26 November 2014 – Issued on behalf of ISAF – With practice now over the sailors competing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi are expecting a new challenge and test to come from the waters off of the stunning Corniche.
Over 270 sailors from 38 nations have enjoyed a mixed range of conditions since their arrival early on in the week. The athletes have used the time to acclimatise to their surroundings, different sea states and a variety of wind strengths.
But now, the practice time is over with racing across the ten Olympic and open kiteboarding fleets to kick start the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final at 12:00 local time on 27 November.
For many of the sailors, Abu Dhabi’s waters are very much untested. Practice is key in mastering any venue with hours afloat in advance of competition critical. For two time Finn class Olympian Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) he has been working hard to prepare for the competition and likes what he’s seen thus far, “Today it was quite light and a typical sea breeze. The forecast is showing something more for the upcoming days so we’re going to have some good racing and I hope it’s going to be great.
“The water looks nice and it looks really refreshing for this time of the year, ” he said with a smile. “To come to a venue and country like this, it is a new horizon for us sailors. I have never sailed in such a place and such a country. It’s new and everybody is excited and likewise, I cannot wait to get started.”
France’s Manu Dyen, a veteran of two Olympic Games in the 49er, was quick to echo Gaspic’s comments, “The forecast looks very good for the competition, ” said the Frenchman, “It was quite light breeze yesterday and today but it is very sailable and it is an incredible area with all these buildings around.
“The weather is warm and it’s quite nice to sail in November in 30 degrees.
“It’s my first time in this part of the world so it is quite exciting to discover a new place and new people. We will see how the competition will go and I hope it will be a spectacular World Cup Final.”
The forecast for the regatta suggests that the competitors will battle against a north westerly breeze that comes in around 12-16 knots. However since London 2012 Olympian Veronika Fenclova (CZE) arrived she has seen quite the mix, “It’s my first time here so I don’t know what we should expect, ” commented the Czech Republic sailor, “There’s wind from the land in the morning and in the afternoon there is a sea breeze.
“It was my third day on the water today and everyday has been different wind. I’ve learnt that it’s going to be really hard this week. It will be an interesting competition because there are only a few top boats. That will make it more interesting than a normal regatta. In every race we will be racing against the best sailors here.”
It’s not only the racing areas and competition venue that has impressed the top Olympic athletes. Abu Dhabi’s skyline is most impressive and with a blend of nationalities, upbringing and cultures it’s all coming together in Abu Dhabi. “It’s a rich country and you can see something different to what we are used to, ” explained Kljakovic Gaspic.
“Coming from countries that are really traditional and old style in their architecture to coming to a country like this is for sure interesting. It looks amazing and I have to say I’m pretty surprised and hope they bring more sailing into this wonderful surrounding and bring more competitions like this.”
Racing is scheduled to commence at 12:00 local time on 27 November. Fleet racing will continue on 28 and 29 November before the medals are decided in the Medal Races on Sunday 30 November.