Para Worlds Are Go!
by Bernie Kaaks
Today’s practice race gave competitors and officials alike the opportunity to test conditions on Port Phillip. Although competitors had to brave the cool Melbourne weather, a nice south westerly breeze led to some close racing on all three courses.
Sonars were racing on the outer course, farthest from the regatta centre at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in the pretty historical port of Williamstown, waves proved to be challenging for many competitors. In an even start, the British team began well at the port end of the line with the Australian team led by Colin Harrison on their hip. Although the gap opened up a little half way up the first leg, the Australians rounded the top mark with a slight lead and went on to record the win. The British boat showed great speed all around the course so we can expect a great battle between these two in the days to come. The official result showed the French team skippered by Jourdren Bruno finished second, with USA’s Rick Doerr third.
Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch got their campaign away to a perfect start with a strong performance in the Skud 18 class, but elected not to finish the race after pulling right from the fleet. The winner was the Canadian boat of John McRoberts and Jackie Gay. Second was the New Zealand team of Paul Webber and Amanda Beaver, followed by the Dutch team of Vera Voorbach and Jan-Rein Van Essevel.
On the 2.4mR course, the action was frenetic. With the course set much closer to shore in sheltered flat water, some 50 competitors, all with the intent of stamping their authority on the fleet, gave no quarter nor did they ask for any. Tasmania’s Matt Bugg was placed well on the approach to the first mark, but found himself in very heavy traffic and emerged from the pack well back in the fleet. Frenchman Damian Sequin won the practice race ahead of German champion Keiko Kroeger and Britain’s Helena Lucas.