ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami is being held from Monday 27 January to Saturday 1 February 2014. Over 550 sailors from 50 nations will head to Miami, Florida, USA to race.
The third of five instalments of the 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup will see some the world’s top competitors race across ten Olympic and three Paralympic events.
Ninety eight sailors will compete in the Laser, the biggest fleet in Miami, and features many of the leading athletes.
The line-up includes World number 1 and ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne winner Tom Burton (AUS), 2013 World Champion Robert Scheidt (BRA), ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao gold medallist Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and the dangerous Pavlos Kontides (CYP).
Kontides holds two silver medals from his last two regattas, finishing runner up to Stipanovic in Qingdao and second to Scheidt at the 2013 Laser Worlds.
The Cypriot, who won his nation’s first ever Olympic medal at London 2012, will be gunning for top spot in Miami, ‘I am at the stage where I should always aim to win major events or at least be on the podium,’ exclaimed Kontides. ‘Sailing against Robert and the other top guys is always challenging and fascinating and I am really looking forward to it. I am trying to sail the best I can and the results will come.’
The high-calibre of entrants could be seen as a dress rehearsal for the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships, an event Kontides will look to make his mark in, but for now he’s looking forward to facing the best Laser sailors once again, ‘The strength of the fleet is at the highest level possible and this is what I love, the challenge. But sailing Lasers at this level is always tough and many other sailors can sail at the top.
‘With good entries it justifies why World Cups are considered as 200-pointers in the World Rankings.’
Competition in the Laser Radial will be just as tight and within the 53-boat fleet Olympic medallists Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) will do battle again alongside current European Champion Annalise Murphy (IRL), 2013 Miami gold medallist Paige Railey (USA) and British hopeful Alison Young.
Following her bronze medal at London 2012, Van Acker had a quiet 2013. Taking in two events, she finished fourth at the European Championship and eighth at the World Championship. Miami marks the start of a packed schedule for the Belgian as she gets back into swing, ‘I am fully back into sailing and training physically after finishing all my courses at university last summer. I will do most of the World Cups, the Europeans, Test Event in Rio and the Worlds in Santander.’
In the build-up to London 2012 and during the Olympic Sailing Competition itself Van Acker was embroiled in tight racing with Bouwmeester, Murphy and Young and those rivalries will resume in Miami, ‘I am very much looking forward racing against them,’ added Van Acker. ‘Racing is most fun when the all the good girls are there. I am not sure who is the strongest at the moment so we will have to wait and see. It will also depend on the conditions. Some girls are really good in the light winds, others excel in the more breezy conditions.
‘I always want to do well so I will try very hard to get a good result. Of course the Worlds in Santander is the biggest goal in 2014 and I will use all the events before to get ready for it.’