Wednesday, 25 March 2009

NZ defends World Championship title at World Blind Sailing Championships

by Zoe Hawkins

New Zealand has successfully defended its world championship team event title at the IFDS World Blind Sailing Championships sailed on Rotorua last week.

New Zealand wins the 2009 title after securing a gold in the B2 fleet, and two silver medals in the B1 and B3 fleets.

Regatta organisers attempted to hold two races on Lake Rotorua this morning to complete the week’s sailing, however, half the fleet were not able to finish the first race after the wind dropped, and the second race was abandoned due to no wind.

After 15 races, Italy, skippered by Luigi Bertanza, held onto its lead at the top of the table, coming first in the B1 division. New Zealand, skippered by Dick Lancaster came second, and Norway, skippered by Thomas Johannesen came third.

In the B2 fleet, Paulien Eitjes from Tauranga skippering the New Zealand team, completely dominated racing this week, winning 14 out of 15 races. Great Britain, skippered by Lucy Hodges, came second. Japan, skippered by Takao Sugiyama, came third.

In the B3 fleet, Gary Kirby skippering the Great Britain team, dominated much of the racing, finishing well ahead at the top of the table. New Zealand, skippered by Dave Allerton, came second. The USA, skippered by Jason Wallenstein, came third.
Organising committee chairman Don McGowan says he is delighted with the regatta – even though the wind sometimes posed a challenge.

"We are very pleased with how the regatta has gone this week. We were able to get 15 races away, despite some fickle winds, and at times we had some very close and exciting racing.

"It has been a great festival of blind sailing and we have a big group of happy sailors from all around the world.

"It would have been nice to have some more racing today, but it wasn't to be."

The next Blind Sailing International Championships will be held in Yokohama, Japan in 2013.

Yachting New Zealand

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