'Mission accomplished' as Rio 2016 sailing test event comes to an end

Competitors and International Sailing Federation hail event in Guanabara Bay, which provides valuable lessons for organising commitee

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Two years ahead of the Rio 2016 Games, 326 athletes from 35 countries took to Guanabara Bay  (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)
Two years ahead of the Rio 2016 Games, 326 athletes from 35 countries took to Guanabara Bay (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)
The first test event for the Rio 2016 Games, the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regata, came to a close on Saturday (9 August) at Marina da Glória, with all of its objectives successfully reached. The competition courses in Guanabara Bay, where the sailing competitions will take place in 2016, were put to the test by 326 athletes - including 32 Olympic medalists - from 35 countries, in the biggest regatta ever held in the country. 
"The first test event comes to a close with a sense of mission accomplished. This has been a wonderful experience and a successful event, but most importantly we have learned a lot,” said Rodrigo Garcia, Sports Director of the Rio 2016 Committee. 
The event was also an opportunity for the teams and athletes to get used to the wind and water conditions two years ahead of the Rio 2016 Games.
“Conditions throughout the week were extremely positive. We had at least 10 knots of wind every day which was great, especially because we were prepared for much less. Rio pulled off a great regatta this year,” said Britain’s Giles Scott, who took first place in the Finn class. 
“Rio has shown that it is capable of hosting a great event. It was a lot of fun,” added Olympic champion Dorian van Rijsselberghe, who finished first in the RS:X windsurf class.
Olympic medalist Jonathan Lambert, who took silver in the Finn class at the test event, was also full of praise for the courses.
“It was a very nice event. We've had some exciting races, 'inside' with the amazing Pão de Açúcar mountain, and 'outside' with a lot of changes in the wind, which makes the race very challenging but fun. I am definitely looking forward to an exciting Games here in Rio," said the Frenchman.
Imagem Rio 2016
All 10 Olympic sailing classes competed on the waters of Guanabara Bay (Photo: Rio 2016 / Alex Ferro)
Over the seven days of competition, based at the Marina da Glória, all 10 Olympic sailing classes were represented: men’s and women’s RS:X, 49er, 49er FX, men’s and women’s 470, Laser, Laser Radial, Finn and Nacra 17 (mixed). Five courses were tested throughout the week: Pão de Açúcar, Escola Naval, Ponte, Copacabana and Niteroí. In 2015, after the second sailing test event, the final courses to be used in the Rio 2016 Games will be selected.
"The Aquece Rio International Regatta has been a very successful regatta for ISAF. We have completed many of our goals in testing the competition areas, building our understanding of the local conditions and getting to know the national officials and the Rio 2016 team. We have a lot of information to take away and evaluate," said Alastair Fox, head of competitions at the International Sailing Federation.
The event was also the stage for several education, art and sustainability initiatives. While the racing took over the bay, an environmentally themed exhibition featuring painted sails occupied the area around the Marina da Glória. The graffiti-style art was the work of some 200 pupils from five Rio schools involved in Transforma, the Rio 2016 education programme.
The International Sailing Regatta was the first in a series of 45 national and international events that will take place up until May 2016, designed to test the competition venues of the biggest sports event on the planet.
Check out our gallery of photos from the regatta below:

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