World Sailing are encouraged by water quality improvements at Guanabara Bay ©Getty Images

World Sailing say they are encouraged by improving water quality at Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro - where Olympic and Paralympic action will take place this year.

Pollution in the Bay has been among the major concerns blighting organisers in the run-up to the Games, with cleaning up Guanabara promised as a major legacy project.

Several illnesses were reported after the Rio 2016 test event in August while in February a human arm was reportedly pictured floating in the water.

With 71 days to go before the Olympic Opening Ceremony on August 5, World Sailing has travelled to Brazil for a final on-site review of preparations and have made positive noises.

A detailed briefing was provided on water quality, with the governing body's chief executive Andy Hunt in attendance alongside head of competitions Alastair Fox and Darryl Seibel, who will be World Sailing's chief press officer during Rio 2016.

Hunt said that "considerable progress" had been made in preparations for the Olympic regatta since the governing body's last visit in March.

"During our review, we had an opportunity to meet with officials from the Mayor's Office and leading environmental authorities to review their latest water-quality data,” he said.

"Construction at the Marina da Gloria is almost complete and the water quality is noticeably better, particularly in the launch areas around the marina.

"The trend lines are encouraging, but it will be important that not a single day is lost in implementing the remaining measures that are planned, including the installation of a series of new eco barriers."

Cleaning up the Bay is a major legacy project for Rio
Cleaning up the Bay is a major legacy project for Rio ©Getty Images

Work has been carried out on a sewer pipe belt designed to prevent sewage from entering the Bay, with Fox adding that the safety of sailors was a key priority.

"Our primary focus is to make certain the field of play on Guanabara Bay is safe and suitable for all Olympic competitors,” he said.

"Working with Rio 2016 and various Governmental authorities, I'm confident we have the right plan in place to deliver a field of play that is safe and fair.

"Equally, as with every major sailing regatta, we have detailed plans in place to respond and adapt should conditions change.”

As well as the water quality, briefings were also held on venue construction, competition schedules, broadcasting, media operations, accommodation, transport and ticketing.

Security was also discussed after three members of Spain's Olympic sailing team were mugged at gunpoint in a popular tourist area close to the Marina da Glória earlier this month.

The briefings were led by Rio 2016 Sport Sailing Manager, Walter Boddener, and his operations team. 

"Brazil has enjoyed tremendous success in Olympic sailing and athletes such as Robert Scheidt, Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira hold a special place in Brazil's sporting culture,” added Hunt.

"Given this history of success and the profile sailing enjoys in Brazil, it is our hope that the beaches surrounding Guanabara Bay will become one of the truly special places for fans during the Rio Games.”