World Blind Sailing Championships Finish in New Zealand

24 Mar 2009 By IPC

The 2009 International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) World Blind Sailing Championships finished after five days of racing on 21 March, bringing together some of the best athletes in Sailing from around the world to Lake Rotorua in New Zealand.

Host country New Zealand held the reigns on the water, winning first place in the B2 fleet with athlete Paulien Eitjes. New Zealand also took second in both the B1 and B3 fleets, with athletes Dick Lancaster and Dave Allerton pulling in their respective events to top positions.

Paulien Eitjes was followed in the B2 fleet by Great Britain’s Lucy Hodges and Japan’s Takao Sugiyama. The winner in the B1 fleet was Italy’s Luigi Bertanza, with the third position taken by Norway’s Thomas Johannesen. The B3 fleet had Great Britain’s Gary Kirby taking top position, with USA’s Jason Wallenstein in third.

The results of the races during the 2009 IFDS World Blind Sailing Championships gave New Zealand the World Championships team event title once again after its top rankings in the different events.

Throughout the races, athletes and organizers had to fight light winds and no-winds, which affected a few of the events. On the final day for example, half of the fleet were not able to finish the first race after the wind dropped, and the second race was abandoned due to a lack of wind. Many of the organizers were constantly on their toes as to whether or not the events would in fact take place.

The wind however was not always a major problem. On 18 and 19 March, conditions were ideal for athletes to power their boats to the finish in good time. With both days having four races, the athletes found strong determination in getting through the course.

The 2009 IFDS World Blind Sailing Championships were held on Lake Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand. Registration began on 13 March at the Lakefront Race Headquarters, with five days of racing taking place the following week. An Awards Dinner finished off the Championships on the final day.