saling_champsMarch 6 - The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has so far received 661 entries from 72 nations for the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth this year, they have announced.

At the closing date for priority places on February 28, a total of 941 sailors were registered to make the trip to Perth in December.

Alastair Fox, ISAF Events Manager said: "The ISAF Sailing World Championships is a key event in world sailing and second only to the Olympic sailing competition.

"To have so many sailors entered already is excellent news for Perth 2011 and we expect many more to enter as we prepare for the Championships."

Perth 2011 Event Director, John Longley added: "It is a pleasing number of first round entries and we are right on track to reach our expected number of 1,400 athletes and 850 boats from at least 80 nations."

Cadiz in Spain hosted the inaugural championships in 2003 with 71 nations represented.

In 2007 Cascais, Portugal, welcomed 76 nations.

And Perth, which is due to take place between December 3 and 18, is well on track to break the nations record having already received applications from 72 nations to compete in the 10 Olympic sailing classes.

It is a key qualifying event for sailors aspiring to represent their country at the 2012 London Olympic Games, as 75 per cent of the national Olympic places will be decided in Perth.

Seven of the 72 nations entered so far are newcomers to the ISAF Sailing World Championships, including the Cook Islands, who are sending entries in the Laser and Laser Radial.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro and Trinidad and Tobago are each sending one entry into the Laser class.

St Lucia will have a representative in the Laser Radial and Palestine has entrants in the Men's RS:X and Men's 470.

Out of the 10 events, the Laser has the most entries with 113, followed by the Laser Radial with 92 and men's RS:X on 75.

MNAs can still earn more places based on the 2011 ISAF World Rankings and also through the ISAF Qualification Commission.

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