Seventy nine nations were represented at the Opening Ceremony with over 1, 100 sailors set to compete for world championship glory in the ten Olympic events on show in Fremantle.
The Women’s Match Racers hit the water on 3 December followed by the Women’s RS:X, Laser Radial, Men’s 470 and Finn fleet racing on 5 December. Their Medal Races take place on 11 December, the same day the Star fleet commence. The Stars complete their racing on 17 December. The Women’s 470, 49er, Laser and Men’s RS:X start racing on 12 December and close the Championships on 18 December.
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) come into the regatta in fine form having won gold at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, Olympic Test Event and moving to the top of the 49er ISAF World Rankings. The Australians took the title by count back after the Medal Race with the 2010 49er World Champions and ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (ESP) settling for silver.
With Martinez and Fernandez on Volvo Ocean Race duty the Australians will be one of the favourites. But competition in Perth will be fast, competitive and combative as the 49er sailors come head-to-head with the Fremantle Doctor and winds between 18-25 knots.
Austria’s Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch will look to upset the form book in Perth and despite dropping down the rankings to #2 in the world they know what it takes to win after placing on the podium at three of five 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup Regattas.
Outteridge and Jensen’s training partners Will and Sam Phillips (AUS) and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) will be in contention throughout the regatta. The two teams finished behind the World #1 duo at the first 2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta, Sail Melbourne and will be out to cause a stir.
The Star class features some of the most experienced sailors in the world with seven world champions amongst the fleet.
Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) have shown the Star sailors that they are the team to beat following their 20 point victory at the Olympic Test Event and four regatta wins in the 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup.
Star European Championship winners Diego Negri and Enrico Voltolini (ITA) will be hotly fancied as will Great Britain’s Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson and with world champions in abundance it’ll be a tense week for the 40 registered boats.
All of the world’s top ten Men’s RS:X sailors will be in Perth fighting for World Championship glory. Amongst them is Nick Dempsey (GBR) and Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED). The sailors enjoyed a remarkable battle during the Olympic Test Event that saw the overall lead change hands on multiple occasions. The Medal Race was full of drama and excitement but the Dutchman came out with the gold medal.
The two will renew their rivalry in Perth and it will be a contest to keep an eye on but World #1 and defending RS:X World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL), Beijing 2008 RS:X gold medallist Tom Ashley (NZL) and the rest of the fleet will all be fighting for top spot.
Great Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) head into their first Women’s 470 World Championships together and after they were awarded a quota spot for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition the pressure on them is off. The pair sailed an excellent regatta at the Olympic Test Event finishing second to Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JPN). Both teams will be competing for top honours alongside World #1 Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Farrar-Kinsolving (USA), local girls Belinda Stowell and Elise Rechichi (AUS), 2010 World Champions Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout and a string of other experienced and up and coming Women’s 470 sailors.
With 140 registered boats, the Laser is the largest fleet at the Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds. Tom Slingsby (AUS) and Paul Goodison (GBR) are two of the favourites but with such a large fleet anything is possible on any given day.
The Women’s Match Racing competition opens the regatta on 3 December at 10:00 local time.
The Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships website will bring you results, tracking, live updates and all the latest news both on and off the water.
More than 25 international and national broadcasters have signed up to take the television coverage of Perth 2011 and viewers will also be able to watch live coverage of all ten Medal Races on the Perth 2011 website as well as daily highlights on www.sailing.org/TV.