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Aust sailing team eyes extra funding
Miles Godfrey
01:48 AEST Fri Aug 10 2012

The Australian sailing team have warned they will need new funding to capitalise on their success at the London Games.

The Australian team operates on a fraction of the budget enjoyed by the British, who also have multi-million dollar headquarters and training facilities at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, in southwest England.

The Australians by contrast, only gained their headquarters last year - a single room at Sydney's Middle Harbour Yacht Club.

Yet it is the Aussies who appear more likely to top the sailing medal table at these Games, with golds in the Laser and 49er classes already in the bag and another two golds, in the men's 470 and women's match racing, in the offing.

There is also an outside chance of a bronze in the women's 470 dinghy.

High performance director Peter Conde says the Australian team can probably maintain its current level of achievement with its existing funding, which comes from a mix of public and private sources.

But with an expensive campaign for Rio looming and four new classes to compete in, the cashflow will likely need to increase.

"Rio will be more expensive for us, it's a logistical issue," Conde told AAP.

"When we come here (to Weymouth) we have to come to Europe anyway.

"But now we have to add South America to our agenda."

The Rio Games will feature four new classes: Men's and women's kiteboarding replaces the RS:X windsurfer, a women's skiff competition replaces match racing and the Star class is replaced by a multi-hull.

Conde says there will be additional costs associated with competing in those disciplines to a medal-winning standard.

"We actually see all four of those as medal opportunities, but not if we don't get funding for it," he added.

Federal sports minister Kate Lundy visited Weymouth this week and Conde said they enjoyed a "good chat" about the issue.

The sailing team has already begun planning its Rio campaign, including looking at training facilities and some of the technology hurdles that will have to be overcome.

One of the Australian team's big successes at the London Games has been to adopt a pub for the sailors and their supporters to relax.

Conde says there will definitely be an `Australian' pub in Rio too.

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