Any competitive sailor who’s even thinking about making it to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is in Miami this week for the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Biscayne Bay.
The 25th annual World Cup, formerly known as the Rolex, features the 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes of boats slated to compete in Brazil in two years.
More than 550 sailors from 50 countries have signed up for races that begin Monday and wind up Saturday. The event is the third of five — and the only one in North America — in the World Cup series. The fleet, laden with Olympians and world champions, will help select the members of the 2014 U.S. Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider.
The 2016 Olympic classes are: Laser (men); Laser Radial (women); Finn (men); men’s RS:X (windsurfing); women’s RS:X; 49er (men); 49er FX (women); men’s 470; women’s 470; and Nacra 17 (mixed multihull). The Paralympic classes for disabled sailors are: Sonar; 2.4mR; and SKUD-18.
Among the South Florida competitors in the fleet: Daniel Evans of Miami (2.4mR); Joseph Hill of Miami (2.4mR); Brad Funk of Plantation (49er); Craig Johnson of Fort Lauderdale (Finn); Matt McCool of Key Largo (Finn); Juan Perdomo of Miami (Laser); Erik Weis of Fort Lauderdale (Laser); Christina Persson of Weston (Laser Radial); Erika Reineke of Fort Lauderdale (Laser Radial); Danielle Valdes-Pages of Coral Gables (Laser Radial); Katie Flood of Miami (Nacra 17); Mark and Carolina Mendelblatt of Miami (Nacra 17); Sarah Newberry and John Casey of Miami (Nacra 17); Sarah Lihan of Fort Lauderdale (Nacra 17); David Hein of Miami (Nacra 17); and Raul Lopez of Miami (RS:X men).
Both the Olympic and Paralympic classes will hold multiple races daily Monday through Friday, with a final medal race Saturday for the top 10 sailors in the Olympic classes. Paralympic racing concludes Friday.
Headquarters for the event is the U.S. Sailing Center in Coconut Grove. Cohosts are the Miami Rowing Club; Shake-A-Leg Miami, Coconut Grove Sailing Club and Coral Reef Yacht Club.