24 September 2014 – Issued on behalf of ISAF – A string of Olympic, World and Continental Champions have confirmed attendance for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final, scheduled for 26-30 November in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Following the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain a number of the world’s finest athletes quickly accepted their invitation after picking up one of the qualification places available in Santander.
With just 20 boats in each Olympic event and an open IKA Formula Kite event the competition is set to be fierce.
2014 470 World and Open European Champions, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) in the men’s and Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) in the women’s were two of the first teams to confirm attendance following their success in Santander.
For Belcher and Ryan their victory in Santander was their second world championship title together but for Belcher, it was his fifth in a row, having won three with Malcolm Page in the build-up to London 2012. Vadlau and Ogar overcame the pressure in a do-or-die Medal Race in Santander, taking victory and with it their first world title.
Both crews will form part of the men’s and women’s fleets in Abu Dhabi and will aim to add ISAF Sailing World Cup Final gold to their long list of honours.
The Laser and Laser Radial fleets will see numerous World and Olympic gold medallists’ line up on the Abu Dhabi start line. 2014 Laser World Champion Nicholas Heiner (NED) will be joined by silver medallist and big performer Tom Burton (AUS) as well as four time world championship medallist Nick Thompson (GBR). With London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and the dangerous Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) signed up as well, the competition will be some of the finest 2014 will see.
Former Laser Radial World Champions Paige Railey (USA) and Tina Mihelic (CRO) are just two of the big names down to compete in Abu Dhabi. Railey won world championship gold in 2005 whilst Mihelic took the honours in 2013 and they will look to use their experience to take the inaugural Sailing World Cup Final title. They will be joined by ISAF Worlds silver medallist Josefin Olsson (SWE) and London 2012 bronze medallist Evi Van Acker (BEL).
Charline Picon (FRA) will be aiming to extend her unbeaten run in the Women’s RS:X to five regattas at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final. Picon has World, European, World Cup Mallorca and Olympic Test Event gold medals under her belt and ISAF Sailing World Cup Final gold will complete the set. The world’s leading RS:X racers will join her in the fleet including World #1 Flavia Tartaglini (ITA), 2014 ISAF Worlds bronze medallist Maayan Davidovich (ISR) and Olympic bronze medallist Bryony Shaw (GBR).
The Men’s RS:X will see high octane racing coming from seasoned campaigners such as Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL), Piotr Myszka (POL), Nick Dempsey (GBR), Toni Wilhelm (GER) and Byron Kokkalanis (GRE). Young hotshots Mattia Camboni (ITA) and Tom Squires (GBR) will join them.
In the IKA Formula Kite, World Champion Maxime Nocher (FRA) and European Champion Oliver Bridge (GBR) are both down to compete alongside tour regulars such as Riccardo Leccese (ITA) and Florian Trittel (ESP).
Further key entrants include World #1 Nacra 17 team Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA), London 2012 Women’s Match Racing gold medallist Tamara Echegoyen and 2011 470 World Champion Berta Betanzos (ESP) in the 49erFX and 2010 Finn World Champion Ed Wright (GBR).
With further entries to be announced across all events in due course, strength in depth will be present as sailors bid for a share of the prize fund.
The ten Olympic events will contest an opening series and a Medal Race with the kiteboard fleet using a short track format. Prize money will be in awarded to the top three overall finishers in each of the Olympic events from a total prize purse of US$200, 000.