Today the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) announces plans to test its systems, equipment, workforce and procedures for running an Olympic and Paralympic Sailing competition in the summer of 2011, a year before the 2012 competitions begin.
The London 2012 Sailing Test event, called the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011, will be run by LOCOG from the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and the adjacent Portland Marina in Dorset from 31July 2011 to 13 August 2011.
The Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011 is one of 42 Test Events planned by LOCOG through the ‘London Prepares’ series that runs from the end of May 2011 through to May 2012.
Over 380 sailors from more than 60 nations around the world will take part in the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta in August 2011. This is a similar number of competitors taking part in the London 2012 Olympic sailing event next year.
While primarily designed to test the systems, processes and equipment that will be used for the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year this will also be an important event for competing athletes and for some nations may form part of their Games qualification series.
Paul Deighton, LOCOG CEO said: ‘LOCOG’s testing programme is all about “road testing” all our operational plans on the water to make sure we have all the knowledge we need to deliver a truly memorable Games in 2012 and learn any lessons in advance.
‘The Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011 provides a great opportunity for athletes who may well be selected for the Games to come and sail on the same waters at the same time of year to learn as much as they can about the conditions Weymouth Bay might offer them in 2012.
‘Weymouth and Portland is a fantastic sailing venue and we’re looking forward to welcoming the teams here and delivering a world class regatta this summer.’
On the water, the fleet of race management and safety boats will be operational, manned by the specialist volunteer and technical officials to run as many as 170 races over the 12 day event period across the 5 race courses that make up the sailing field of play.
Tetra radios and call groups, the Swiss Timing GPS tracking system and the GPS data that will drive TV graphics will all be thoroughly tested in a real life environment. Full results and timing tests will also be undertaken.
Staffing procedures are also to be tested with an estimated team of 500 people helping to stage the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011. The team comprises of 37 LOCOG staff, 63 International Technical Officials, 128 National Technical Officials, 106 Sailing Specialist Test Event volunteers and 126 generalist Test Event volunteers, all working as one team for the first time.
A third of all the Test Event volunteers are expected to come from Weymouth and Portland and the surrounding Dorset area. They will undertake roles such as Field of Play Marshals and Timing & Scoring Team Members.
There will be no tickets on sale for the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta.
LOCOG will run part of the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta in Newton’s Cove, however, the proposed Games-time ticketed spectator experience at Nothe Gardens will not be tested as part of the event as this proposal remains subject to planning consent.
After the well-attended public consultation events in March 2011, LOCOG will submit a planning application to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council in May 2011 for the temporary structures and facilities that would be required to create a temporary ticketed area in the Nothe Gardens to manage spectators effectively next summer.
The proposed ticketed area would be managed by a third party operator and would offer catering and a big screen relaying all the action from the water.
For the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011 there will be no screen or live commentary relayed to the Nothe Gardens.
More information about the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta will be made available nearer the time through the local press and via the dedicated website www.londonpreparesseries.com/sailing
In addition, the Weymouth & Portland 2012 Operations team, based at the Borough Council will also be undertaking some testing of procedures and infrastructure during the summer of 2011 as a test run for 2012.