Bigger than ever in 2015, with an atmosphere crackling with adrenaline, the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami was ground zero on Sunday as competitors from 63 countries made their final preparations. US Sailing’s premiere event brings together a who’s who of Olympic and Paralympic talent. Six days of racing will test them and leave them judged. Australia’s silver-medalist 470 skipper of last year, Mat Belcher, summed up that experience by saying simply that being on that racecourse, with that fleet, “was essential.” Essential, that is, to anyone who hopes to be standing on a podium in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympic Games.
With as many as 800 sailors entered, the 26th year of this event sets a record for participation. The ISAF Sailing World Cup, presented by Sunbrella, is the only U.S. stop on the 2014-2015 SWC series. Melbourne, Australia kicked off the first of six events, with successful sailors earning qualification spots and ranking points toward a finale in Abu Dhabi late in 2015.