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Windfoiling national champs

Present and future compete at Oceanbridge regatta

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The Olympians of tomorrow will get a chance to rig up and race alongside the Olympians of today at this weekend's Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta at the Wakatere Boating Club.

The event is this country's top dinghy regatta for both youth and Olympic classes and carries plenty of significance this year with limited international competition on the agenda. 

More than 135 sailors are expected to compete across the various classes and there are strong fleets in the 49er and 49erFX, Laser Radial and windfoiling.

Windfoiling is one of the newest classes, and will be on the programme for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but already it's attracting large fleets. More than 30 took part in last month's windfoiling national championships and many will be eyeing up the chance to compete internationally when the time is right.

One of the main features of the event is the interaction between the youth and Olympic class sailors and the field will feature a handful of Olympians, including Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox in the 470 and Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson in the Nacra 17.

Finn world champion Josh Junior as well as Andy Maloney, who is also among the world's best Finn sailors, will also be on hand at Wakatere and might compete on Sunday.

"It's rare for youth and Olympic sailors to come together on the same race course in our country so that's something special," Yachting New Zealand high performance director Ian Stewart. "It's a shame that with international commitments we won't have a full turnout of Olympians but the interaction is still a key part of the event."

The Aon Fast Track squad, which is made up of this country's most promising sailors, will also be unveiled at the Wakatere Boating Club on Friday night.

Strong winds are forecast on Saturday and give way to light winds on Sunday, and competitors can find the sailing instructions here.