20150608_AST_Weymouth_5_08439_SonarThe eyes of the sailing world are back on Weymouth and Portland with Olympic medallists returning to the venue of the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth/Portland with just fourteen months to go until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

On the road to Rio, Australian Sailing is looking strong with the Australian Sailing Team and Squad competing in full force at the ISAF Sailing World Cup after all but two development boats qualified to contest the ten Olympic classes at Weymouth.

The Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) will be represented in Weymouth with 22 boats in nine of the ten Olympic class events, which will see the top 40 sailors compete in each class. In addition, the Australian Sailing Team will also be represented with one boat in the Paralympic Sonar class.

This ISAF Sailing World Cup is the second major event for Australia’s sailors on the road to Rio 2016 selection and the third of five 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup series events that lead up to the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi later this year.

Each World Cup class has a maximum of forty entries with the world’s top 30 ranked sailors having qualified for an invitation to compete at Weymouth and Portland through their ISAF ranking (as of 27 April 2015). The remaining entries were earned at last week’s qualification event, the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, the Netherlands.

Top results at the key international regattas are required to be named in the Australian Sailing Team and to be nominated for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic teams and Weymouth and Portland will be a good opportunity for final preparations before heading into the major class Championships coming up in 2015 as well as the Rio Test event (August 15-24).

In the Paralympic boat classes, Australia’s Sonar Team of Paralympians Colin Harrison (WA), Jonathan Harris (NSW) and Russell Boaden (WA) will be competing in the six-boat Sonar fleet.

VIDEO: Australian Sonar Team speak about the competition ahead.

The team took home the silver medal at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyères and come to Weymouth after winning Gold at the Delta Lloyd Regatta last week.

It is a return to the London 2012 Paralympic venue for Colin Harrison and Jonathan Harris who are excited to be back:

“It’s great to be back in Weymouth and it’s our first time back since the London 2012 Paralympics. It’s a spectacular venue especially when the sun is shining,” Colin Harrison said. “Since 2012 we’ve reformed the team and have Rusty (Russell Boaden) back on the team, and he has brought a lot of experience to the front of the boat. We’ve been doing very well with our results and have been on the podium at every regatta since the 2012 Paralympics. So we’re really gelling well as a team and getting the results.

And looking back to 2012 Jonathan Harris added: “We didn’t make the podium in 2012 so I think we have some unfinished business here. It’s good to be back and hopefully we can finish off what we started back then.”

By the Australian Sailing Team
Posted: 9/6/2015

Photo with thanks to Beau Outteridge / Australian Sailing Team