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Sailing - 26. January 2009.

Countdown On To 2009 ISAF Team Racing World Championship In Perth

Just 10 days remain until the start of the 2009 ISAF Team Racing World Championship in Perth, Australia where teams from Asia, Europe, Oceania and North America will put their boat handling and communication skills to the ultimate test.

The Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and South of Perth Yacht Club are the joint hosts for the eighth edition of the ISAF Team Racing World Championship, the first to be held in Australia. Racing will take place on Swan River, just 10 minutes from Perth's CBD, giving the city's residents a perfect opportunity to get a close up view of this extremely spectator-friendly discipline. As well as hosting the 2009 Team Worlds, preparations are already well underway in Perth for the arrival of next edition of the ISAF Sailing World Championships in December 2011.

Helmut Czasny, ISAF Competitions Manager, said: "The ISAF Team Racing World Championship is set to provide an early highlight of 2009. Perth, the Swan River and the Fremantle Doctor are renowned right around the sailing world and I'm sure all of the competing teams are eagerly anticipating the start of racing. Team racing is one of the most exciting areas of our sport and I'm delighted this championship can once again provide a showcase for the incredible skills of the world's top team-racing sailors."

Team racing is a unique discipline within sailing, where teams of boats complete against each other in a series of short, frenetic and highly skilled races. Quick tactical decisions, rapid manoeuvring and team work are the key elements to success and the current masters of the art are the New York Yacht Club Silver Panda team, who will line up in Perth to defend the ISAF Team Racing World Championship title they won in 2007.

The US team of Clay Bischoff, Lisa Keith, Colin Merrick, Amanda Callahan, Pete Levesque and Liz Hall have swept all before them over the past couple of years, not only winning the 2007 ISAF Team Racing World Championship in Gandia, Spain, but also 2007 and 2008 editions of the Hinman Trophy and Wilson Trophy, the prestigious team racing championships of the USA and Great Britain respectively.

The Silver Panda team are aiming for their second World Championship Trophy and an unprecedented fourth consecutive title for the USA. In order to meet that goal they will have to overcome the challenge from 13 other teams registered for entry, who represent the best of the world's team racing talent.

Also from the USA come the Long Island Sound-based Tannery Loungers, who will be hoping that heavy weather conditions expected in Perth will give them an edge over their national rivals. The three Australian entries will get boost from competing on their home waters, particularly the local teams coming from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and the Royal Perth Yacht Club. Two of the British teams come from the West Kirby Yacht Club, hosts of the first ISAF Team Racing World Championship in 1995. The third GBR team includes Matthew Findlay and Thomas Hebbert, part of the British team that won the silver medal in Spain two years ago as well as team racing legend Steve Tylecote. Tylecote is already a four-time medallist at the Team Racing Worlds, but has been lured back into action by the promise of competition on Swan River and the famous Fremantle Doctor.

New Zealand, bronze medal winners in 2007, also send a full quota of three teams, which include 470 sensation Peter Burling, who aged just 17 years was the youngest competitor at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. Japan represents Asia with two teams, the Hiroshima Zoomers and Freedom, whilst Ireland compete the line up with one team entered.

Racing will be held in Pacer dinghies, with each team consisting of six members, who compete in pairs (i.e. three boats per team). In a match, two teams (six boats) race to try and achieve a winning combination of places - the lowest score wins. The scoring system is: 1st place - 1 point; 2nd place - 2 points; 3rd place - 3 points; and so on. A team that scores ten or less is therefore the winner, so that 2,3,4 beats 1,5,6. Find out more about how the racing works on the ISAF Team Racing microsite www.sailing.org/teamracing.

Following registration, the 2009 ISAF Team Racing World Championship officially gets underway with the Opening Ceremony on the 1 February. Racing begins on the 2 February and continues through until 8 February. The first stage is a round robin tournament, followed by the semi-finals and the final.

As well as the battle for the ISAF Team Racing World Championship Trophy, the championship also incorporates an Under 21 competition, with the Ciudad de Gandia Trophy awarded to the winners.

Full details on the 2009 Worlds, past results and more can be found at the ISAF Team Racing World Championship microsite www.sailing.org/teamworlds.

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