A lack of entries in the women's 470 fleet means Olympic gold medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie will be looking to the male crews for competition at the Sail Auckland regatta.
Sail Auckland - New Zealand's only ISAF 100-point regatta - starts today with 10 Olympic classes taking to the water, along with three paralympic fleets and a handful of invited classes.
The regatta is a rare opportunity to see New Zealand's top Olympic sailing talent compete on their home waters, with current world champions Aleh and Powrie (aka Team Jolly), Peter Burling and Blair Tuke in the 49er, and young 49er FX stars Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech all in action over the next four days.
But only young stars Maloney and Meech will have any strong competition, with the regatta struggling to attract top international crews.
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With only one other crew entering the women's 470 class - Japanese pair Ai Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka - Aleh said Team Jolly will be testing themselves against the male crews, with the two fleets to be combined.
"It's disappointing, but with all the logistics involved, we're just a bit too far away for crews to travel over here. We don't think anything of it because we're used to travelling all the time, but [the distance] puts off a lot of people," said Aleh.
"It always makes it fun being lumped in with the guys, it kind of makes us even more determined to win in a way. If we can beat them it will show us we're on track."
After two and half months out of the boat - the longest break the pair have had since they teamed up in 2009 - Aleh expects their first regatta back will be challenging on the body. She said the focus for Powrie and herself is to be consistent as they begin their preparation for a busy regatta schedule over the European summer, building up to the ISAF world championships in Spain in September. "We typically always have one really terrible race every regatta, so we're trying to work on our consistency and avoid putting ourselves under pressure."
Despite there being no overseas entries in the 49er fleet, there will still be a lot of interest in whether young crew Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski can challenge the formidable pairing of Burling and Tuke. Hansen and Porebski earned themselves selection to the NZL Sailing Team with a sixth place world championship finish back in 2012 when they were both just 19 years old. At last year's Worlds they secured silver at the 49er world championships and they would no doubt enjoy taking a victory from their senior training partners and NZL Sailing teammates.
Local rivalries will also be the feature of the Laser fleet, which has attracted 28 entries including three members of the NZL Sailing Team - Andy Maloney, Sam Meech and Thomas Saunders.