The opening round of the 2012/2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup for the Olympic classes takes place at Sail Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay from Monday 3 December.
While not a lot of interest for British sailing fans - no Team GBR are competing - it does have two unique events to add some sparkle. Firstly the kiteboarders, who so nearly became a new Olympic event, will be taking part and have 60+ entries, way more than the rival RS:X windsurfer that was re-instated in the Rio games. And secondly the first appearance of the new women's Olympic skiff, the 49erFX in the World Cup. Seven entries are listed with overseas entries from Norway and New Zealand.
Australia's Haylee Outteridge is arguably one of the most experienced female skiff sailors in the fleet having sailed the 29er for many years. Outteridge will team up with former Laser Radial sailor Alison Dale for ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne.
There is no lack of Australian female sailing experience in the fleet as Beijing 2008 470 Olympic gold medallist Tessa Parkinson teams up with Kate Lathouras and London 2012 Women's Match Racing silver medallist Olivia Price makes the transition from keelboat to skiff. Further Australian partnerships include Anna Kendall and Michelle Muller and Ella Giudice and Caitlin Elks.
Joining the fleet will be Norwegian twin sisters Ragna Agerup and Maia Agerup who finished 14th in the 29er at the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Dublin, Ireland in July. At just 17 the duo will be looking to gain valuable experience.
The pair are the only FX sailors in Norway whilst Australia boast five teams competing at Melbourne so for the twins there will be much to learn. Maia added, "It has been a little tricky at first because we are just getting used to the boat and there is not a correct answer on how to set the tension or trim. These are all things we have to figure out for ourselves."
New Zealand's Alexandra Maloney, 2009 420 World Champion and 2010 ISAF Youth Worlds silver medallist, and Molly Meech, two time ISAF Youth World Laser Radial sailor, round off the fleet.
2 December 2012 10:48 GMT