Ultra 30 revival attracts Olympic interest

Ian Barker plans busy season of Ultra, 49er and Star sailing

Wednesday November 8th 2000, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
The Ultra 30 circuit could be back on our TV screens again next year if Eddie Warden-Owen has his way. After a year’s hiatus due to sponsorship falling through at the last minute, Owen is reasonably confident of getting things moving again, boosted by the prospect of having several successful Olympians in the line-up.
"I’m having several conversations which could come to something," said Owen. "Now it’s a matter of people putting pen to paper and making it happen." Owen said he would be keen to get Ben Ainslie, who sailed with him aboard the Hoya Ultra 30 in 1999, involved once more.

But one name to have definitely thrown his hat in the ring is 49er silver medallist Ian Barker. "Ian is keen to compete next year, and is off pursuing his own sponsorship opportunities," commented Owen.

Barker has already set himself up for a busy season. He is just about to compete in the 505 Worlds in Durban, but next year has a number of goals he wants to pursue. "I’ll be competing in the 49er World Grand Prix next year, hopefully racing an Ultra, and I’ll start to get up and running with the Star." Barker had just returned from Edinburgh mid-way through all the ISAF shenanigans from which the Star appears to have emerged relatively unscathed.

The question remains for our other Olympic heroes what boats they will compete in. With Ian Percy and Ben Ainslie declaring their retirement from the Finn and Laser respectively, there is an awful lot of talent to cram into very few classes, particularly if the Soling were to be rejected from the five-ring circus - which, half-way through the ISAF conference, is a distinct possibility.

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