Sailors prepare for major competition in Sunderland

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DOZENS of sailors will take to the waves for a major competition on Wearside.

Sunderland Yacht Club will host the European and world championship qualification event this weekend, which is expected to attract more than 150 entrants.

It will feature fast dinghies following a route at Seaburn Bay, between the North pier and Whitburn.

Earlier this month, the club hosted the Phantom National Championships, which was hailed a hit when up to 50 competitors battled it out on the waters.

Alan Dixon, commodore of Sunderland Yacht Club, said “We are delighted to host yet another prestigious event, just after the successful Phantom National Championships.

“This really puts Sunderland on the map as being a first-class venue for sailing.

“The club has the infrastructure and skills and we have a beautiful sailing area.”

The winners of the competition will enter the 2013 European championships.

They will be held in Croatia for youth and Ireland for Standard men and Radial Women.

They will also be put forward for the 2013 World Championships in China for Radial Women and Oman for Standard and Radial Youth.

The first races start at noon on Saturday, when three races will be run.

The event continues on Sunday, starting at 10am when the final two races will take place.

It will use more than 15 safety and support vessels and a small army of volunteer club members both ashore and afloat.

The Laser is the most popular sailing dinghy that has ever been produced.

There are now nearly 185,000 boats world-wide.

Mr Dixon added: “It is a pleasure and honour to host the event. We wish them good sailing, fair winds and good weather for the event.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho