Rio de Janeiro is set to welcome many of the word’s leading sailors to its shores from 2-9 August, as the Brazilian city hosts the Aquece International Sailing Regatta.
The world-class regatta – which features 324 athletes from 34 countries – is the first in a series of 45 sports events that will help the Rio 2016 Organising Committee prepare to stage the Olympic Games in just over two years’ time.
Races will be contested in all ten Olympic classes, with 215 boats set to participate.
“The best boats in the world are here,” said Great Britain’s Luke Patience, who won silver in the 470 event at London 2012. “It’s an important opportunity for us to get to know the conditions and gather information, but it’s also clear that everyone who’s here wants to be the first to win a title on the Olympic waters."
As well as being a crucial event for the athletes as they prepare for the Games in 2016, the competition will also give the Rio 2016 Organising Committee the chance to test key Games-time operations, such as the field of play and the scoring, timing and results systems.
Other leading sailors set to appear in the regatta include Brazilian icon Robert Scheidt, a five-time Olympic medallist who will compete in the Laser class, and Holland’s Marit Bouwmeester, the London 2012 silver medallist, 2011 world champion and current world No.1 in Laser Radial.
And the athletes already seem impressed by their surroundings at the Olympic venue.
“I already feel closer to the Olympic Games by being here in Rio,” said Sweden’s Lisa Ericson, who will compete in the 49er FX. “The competition site is really special, surrounded by mountains, especially the Sugar Loaf. We have caught some good winds and managed to train well. It’s very good to be here, getting to know the wind and currents. The event will be great, there are some great boats here.”