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Australia to host 2023 International WASZP Games

by Marc Ablett 9 May 06:20 BST December 2023
Australian WASZP Nationals 2018 – Sorrento © Marc Ablett

December 2023, the southern end of Port Phillip Bay will come to life, with Sorrento Sailing & Couta Boat Club set to host the International WASZP Games (Worlds).

Sorrento has been a fantastic supporter of WASZP sailing since the class first hit the water in 2017, hosting two successful Australian Nationals Championships in 2018 and 2021 and having an active fleet at the club itself.

Sorrento Sailing & Couta Boat Club is undergoing works to build a new clubhouse that will be ready for summer 2022/23 and well in advance of the International WASZP Games. The new facility will provide the perfect base for this large scale international event. Ample rigging space will be provided for the expected 150 competitors, and the relaxed beach party hospitality synonymous with the WASZP Class will fit Sorrento’s capabilities.

With 135 WASZPs in Australia currently and strong interest from overseas, this will be the jewel in the crown of the Australian summer. Providing high-speed colour and action against the stunning Mornington Peninsula backdrop, the flat water and solid sea breezes, give the perfect blend for the WASZP Class to enjoy. The Australian WASZP Class can not wait to welcome a large contingent of international sailors, there are expectations of containers out of Europe, UK and New Zealand, with a good contingent of sailors from the USA, Canada and Hong Kong also expected. It is a bucket list opportunity to spend a summer in Australia.

The WASZP Games last came to Australia in 2019 where they were held in Perth on the Swan River. With an explosion in growth globally since that event, WASZP is expecting 180+ to the International WASZP Games in Garda this year. A strong Australian contingent will be heading over, with approximately 15 sailors making the trip. The holiday vibe associated with the WASZP Class is a catalyst for the high participation, there is no better place to improve your foiling skills and have a holiday with family and friends than at a major WASZP Championship.

The WASZP is a class for everyone, with a strong representation right across the age spectrum. There is a strong youth scene driven by the alternative pathway associated with SailGP, while the retention of sailors beyond youth sailing is high. It is the perfect boat to get you through that transition into senior sailing, creating a solid contingent in the 25-40 age bracket. Then one of the most enjoyable group within the WASZP Class is the masters scene, with a large group of sailors over the age of 40 who love the travel, family atmosphere and going fast. The masters scene is robust in the UK and Australia, no doubt a battle for the ashes is on the horizon.

With Sorrento providing a fantastic base for this event and the Australian WASZP Association getting active, we can expect abundant opportunities for the Australian fleet to get together for events over the next 18 months.

The calendar for the Australian fleet is filling up fast with 8 events around a variety of Australian states already locked in for the 22/23 season. Headlined by the Australian National Championships in Perth from the 22nd-27th of January at Perth Dinghy Sailing Club on the Swan River. Other features will be the state championships and also a new initiative the slalom championships across 3 states. It is shaping as a huge season in 22/23 and then an exciting lead up into the 2023 International WASZP Games.

One aspect of the class that is very strong is the culture of the top sailors assisting new people entering the class. Given the fantastic facilities at Sorrento and an appetite for coaching, the WASZP Class will look to run several coaching camps for new people to the class, this will happen in the 12 months leading into the International WASZP Games.

Overall we can not wait to show this fantastic venue off to the rest of the world, the event will have a strong media presence and the mantra of racing had on-the-water and enjoying life off-the-water is ever present in this class.

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