The Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2014 is set to be the largest Olympic classes sailing competition ever held in Brazil and many of the world’s top competitors are ready for the test.
Organised by Rio 2016 and Confederação Brasileira de Vela (CBVela) in conjunction with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the regatta will test the field of play, equipment, workforce, systems and procedures two years out from the Olympic Sailing Competition.
Five race courses will be assessed during the course of the regatta with three areas – Ponte, Escola Naval and Pão de Açucar –situated inside Guanabara Bay and the other two – Copacabana and Niterói – located outside the bay in open water.
The Test Event will be the first opportunity to start developing the skills of the 1,000+ workforce who will be critical to the success of the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. The on water race committee teams are one such group and their training programme will get underway under the guidance of International ISAF officials from Brazil and overseas.
Each nation is entitled to two places per Olympic event for the Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta and two teams will have full squads racing on Rio’s water.
The British and Brazilian teams will have 20 boats and 30 sailors competing throughout the week however the Brazilians will benefit from it being their home waters.
World #1 49erFX team Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) will be the favourites in the 16-boat fleet having finished on the podium at 11 of 14 ISAF ranked regattas since jumping in the skiff. The pair are local to Rio but won’t be taking anything for granted, “It is very hard to tell what is going to happen. We have to be prepared for everything and whatever comes, will be.
“We train here but racing is always different. I expect a low number of sailors but with a high level so it will be the perfect training session.”
As Grael predicts the level is set to be high in the 49erFX fleet with 2013 World Champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) within the fleet. Speaking on their blog the pair said, “The main goal for the trip is to get accustomed to being in Rio, and the sailing conditions here. This competition is the first run-through event for both the organisers and sailors, and it will be great to get to know the rough course areas planned for the 2016 Olympics. After a great break, we are ready to get back into and learn as much as possible.”
Strong teams from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden and the USA will join the Brazilians and Kiwis on the 49erFX start line in Rio.
Fresh from 49er Open European success Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) will spearhead the 19-boat 49er fleet. The Kiwis have won five consecutive 49er regattas including two ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas, one World Championship and two Open European Championships.