Gold Rush in Miami.......

The Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta starting at the end of the month has attracted a host of top names

Saturday January 19th 2002, Author: Media Pro, Location: United States
211 boats representing 22 countries have so-far signed up for the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta and US Sailing's Olympic Sailing Committee and seven Miami-area sailing venues are at-the-ready to host the world’s strongest sailors from the nine Olympic and two Paralympic classes.

A star-studded roster for the January 30-February 2 event includes the USA.’s 2000 Star Olympic Gold Medallists Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl. The two will have their work cut out, fighting off skippers Jose Van der Ploeg of Spain and Ross McDonald of Canada, respectively Barcelona’s Finn Gold Medallist and Star Bronze Medallist and the new British pairings of Sydney Olympic Finn Gold Medallist, Ian Percy and Steve Mitchell, and 49er Silver Medallist, Ian Barker, who is sailing with Ed Peel.

Perhaps the most head-turning entry will be the 470 men’s team of skipper Paul Foerster and crew Kevin Burnham. Foerster, who won an Olympic silver medal in the Flying Dutchman back in 1992, skippered in the 470 Men’s event to claim the Olympic silver medal in Sydney, while Burnham, a 470 Men’s Olympic silver medal crew from 1992, has most recently taken a foray into big-boat sailing. For anyone questioning whether either veteran had hung up his dinghy boots for good, this is the answer.

And it will be quite a sight to see ISAF President Paul Henderson sailing the 2.4 Metre. He’ll have to measure up, however, to 2001 IFDS World Disabled Sailing Silver Medallist Tom Brown, 2000 Paralympian Brian Harding from Great Britain, and others in this unique class that levels the playing field among disabled and able-bodied sailors.

In the Tornado, two-time Olympians John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree will face Australia’s two-time medallist Mitch Booth, now sailing for The Netherlands. Savannah silver medallist in the Star, Hans Wallen of Sweden, has switched to the Tornado and will be a formidable force, as well, in that class.

Great Britain’s 2000 Europe Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson and Bermuda’s match racing champion Paula Lewin will headline the class set to make its Olympic debut in Greece - the Yngling — but will face a fierce American onslaught by skippers Betsy Alison, Jody Swanson, Hannah Swett and Carol Cronin.

In the 470 Women’s class, 1996 Europe Olympic Bronze Medallist Courtenay Dey will be taking her red-white-and-blue stand against Germany’s Alina Grobe and America's rising star Amanda Clark, among others.

Defending champions registered include Star skipper John MacCausland, Mistral sailors Peter Wells and Dominique Vallee of Canada, Laser sailor Paul Goodison of Britain, Canadian Finn sailor Larry Lemeiux , Europe sailor Meg Gaillard and the 49er team of Andy Mack and Adam Lowry.

The classes for the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Regattas: Europe, Finn, 470 (men and women), 49er, Laser, Mistral (men and women), Sonar, Star, Tornado, 2.4 Metre, Yngling.

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