Asenathi Jim & Roger Hudson selected
ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year, Olympic medalists, world champions and a Volvo Ocean Race superstar are on their way to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final.
From 26-30 November 2014 283 sailors from 39 nations with proven track records of excellence will fight it out in the Emirati capital for the right to become an ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion.
All ten Olympic events will be contested in Abu Dhabi along with an open kiteboarding event joining the fray around Lulu Island off the UAE capital’s stunning Corniche. The ten Olympic events will contest an opening series and a Medal Race with the kiteboard fleet using a short track format. Prize money will be in awarded to the top three overall finishers in each of the Olympic events from a total prize purse of US$200,000.
With a maximum of just 20 boats present across the 11 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final events, the list of achievements across the board is outstanding.
Competing in the men’s 470 class are South Africans Asenathi Jim & Roger Hudson selected who have notched up another milestone in their quest to represent South Africa in the 2016 Olympics, and to also shoot for a medal. This is a great honour for these two fine gentlemen of our sport, and heroes to many young South African Sailors.
Female 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) are just two star studded names to confirm their attendance. The Brazilians won the coveted ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award just one week ago thanks to their sublime performances across the latter part of 2013 and 2014. Over the last 18 months the Brazilians have only finished off of the 49erFX podium once and they’ll be aiming to extend their run of top finishes in Abu Dhabi.
They will have their work cut out to add gold to their 2014 World and ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca & Hyeres titles with 2013 World Champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) and 2014 European Champions Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) within the pack.
London 2012 Women’s Match Racing Olympic gold medallist Tamara Echegoyen and 2011 470 World Champion Berta Betanzos (ESP) will also compete within the 19-boat 49erFX fleet in Abu Dhabi.
2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee Charline Picon (FRA) will be a force to be reckoned with once again in the Women’s RS:X as she looks to make it five regatta victories in a row. Picon blitzed the pack at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships and will be up for the Abu Dhabi challenge. The pack of 20 Women’s RS:X racers is full of talent and Picon will certainly be hard pressed. London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Marina Alabau (ESP), silver medallist Tuuli Petaja and bronze medallist Zofia Klepacka (POL) will all be gunning for the World Cup Final title.
Volvo Ocean Race winner Franck Cammas (FRA) will sail in the Nacra 17 fleet and he’ll be out to stop his compatriots Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) who have dominated the class. Besson and Riou took the 2013 and 2014 Nacra 17 world titles and have eyes on the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final title. World #1 Nacra 17 pair Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) will also be within the 17-boat fleet.
Twenty 49er teams will be gunning for gold in Abu Dhabi. ISAF Sailing World Cup Abu Dhabi will allow the teams an opportunity to race officially within a fleet of 20 boats, the size that will be present at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Strong contenders in the 49er are in the shape of Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT), Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis (FRA) and a trio of British racers.
Seven of the world’s top ten Finn racers will be competing in Abu Dhabi. World #1 Bjorn Allansson (SWE) will be joined by World #2 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and World #3 Jake Lilley (AUS). Laser Olympic bronze medallist at Athens 2004 and Olympic silver medallist at Beijing 2008 Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) will firmly be in contention for Abu Dhabi gold after a solid 18 months of Finn racing.
In the IKA Formula Kite 2014 World Champions Maxime Nocher (FRA) and Steph Bridge (GBR) will be among the racers as well as Bridge’s son and 2014 European Champion Oliver Bridge (GBR).