The 2001 Sail Melbourne International Regatta which takes place from January 14-19 will attract the strongest field in the event's eight year history.

Australia’s Olympic champions, women’s 470 gold medallists Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell, head an outstanding list of Australian and overseas competitors heading to Melbourne in January for the first major international regatta since the 2000 Sydney Games.

The 2001 Sail Melbourne International Regatta which takes place from January 14-19 will attract the strongest field in the event’s eight year history, with over 2000 competitors from 34 nations taking part in the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) ranking one event.

Among the international stars expected to be on Port Phillip waters in January are the 470 Sydney Olympic silver and bronze medallists JJ Isler and Pease Glaser from the United States and Ukrainian duo Ruslana Taran and Olena Pakholchyk, setting up a rematch for Armstrong and Stowell, as well as medallists in other Olympic classes, including the Laser, Finn and Mistral classes.

World number one Finn sailor, Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz, the Atlanta gold medallist and 1999-2000 ISAF Sailor of the Year – who left Sydney disappointed without a medal – will also be at Sail Melbourne looking to reestablish his place at the top of his sport.

The Australian contingent is chock-full of talent. Sydney 470 gold medallist Mark Turnbull will be back on the water, but will turn his hand to the 49er class. The former world number one-ranked combination and Olympic silver medallists Darren Bundock and John Forbes will be back in the Silver Tornado class looking to restore their place at the top of the international rankings.

At the Sail Melbourne International Regatta launch, bronze medallist in the Laser Class, Michael Blackburn, was confident that the summer would see plenty of great racing. “Everyone who was in Sydney for the Games loved Australia and I’m sure the opportunity to return downunder will be a real lure this season,” Blackburn said. “We’ve had a break but it’s time to get serious again. Port Phillip provides fantastic conditions and, most importantly, with its international status, the regatta will provide top competition.”

The Sail Melbourne International Regatta, which consists of 44 events including a world championship, nine Olympic class events and 14 Australian championships, will attract over 2000 competitors and 1000 boats.

and Port Phillip is renowned as Australia’s greatest yacht racing waterway.”