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Weymouth hosts ISAF World Cup Sailing Finale
The 2012 Olympic sailing venue at Weymouth and Portland is the host for the final event of the 2008-09 ISAF Sailing World Cup series where the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta launched into action today.
Over 700 sailors representing 38 nations have gathered at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy for the 2009 edition of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, where racing starts today and continues through until the Medal Races this Saturday 19 September. Following on from stops in, Australia, the USA, Spain, France, The Netherlands and Germany, the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup series reaches its conclusion in Great Britain this week, with World Cup honours up for grabs in the 10 Olympic and three Paralympic sailing events.
Amongst the star names is British Beijing gold medallists Pippa Wilson she competes in the 470 fleet with new crew Saskia Clark.
Also eagerly anticipated is the Women's Match Racing event, which will make its debut Olympic appearance at London 2012. Weymouth hosts a fascinating line up of skippers which includes 2007 and 2008 World Champion Claire Leroy (FRA) competing at her first World Cup event, Beijing silver medallist in the Yngling Mandy Mulder (NED) and Olympic gold medallist in the one-person Laser Radial dinghy Anna Tunnicliffe (USA).
Other names to look out for is European silver medallist Blanca Manchon (ESP). The Australian team looks very strong, featuring 49er World Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) and 470 Olympic gold medallists Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson in the women's fleet World Cup Battle.
In the battle for World Cup success, 20 points are up for grabs for the winner of each event, with 19 going to second place, down to 1 point for a finish of 20th. Scores for the World Cup are added up grand-prix style, with Weymouth the seventh and final scoring opportunity where the winners of the 2009 ISAF Sailing World Cup will be decided. The World Cup prizegiving will follow on from the Medal Races on Saturday, with ISAF President Göran Petersson in attendance to offer his congratulations to the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup winners.
The battle for the Star World Cup title is an honour already guaranteed to the Danish pair of Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer, who have an unbeatable 22-point advantage in the Women's 470 Standings.
Amongst the one-person events Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) is 16 points ahead in the Laser Radial. However, as the US skipper is competing in the match racing event, she is vulnerable to attack from second-placed Tina Mihelic (CRO), who will grab the World Cup title if she can finish fourth or better. Great Britain also has another world Cup title wrapped up in the Women's Match Racing event, where Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Ally Martin (GBR) are 22 points clear of the chasing pack.
Blanca Manchon of Spain is similarly assured of World Cup glory in the Women's RS:X event thanks to her massive 34-point lead.
In the Paralympic events, Britain's Megan Pascoe is five points clear in the 2.4mR. Scott Whitman and Julia Dorsett (USA) lead the SKUD18 and John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) the Sonar both by a single point.
Racing in Weymouth begins today, with the series continuing through until the final Medal Races on Saturday 19 September, when Weymouth is opening its doors with free entry to the public.