‘The best of the best’ sailing World Championship to begin in Adelaide

Sailors from around the globe are in Adelaide for three major sailing competitions, including the ILCA 7 Men’s World Championship, a qualifying event for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Jan 19, 2024, updated Jan 19, 2024
The ILCA 7 World Championships, an Olympic qualifier event, is being held in Adelaide next week. Photo: Jack Fletcher, Down Under Sail

The ILCA 7 World Championships, an Olympic qualifier event, is being held in Adelaide next week. Photo: Jack Fletcher, Down Under Sail

Hosted by the Adelaide Sailing Club (ASC) at West Beach, the ILCA 7 World Championship will run from January 24-31, followed by the ILCA 6 and 7 Masters World Championship from February 2-10.

The Australian and Oceania ILCA Championships, also hosted by ASC, ended January 8 with Australian Matt Wearn, the current Olympic world champion, taking the ILCA 7 title.

ASC Commodore Peter Royle said the World Championship will be the largest sailing event ever held in South Australia.

“This is not your average national championship… This is the best of the best, it’s the last World Championship before the Paris Olympics,” he said.

“The Men’s Worlds Olympic qualifier is when the whole sailing fraternity globally will be watching, and we need to be at the top of our game.”

Royle said the first event, which had 270 competitors, helped the club understand where they could improve for the upcoming Worlds.

“The first one was always going to be the hardest… it was quite complex because we not only had global athletes competing, we [also] had kids,” he said.

We’ve got the current Olympic champion here, and we also have kids who have never sailed in salt water before. So that’s kind of cool, when they’re standing next to the Olympic gold medallist at the canteen, or on the lawn rigging up.

The competition boats were shipped in from Thailand ready for the ILCA competitions. Photo: Adelaide Sailing Club Facebook

ILCAs, formerly known as Lasers, are one-person dinghies used as Olympic-class boats in club, national and international racing.

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The boats come in three classes according to rig size: ILCA 4, ILCA 6, and ILCA 7. Boat choice depends on the sailor’s size and weight.

Competitors will sail in boats shipped in from Thailand for the event, as competitive class ILCA boats can only be built by a select few due to the strict rules of the class.

Royle said this unique method of competition, whereby athletes are not sailing in their own boats, makes the sport even more impressive.

“It makes it very pure – we call this one of the purest forms of sailing because it is so sailor-specific,” he said.

“All the equipment is the same, it is less than a millimetre tolerance identical equipment.

“It makes it all about the athlete, not about the equipment.”

The ILCA 7 Men’s World Championship begins next Wednesday, January 24, at Adelaide Sailing Club.

The ILCA 6 and 7 Masters World Championship, open to racers 30 and over, will be the final event, running from February 2 to February 10, with up to 300 boats expected to race.

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