Sail for Gold back on track

RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park talks us through ISAF Sailing World Cup developments
Britain’s top Olympic regatta, Sail For Gold is to undergo a welcome transformation this year. Following the success of the Olympic sailing event in Weymouth in 2012, Sail For Gold unexpectedly seemed to fall by the wayside. In 2013 and 2014 it was part of the grandly entitled EUROSAF Champion’s Sailing Cup, but didn’t manage to attract the comprehensive list of international A-list sailors that attended the regatta before London 2012. But this is set to change in 2015 now that it is one of the five events on the ISAF Sailing World Cup, one of the two Europeans fixtures following Hyeres next week. The decision to bring what we now call ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth & Portland into ISAF’s official Olympic circuit was made at the ISAF Council meeting in the autumn and the event looks set to remain part of the SWC for at least four years hence. The campaign to get Sail For Gold include was spearheaded by Bas Edmonds and John Derbyshire at the RYA and required a monumental submission to be made to ISAF. At the Council meeting it was deemed that the Sailing World Cup should have two European events, one in northern Europe, one in southern. The latter was a toss-up between Princess Sofia in Palma and Hyeres in France, with Hyeres winning the fight, while the former was between Holland, Denmark, Kiel and Weymouth. Clearly the excellent Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy in Weymouth plus the good experience of London 2012, demonstrating not just the top class facility but also the high level of race management on offer swayed the gentlemen in blazers. Smaller fleets Hyeres next week (and to be duplicated at the ISAF SWC Weymouth & Portland in June) will be the first occasion that the new fleet number restrictions