25 January 2015 – Issued on behalf of ISAF – Bigger than ever in 2015, with an atmosphere crackling with adrenaline, the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella, was ground zero on Sunday as competitors from 63 countries made their final preparations.
US Sailing’s premiere event brings together a who’s who of Olympic and Paralympic talent. Six days of racing will test them and leave them judged. Australia’s silver-medallist 470 skipper of last year, Mat Belcher, summed up that experience by saying simply that being on that racecourse, with that fleet, “was essential.” Essential, that is, to anyone who hopes to be standing on a podium in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympic Games.
With as many as 800 sailors entered, the 26th year of this event sets a record for participation. The ISAF Sailing World Cup, presented by Sunbrella, is the only U.S. stop on the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup series. Melbourne, Australia kicked off the first of six events, with successful sailors earning qualification spots and ranking points toward a World Cup finale in Abu Dhabi late in 2015.
All 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes named to the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games are racing here. The 10 Olympic classes are: Laser Radial (women), Laser (men), Finn (men), Men’s RS:X, Women’s RS:X, 49er (men), 49er FX (women), Men’s 470, Women’s 470, and Nacra 17 catamaran (mixed). Paralympic classes included are: 2.4mR, SKUD-18 and Sonar.
ISAF medals, gold, silver and bronze, will be awarded to the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class on Saturday, January 31. Competitors in the Paralympic classes will have five days of fleet racing (Monday-Friday) with no Medal Race.
Antonio González de la Madrid, ISAF Technical Delegate, is pleased, he said, “To see so many sailors from South America and the Caribbean. These are countries that are not represented so much in racing in Europe. Looking ahead, the forecast for breeze is good; much better than the extreme light air we had last year; so we face fewer challenges there. We do have challenges on the Laser course because we have a wealth of entries, and we have to split the fleet. But we have the best race officials in the world working on behalf of the best sailors in the world and we’ll be fine.”
Reflecting upon the decision some years ago to locate an Olympic Training Site here, Josh Adams, Managing Director of US Olympic Sailing, observed, “A turnout this large and this competitive confirms that Miami is a preferred venue for Olympic and Paralympic competition. The heat is rising as we come closer to the 2016 Games in Rio, and we’ll see the evidence on the water this week.”
The 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami is presented by Sunbrella. , with gold sponsors Beneteau, Jenneau and Lagoon Catamarans. Silver sponsors are Sperry, Chubb Personal Insurance and the City of Miami. Supplier sponsors are Harken, McLube, CRSA, the University of Miami Health Sports Medicine, Vetus Maxwell and Adventure Sports.