The SKUD18 Australian crew of Liesl Tesch and Daniel Fitzgibbon held on to win the race 10 of the 2015 Para Sailing World Championships on Wednesday (2 December) in Melbourne, Australia, despite facing enormous pressure from the Dutch crew of Rolf Schrama and Sandra Nap.
Their two victories, winning race nine earlier in the day, place the Australians in the lead of the SKUD18 fleet, as competition concludes on Thursday (3 December). They have racked up a total of 11 points – after dropping their worst score – and are in good position to defend their world title.
Trailing the Australians are the British crew of Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell with 26 points, followed by the Italian combination of Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti with 39 points.
It was a different story on the Sonar course, where the usually consistent Australian crew of Colin Harrison, Russell Boaden and Jonathan Harris struggled to find any rhythm. They experienced problems on Tuesday due to tough weather conditions and huge swings in wind direction. Wednesday’s racing was in stronger breeze, and the Australians were 13th in race nine, their worst result so far, and 10th in race 10.
The British crew of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas, won race 10 to lead with 31 points. The Australian crew lost their place at the head of the leaderboard but remain in a podium position with French team of Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary.
“We struggled for boat speed all day [Wednesday],” said Australian skipper Colin Harrison, “Boats that were behind us at the start were beating us to the windward mark.”
In the 2.4mR fleet, Frenchman Damien Seguin has improved at every outing. He was unflappable on Wednesday, finding his way to the front by the first mark and then extending his lead to finish the day with two firsts.
Australia’s Matt Bugg scored a second in race nine and was right on Seguin’s tail for most of the race but could not find a passing lane. He was fifth in race 10. Germany’s Heiko Kroeger sailed consistently again for third and fourth placings to remain second on the leader board with 28 points, 10 behind the Frenchman.
Complete results and information on the Para Sailing World Championships can be found on the event website.
Day 4 recap
Day 3 recap
Day 2 recap
Day 1 recap