By Hishan Welmilla
Sri Lanka will have another opportunity to show the world its ability to hold any type of international event, as it holds the GP14 sailboat World Championship 2011 from February 19-25.
This will be the first time the GP14 world championships are being held outside Europe.
The World Sailing Championship is to be held in Sri Lanka on the Negombo seas, with the host hotel being The Beach.
For this GP14 World Class Championship, 40 boats have registered so far, with 80 participants from 10 countries, namely UK, Ireland, South Africa, Belgium, Holland, USA, Australia, Denmark, Norway and Sri Lanka. India is yet to confirm its participation.
The main organisers from the local end, the Yachting Association of Sri Lanka with the assistance of the Ministry of Sports and Sri Lanka Navy, is expecting several of the world’s top 15 sailors to participate, including current world champions Ian Dobson and Andy Cliff from the UK. This would also be a major opportunity for Sri Lankan sailors to excel in their home waters.
Sri Lankans have already performed well in the GP14 circuit, as in 2008 Devin Gunawardena was the winner of the Youth Helm Trophy at the GP14 World held in Abersoch Wales, and he was crewed by Jeremy Bolling. Sri Lankans are expect to perform well in this year’s competition as Sri Lanka Navy sailors will also line up to vie for honours.
The opening ceremony organised by the Yachting Association of Sri Lanka with the assistance of the Navy will be held at Negombo’s The Beach on the 19th at 5.30 pm.
Sunday the 20th will be the practice race at 11 am and thereafter races No 1 and 2 will take place on the 21st, the third and fourth races will take place on 22nd and 23rd will be observed as a rest day.
Race No. 5 and 6 will be held on February 24th. On the closing day the seventh and eighth race will be held, with the closing ceremony being held thereafter at The Beach.