MANDURAH is on the cusp of winning the rights to host one of the world’s biggest and most exciting sailing events.
Following the recent visit to Mandurah by Tourism Western Australia, the chairman of the Western Australia Bid Team, Paul Fitzpatrick announced Mandurah is developing a bid for the Australian leg of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
If the WA bid is successful, the major international yachting event would take place in the heart of Mandurah, in the estuary between the eastern and western foreshores.
The Alpari World Match Racing Tour attracts a worldwide following and has the potential to draw up to 100,000 people to the city over the week-long event.
The championships would see 16 international teams go head-to-head in seven action-packed days of eliminations run on a special course between M on the Point and the old traffic bridge. The event is already held in Germany, Korea, France, Sweden, USA, Bermuda and Malaysia with new events proposed for New Zealand, India and South Africa as well as Australia.
Unlike other sailing events, the tight course close to the foreshore means tens of thousands of fans can watch the action from close range.
The rules of match racing guarantee plenty of thrills and spills. Collisions are not rare in the close and aggressive competition.
With US$1.75 million in prize money up for grabs each year, the championships are hotly contested.
If the Mandurah bid was successful, the first of the annual championships would be held in November 2014.
Mr Fitzpatrick confirmed that the bid is on track.“The bid team are in close contact with the international race organisers and we are well ahead of the fleet, having already secured a memorandum of understanding with the race organisers,” he said.“The event would put Mandurah on the international sailing map.“Western Australia has an established legacy in international yachting and Mandurah is a great location for this type of event.“We have the required infrastructure, expertise and enthusiasm to capitalise on an event like this for the benefit of the entire state.“The annual event will see excellent economic returns to the Peel region with its worldwide media exposure and spectator participation over the sevendays of competition.”Mr Fitzpatrick said television highlights and coverage reaches more than 180 countries around the world.The WA Bid Team met with Tourism WA in Mandurah this week to discuss the event.Efforts will now centre on gaining government backing and sourcing the funding required to host the event.