Royal Geelong Yacht Club sailor Ollie Manton and Melbourne’s Jack Lloyd will compete against elite sailors from around the world in the 49er class at the New Zealand World Championships, later this month.
Manton, 20 and Lloyd, 25, arrived in Auckland on Sunday to get in some valuable training ahead of the 49er World Championships which are from November 9 to December 8.
Manton is the only Geelong sailor out of about 200 competitors (10 Australian teams) in the 49er World Championships, being hosted by Auckland’s Royal Akarana Yacht Club.
“The World Championships is a Tokyo Olympics selection event for the top teams around the world,” Manton said.
“It is an open event so for us it is a good opportunity to see how we can go against these guys. Usually it’s a long journey to get to Olympic level, see it is great for us to see where we are at and what we have to work on.”
The World Championships will be held on the same waters as the 2021 America’s Cup, attracting elite sailors from around the world including America’s Cup defenders and Rio 2016 49er gold medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke from New Zealand.
“There is tough competition throughout the fleet. Some of the people we will be sailing against are the best in the world so it will be fun to see how we will go against them.”
Melbourne brothers Will and Sam Phillips who sail out of Sorrento but have been training in Geelong, are also in the mix.
“They are in good contention to go to Tokyo. They are ones to watch. I’m really excited for them and hope they do well.”
The Auckland regatta is also the 49erFX and Nacra17 World Championships.
Tess Lloyd (Jack’s sister and also from Melbourne) and Jamie Ryan (from Sydney) are also looking likely to represent Australia in Tokyo for 49er FX (female class), he said.
Geelong will then host the 2020 49er World Championships in February/March, part of a massive summer of sailing for our city, which kicks off with Festival of Sails (January 25 to 27, 2020).
As well as the 49ers, the RGYC will host the 49erFX and Nacra17 World Championships, welcoming about 800 local and international competitors from February 6 to 15, 2020. The Laser Masters World Championship will then be held from March 19 to 28, 2020.
The event season is forecast to deliver a $23 million boost to the Geelong economy.
The championships will attract the sport’s best to Geelong, just months out from the Tokyo Olympics in July.
The World Championships in Geelong will be a key regatta for selection for the July 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with teams coming from countries including the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and New Zealand.
It is anticipated international teams will stay on and train in Geelong before continuing on to Japan.
Manton, who has been sailing since he was 12, will be back in Geelong for January’s Festival of Sails before turning his attention to the 49er World Championships.
“It’s huge for Geelong,” Manton said of hosting four world championships in an Olympic year.
“For Geelong to be able to host that is pretty special. It is going to be a pretty exciting summer.”
“I can’t wait, it will definitely be the highlight of sailing so far. For a lot of teams it will be their selection event (for the Olympics). In that regard there will be a lot of pressure on a lot of boats to do well. The standard will be very good.”