SOME of the world’s top Olympic and Paralympic sailors will compete for championship honours this week, as the 2014 Sail for Gold Regatta kicks off at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA).

The annual regatta will start on Monday and last all week at the venue that was used for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing competitions.

Eight Olympic and two Paralympic classes will compete in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, in what will be the third instalment of the 2014 EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup.

Now in its second year, the EUROSAF series is based on established regattas within Europe and provides the best possible competition for Olympic and Paralympic classes, complementing the ISAF World Cup series and class championships.

The Sail for Gold entry list boasts a number of world class sailors from the Olympic and Paralympic classes.

This includes some of the British sailing team’s top performers, who will be out in force as they look to defend the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup which was won in 2013, as well as prepare for upcoming key events including the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships in September.

As well as a handful of international competitors from 13 different nations, Weymouth and Portland’s very own Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas will be in action in the 2.4mR class as she looks to replicate her fond memories from 2012, while Olympic silver medallists Stuart Bithell and Nick Dempsey will be looking for the top step on the podium come the end of the week.

Pete Allam, Sail for Gold event director, said: “The 2014 Sail for Gold Regatta is shaping up to be a great regatta. The event, which has been held annually since 2006, has built up a reputation of providing competitors with world class race management and access to excellent facilities at WPNSA and this year will be no different.

“Even though the numbers are not as high as previous years, the quality of entries is evident which will provide the sailors with a competitive racing environment.

“WPNSA is a superb venue with the world class waters of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour providing the competitors with a mixture of exciting as well as challenging conditions across the five days of racing.

“We are looking forward to welcoming back some familiar faces from the Olympic and Paralympic Games and last year’s Sail for Gold Regatta as well as some fresh faces and local sailors who are new to the Olympic and Paralympic circuit.”