Major sailing coup for Melbourne
MELBOURNE will host the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup – Sail Melbourne for the next three years, thanks to a funding commitment from the Victorian State Government.
Sports and Recreation Minister the Hon. James Merlino revealed the news at the newly redeveloped Sandringham Yacht Club last week - the announcement cementing Melbourne as Australia's Olympic class sailing capital.
The international Grand Prix of sailing for Olympic sailors and aspirants, the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Sail Melbourne will be the only world cup event held in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sail Melbourne chairman, and Olympic gold medallist, Mark Turnbull said:``This event will not only attract the top sailors to fight for victory but provides local sailors (young and old) with a great opportunity to meet and sail against their heroes on home waters. The regatta includes the two Paralympic classes, the 2.4m and Skud, and we will be hosting an event for all the international junior and youth classes at the same time. It really is a major international sporting event that all Victorians will be able to participate in''
Sail Melbourne will be the first event of the SWC each year before teams head off for Miami (USA), Palma (Spain), Hyeres (France), Medemblik (Holland), Kiel (Germany) and finishing in September at Weymouth (England), after which the ISAF SWC champions will be crowned.
Last year's Sail Melbourne event was represented by around 20 countries. It is hoped sailors from more than 40 nations will compete this year.
Yachting Victoria CEO Ross Kilborn said securing the SWC for the next three years was a major coup for Melbourne and sailing in general.
``It will have a major economic impact on Melbourne,'' Mr Kilborn said. ``It cements this great city as Australia's leading sailing destination, and provides a terrific international profile as a sailing and tourism desitination.''
He said Sandringham Yacht Club's $15 million renovation now made it the best yacht club facility in the country.
``It is now the Rod Laver Arena of sailing,'' Mr Kilborn said. ``It is a fantastic place to host the SWC – it has great views of the sailing and is an excellent venue for corporate hospitality, the public and the media to appreciate our sport.''
Mr Turnbull said Sail Melbourne welcomed the Victorian State Government's support and recognition of this event on the Major Events calendar with events including; the F1 ING Australian Grand Prix, Australian Open Tennis, Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach and the UCI Track Cycling World Cup.
``We look forward to delivering a first class event and implementing exciting new changes to grow the event and sport going forward," he said.
Sail Melbourne patron John Bertrand said: ``Sail Melbourne is now a grand slam regatta within the Sailing World Cup. It doesn't get any bigger than that!
Other than the Olympic Games, this is now one of the most prestigious sailing regatta's in the world.''
Olympic gold medallist Glenn Ashby, and Victorian Institute of Sport sailor, was also elated at the news. ``This is great news for Melbourne and Victorian Sailors,'' he said. He was equally pleased to hear that Sailing has just been elevated to a Tier 1 Sport at the VIS where he has been training as an individual scholarship holder for many years "Together these two announcements are a real breakthrough for Victorian sailing – and should help take more Victorian sailors to the front of their fleets"
Sail Melbourne: www.sailmelbourne.com.au
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