What a busy month of sailing! Two distance races, Down The Bay and the Annapolis Newport on Laurent Givry’s Farr 400 Jeroboam, and the MetreFest in Newport, RI on my 2.4mR, followed by a trip to Kiel in Germany, for the Pre Worlds and Para Worlds in a Dutch chartered 2.4mR.
Sailing in Kiel in the past has always been a mixed blessing. It really is a great event and organized fantastically with over 1800 boats in attendance. It is part Boat Show, Circus and Regatta. The weather could be either sunny and warm with not too much wind, or a lot of wind and cold, with a good bit of rain. We had both conditions this year.
The first regatta in the Pre World’s Open 2.4mR Championship was held in perfect, warm, sunny conditions. Winds ranged from 6-12 knots and there were 35 boats racing. I had chartered a 2.4mR from the Netherlands. Not being mine and not tweaked like my little “2 for 1” I had a few challenges. In the light air of the Pre Worlds she was ok, but in a breeze I was not able to hold on to the good boats which I sailed against in Rio last year
I could not have done this Regatta without the help from USALCO and the Askew family, New York Architect’s Regatta Challenge St Francis Sailing Foundation, and the 2.4 Paralympic Campaign. Thank you for all your ongoing support.
The World Para Fleet all came together this year in Kiel in an effort to help Sailing be reinstated back into the Paralympics. As you know this cause has been very dear to my heart. The IPC told us that we needed 32 countries competing before they would possibly reconsider placing Sailing back in. In fact, we had 39 participating nations and hopefully we will hear over the next year if we were successful to have our sport placed back into the 2024 Paralympic Games. A lot of credit needs to go to all the people involved in this momentous effort.
Pre Worlds / warm up.
I was into my chartered 2.4mR for the first time within an hour before the first race, and was relieved to feel that it was an ok boat. I had brought over my own set of Quantum Sails and some parts which I had hoped would make her competitive in the lightish air. Our course was quite challenging as the wind came off the land and there were big shifts and very subtle currents. The wind would blow from one side, then die and come from another. It was hard in the middle to transcend the holes but sometimes it was the way to go.
Heiko, the local German was the star of the Regatta. Australian Matt Bug and Silver Medalist was also sailing very well. I managed to keep in touch with them while the winds were light. The shifty winds worked for me. Matt decided not to sail the last day and I was disappointed not to have him on the water to dual it out with. Heiko was the clear winner. I finished second, with 2 firsts. I felt consistent, no races worse than seventh in a chartered boat.
You can look at the SAP info on the Pre Worlds races here:
There was only 3 races tracked but you can see the tactical racing of the 2.4.
Next Day / 2.4mR ParaWorlds
The Worlds was an entirely different story for me. We had 43 competitors and many were in chartered boats, some of whom did not sail the Pre- Worlds. The starts and marks were way more crowded and some racers did not do a good job sailing to the rules.
The 1st race under a U Flag, I thought I got off to a great start, sailing around the 1st mark with a good lead only to have the wind die and fill in from behind. I finished second, only problem I was over the line by 1 meter…. This was not the way I wanted to use my throw out! On the next race I was pushed and fouled around the starting line and had a terrible start. I felt lucky to pass many boats and ended up 14th… OCS and 14th for the first day… Not going the right way. The next day was also a bit light, nice day, I sailed better to a 6th after being fouled a few times in the race. The wind was all over the place so the Race Committee ultimately cancelled the 2nd race.
Day 3 was windy and did not work out so well for me. My only battery went dead on my electric pump. This was not a good sign as the wind was from 14 to 28 knots and very choppy. I was unable to make it to the first mark as my hand pump was not up to the task, and I had to retire from the race and be towed in, also missing the 2nd race of the day. Two more letter races. Too many letters for a series and I knew I was basically done for a good finish. Over the last 5 races my record was 4,4,11,2,6. Nothing very flash but I tried and sailed hard. I was hoping for a top five finish which would have been great for a chartered boat in breeze. Unfortunately I was not able to stay out of trouble.
The series belonged to Heiko Kroger/ Germany, 2nd Matt Bugg /Australia and 3rd Damien Sequin/France. Damian won gold and Matt won Silver in Rio 2016. These three sailed a hell of a regatta and deserved their placing. Going into the last day, there were only 2 points between them. Heiko won the 1st race and was able to hold onto his lead with a 5th in the 2nd race, winning a tie breaker with Matt.
Bjornar Erikstad/ Norway finished 4th. I have always had a lot of fun sailing competing against these guys. I have said this in the past but it is true that these guys sail as well as anyone I have ever sailed against. I hope they all will be back to the States 2018 to compete in next year’s Para Worlds on the Great Lakes, where I will have my boat, and maybe no letters in the score.
SAP info for the Para Worlds: