 Laser Radial silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester, winner of the World Cup event in Hyères recently, and Finn sailor Pieter Jan Postma will also be competing on the IJsselmeer. Postma will be up against Hyères's winner Andrew Mills as well as Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and Piotr Kula.
Six London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Gold medallists are competing in Medemblik. These include British 2.4mR London 2012 Gold medallist Helena Lucas and Chinese Laser Radial sailor Lijia Xu. With the top three from the last World Cups in Palma and Hyeres from almost all classes, the races on the water around Medemblik will be bristling with tension and excitement.
In the 470, Matt Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) will try to continue on their undefeated record since the start of the season. In the Women's division, 2012 and 2008 Gold medallists, Jo Aleh (NZL) and Elise Rechichi (AUS) will fight it out (Dutch 470 star Lobke Berkhout won't be competing because she's just about to give birth).
Expectations are high for Robert Scheidt's return to the Laser, however the Brazilian Olympic legend will also have to deal with the “down under” sailors: Australian Tom Burton (who took the title in Hyères and placed second in Palma) or Andy Maloney (NZL).
The new Olympic multihull, the Nacra is continuing to attract teams and countries from around the world. The Australian are now present with four boats while the earlier favourites from Holland, France or Sweden are not missing any chance to keep their lead on the fleet.
Event Director, Arjen Rahusen, comments: “We are concentrating our efforts to take sailing closer to the public especially through social media. All the boats will be equipped with trackers with the help of Swiss Timing. We have two video teams, who will feed daily news via the social media network and highlights. We want to give the sailors the best exposure they deserve. It is vital for them and for us!”
The weather for the first day of racing will be challenging going from no wind at the start of the day to strong breeze towards the end.