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470 World Championships at Barcelona, Spain - Preview

by International 470 Class Asssociation
12-19 June 2012

Racing at the 2012 470 World Championships gets underway from 12-19 June 2012, with 153 teams from 43 nations registered and fighting for World Championship success and Olympic dreams.

Racing at the 2012 470 World Championships gets underway from 12-19 June 2012, with 153 teams from 43 nations registered and fighting for World Championship success and Olympic dreams.

As the second and final qualification event for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, this year's World Championship marks the last opportunity to secure nation slots, and for teams to make their mark and be selected for their national Olympic squad.

The conclusion of the 2012 470 World Championship will mark the reward of Olympic participation for some and 2012 Olympic dreams crushed for others. With only 27 nation slots in the 470 Men and 20 in the 470 Women at the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, the arena is set for some intense and thrilling action as the last Olympic places are awarded. But, whilst some teams are totally focused on the Olympics, for others the 2012 470 World Championships is simply about competing at the pinnacle annual event of the class.

Nations already qualified to the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition are:
470 Men - Argentina, Australia, Austria, China, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA. 470 Women – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, USA.

The 470 Charter Boat Programme has provided brand new 470s to young, emerging talent from Malaysia, Spain, Turkey and the USA.

470 Men

The 470 Men favourites are unquestionably the reigning 470 World Champions and #1 world ranked pairing of Mat Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS). The Aussie dream team are on fire to claim a third successive World Championship title, to add to their 2010 and 2011 victories.

For Malcolm Page, who is the most successful 470 sailor ever and likely the most successful Australian sailor, Barcelona could mark his sixth World Championship victory. In his previous partnership with Nathan Wilmot, Page also secured victory at the 2004, 2005 and 2007 World Championships.

Page is modest about his achievements to date, “I have been very fortunate and sailing has been very good to me. I come from a non-sailing family and it is a special sport.”

Speaking on their Championship hopes, Belcher added, “This championship is quite important for us as it is a great opportunity to race in a high pressure event. Our preparation has been great coming into this event, with victories in Palma and Hyeres but anything can happen. We love sailing this class because so many teams have the possibility of winning. The talent and depth is quite remarkable, but for us to take the triple would be pretty cool.”

Ninety-nine 470 Men teams from 40 nations will be competing in the scheduled 11 race series. In addition to the Aussies, teams to watch out for at the top of the leaderboard include:

The seven final Olympic Qualification places will be contested by teams from the following three nations: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Hungary, India, Ireland, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Poland, South Africa, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela.

470 Women

Those with their ticket already booked to the Olympics, can just focus on World Championship success, rather than the Olympic qualification pressure. As is the case for Spain's home team of Tara Pacheco/Berta Betanzos, who have already secured their place at the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition after their win at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championship. This pair's mission in Barcelona is to fly the flag of the host nation, continue their winning form and defend the World Championship title – not too much to ask.

In typical style, Pacheco takes a no-nonsense approach to the Championship, commenting, “This is another Championship for us. It is good to have the Worlds at home, but it is going to be a hard Worlds because there are many teams that are trying to qualify their country for the Olympics. It is going to be difficult to be in the top 10.” And on her preferred weather for racing, Pacheco continued, “A sea breeze with medium conditions – it will be fun!”

2011 was a rewarding year for the Spanish pair, with World and European titles to their credit, but they continue to strive for excellence, as Pacheco explained, “We are learning all the time, on the water during training or during races, we have to continue learning from everybody and also from ourselves.”

Whilst Pacheco acknowledges the field is open, teams likely to perform at the front of the leaderboard include:

In Barcelona 54 teams from 30 nations are competing, with the following 15 nations in contention for the remaining five Olympic Qualification slots: Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Ukraine.

Amongst the teams gunning for those slots are the Danish pair of Henriette Koch/Lene Sommer, the 2011 470 European silver medallists, who suffered an unexpected tumble down the leaderboard in Perth and lost out on Olympic qualification.

China is one of the biggest nation teams in the 470 Women event with four pairs competing, one of whom is hoping to secure the nation slot for the Olympics. Having achieved that, the Chinese Yachting Association selection policy is simple, the team that slot will go to the Olympics.

Registration and Equipment Inspections takes place from 10-12 May, the Opening Ceremony will take place on Friday 11 May, and racing will start at 1200 hours on Sunday 13 May.

The 470 Men will be split into three fleets and the 470 Women into two fleets. A six race qualification series will be contested from 13-15 May, with teams re-assigned after each day's racing. After the three days of qualification, the 470 Men teams will be assigned to gold, silver and bronze fleets, and the 470 Women gold and silver fleets for the six race final series from 16-18 May. The top ten teams in each event will then qualify through to the Medal Race on Saturday 19 May 2012.

Barcelona In Port Race

Ahead of the World Championships, the world's top 470 teams will go head to head at the Barcelona In Port Race. A showcase of the world's best 470 sailors and “friendly” showdown, the Barcelona In Port Race will bring ten 470 Men and ten 470 Women teams head to head in a 10-boat race off right in the heart of the city of Barcelona on Saturday 12 May 2012. This invitational event will present an exciting short format race around a fixed four-mark race track in a one race decider with a 15 minute target time.

Racing will take place at Port Vell which is located at the end of Barcelona's iconic Las Ramblas, right in the heart of Barcelona. Racing is scheduled to get underway at 1200 hours for the 470 Men and 1215 hours for the 470 Women. The line up is:

470 Men470 Women
ARG - Lucas Calabrese/Juan De La FuenteARG - Fernanda Sesto/Consuelo Monsegur
AUT - Matthias Schmid/Florian ReichstadterBRA - Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Luiza Barbachan
CRO - Sime Fantela/Igor MarenicFRA - Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Géron
ESP - Onan Barreiros/Aaron SarmientoISR - Gil Cohen/Vered Buskila
FIN - Joonas Lindgren/Niklas LindgrenITA - Giulia Conti/Giovanna Micol
GER – Ferdinand Gerz/Patrick FollmannJPN - Ai Kondo/Wakako Tabata
GRE - Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos KagialisNZL - Jo Aleh/Olivia Powrie
ISR - Gideon Kliger/Eran SelaSLO -Tina Mrak/Teja Cerne
JPN - Ryunosuke Harada/Yugo YoshidaSWE - Lisa Ericson/Astrid Gabrielsson
USA - Stuart Mcnay/Graham BiehlUSA - Amanda Clark/Sarah Lihan

Watch the event live through the tracking and post-race video highlights will be available on the Championship website.

The 2012 470 World Championship is hosted at the Barcelona International Sailing Centre and organized by the Reial Club Marítim de Barcelona and Real Club Náutico de Barcelona, in co-operation with the Federació Catalana De Vela, Real Federación Española de Vela, Spanish 470 Class Association and the International 470 Class Association.

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A comprehensive media offering will deliver all the action from the 2012 470 World Championship, including live tracking, daily video highlights, live race updates, news reports and photos.

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