11/11/2010 - 00:00

Game on for Australia Cup

11/11/2010 - 00:00

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RETURNING to Perth for a second year after an eight-year hiatus until 2009, the Australia Cup has overcome funding difficulties and secured the support of key sponsors Sunseeker and the City of Perth for its 2010 event, held on the Swan River later this m

Game on for Australia Cup

RETURNING to Perth for a second year after an eight-year hiatus until 2009, the Australia Cup has overcome funding difficulties and secured the support of key sponsors Sunseeker and the City of Perth for its 2010 event, held on the Swan River later this month.

Considered by organisers to be the “premier international match-racing event on the Australian yacht racing calendar”, the Australia Cup serves as a precursor to the final World Match Racing Tour regatta in Malaysia a week later.

Swan River Sailing chief executive Skip Lissiman is hoping the four-day event draws a few thousand spectators to witness close-up tactical racing manoeuvres.

“We believe the Swan River is an excellent venue for this kind of event – it provides a natural amphitheatre where the spectators are metres from where the competitors are doing battle,” Mr Lissiman says.

Naming rights sponsor Sunseeker, which has partnered with Swan River Sailing and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for the second year running, principally funds the $250,000 running costs of the race.

Mr Lissiman says the event largely depends on corporate sponsorship, which has become increasingly difficult to source.

“I think we’re a little bit insulated here in WA, but things are tough out there and that’s just a sign of the times – you’ve got to work pretty damn hard at looking after your sponsors to give them maximum exposure,” he says.

“Certainly with the absence of the Red Bull Air Race, the City of Perth thinks it’s an excellent event to have on the river.”

Mr Lissiman says approaches have been made to Eventscorp to support the event, but the government agency has indicated it is fully committed to the ISAF 2011 Sailing World Championships, which it successfully bid for over seven other countries.

“Our event is traditionally held at the same time [as Perth 2011] so we made the decision now that we won’t be holding an Australia Cup next year, but we’ll be coming back in the following year so we won’t try to compete with their volunteers or funding,” he says.

Mr Lissiman hopes that, when the event returns in 2012, it will offer a significant shore-side experience with a live television broadcast and prize money for the teams.

“We believe the Australia Cup gives a great opportunity for Western Australian teams to demonstrate their skills on a world stage and it’s basically a free event right on Perth’s doorstep,” he says.

 

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