IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championships 2013



Seabornia Yacht Club and Riviera Resort Ltd. invited visual impaired sailors and sighted support crews to compete together in the IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championships 2013 in Japan. The regatta was sailed on J/24 boats on the Sagami Bay to the south-west of Yokohama.
Registration opened Friday May 24 at the race office at Seabornia Marina and finished within two hours. Saturday May 25 was used for practice and the opening ceremony. On both days, May 24 and 25, the classification of all visual impaired sailors was done by the classification team. Five days of racing were held over the following week with the Awards Dinner on Saturday the 1st June 2013.

 

Racing Day 1, Sunday May 26th

Weather briefing: first cloudy then later clear, wind from south with 5~8 meters per second, temperature aound 26 degrees C

Races sailed: 4 races

Winners of the day:

B1 - Japan Team A

B2 - Great Britain

B3 - New Zealand

All 19 teams left a port at 9:30 am in early summer weather. The course ranged from upwind buoy to downwind buoy, taking approximately 30 minutes. The 1st race started for the B1 class at 10:46am, and followed by B2  five minutes later and B3 after the next five minutes. Southerly wind blew up, as it warmed. Under wind reaching 8 meters per second, weighty teams could gain speed by keeping the boats well-balanced. Japan team A took the daily lead in a last-minute dash, taking advantage of the knowledge about local wind and tide.

 

Racing Day 2, Monday May 27th 

Weather briefing: clear in the morning then later cloudy, wind from southwest with 3~5meters per second, temperature at 22 degrees C

Races sailed: 3 races

Winners of the day:

B1 – Great Britain

B2 - Great Britain

B3 – New Zealand

All boats left the marina at 9:30 in an early summer morning. The sky showed stretched smoky clouds with patches of blue and the wind was blowing a gentle breeze. The B1 fleet started at 10:30 am, but B2 and B3 had to wait until 11.30 due to shifting winds. Around noon the wind finally picked up and buoys were reset only a few more times. In barn-burner, UK took over the lead in the B1 class, while UK and New Zealand extended their leads in the B2 and B3 classes.

 

Tuesday May 28th 

A lay day with well deserved rest for the teams, volunteers and boats

 

Racing Day 3, Wednesday May 29th

Weather briefing: clear in the morning and cloudy later, wind from south to southwest with 9~14 meters per second, temperature 22 degrees C

Races sailed: 4 races

Winners of the day:

B1 – Great Britain

B2 - Great Britain

B3 – New Zealand

The Championships progressed to the second-half. All competitors seemed to be well rested after the lay day. They left the port at 9:55 in summer’s sun. However, shifty wind prevented the 1st round from starting. B1 finally started around 11:00 am. Stiff winds created highly competitive conditions from the 1st round on with some mark-touches, close tacks and a few protests flags flying. UK teams performed solidly in B1 and B2 and New Zealand also maintained their top position in B3.

 

Thursday May 30th

All races were suspended due to adverse weather and were shifted to Friday.

 

Racing Day 4, Friday May 31st

Weather briefing: clear and sunny, wind direction from north to northeast with 4~8 meters per second, temperature: 25 degrees C

Races sailed: 2 races

Winners of the day:

B1 – Great Britain

B2 - Great Britain

B3 – New Zealand

The Championships got the best weather in the season. 1st starting signal at 10:30 sharp. Some teams improved their ranking in their classes. As 13 rounds were finished at the end of this day, each team could eliminate the two worst results from its total score. The ranking was slightly shuffled in the B2 fleet: Australia’s team moved up to 2nd by 2 notches. The Championship was broadcasted  on TV by one of Japan’s major TV station in a documentary-like fashion.

 

Racing Day 5, Saturday June 1st

Weather briefing: cloudy, wind direction: northeast, wind speed: 5~6 meters per second, temperature: 25 degrees C

Races sailed: 2 races

Winners of the day and overall:

B1 – Great Britain

B2 - Great Britain

B3 – New Zealand

1st round started at 10:45am. Many teams had barn-burner in the last day of the Championship. However, close fights could not alter the expected ranking.

On the last day, we were honored with the presence of Her Imperial Highness The Princess Takamado. She watched today’s two races from a catamaran sailing around the race course. The award ceremony was held in her presence. Shortly afterwards, the closing party was held with the participation of all competitors, members of the organizing committee, volunteers and a jazz band. Everyone had a good time with great food and drinks. Local seafood and fresh vegetables were served. Gifts and pin badges changed hands and friendships were formed. On the way to the buses, the competitors passed the lines of volunteers with lots of handshakes and hugs.

 

Final results

B1 class: UK won the 1st prize

B2 class: UK won the 1st prize

B3 class: New Zealand won the 1st prize

Best Sailor Award: Kylie Forth of Australia

 

Comments from Her Imperial Highness The Princess Takamado:

She expressed her enjoyment about the races and the exchange of words she had with all the participants. This experience changed her mind about sailing. She hopes that blind sailing will encourage support for all other sports with disabled people. She bids competitors a cordial welcome whenever they visit Japan again in the future.

 

Comments from Mr. Ono (President of Seabornia Yacht Club):

He commented blind sailing was the perfect sports in which disabled persons and able-bodied persons can reach for each others’ hands. He expressed his enthusiasm to keep transmitting such important messages to all over the world and Japan.

 

Comments from the Principal Race Officer, Mr. Oba (Riviera Resort):

Shifting winds made it difficult to set the marks at the right places. He was glad to have a chance to run all planned 15 races. He added that the different crew weights played a role in determine the results.

 

Comments from the Champions:

 

Sharon Glennan, Great Britain, 1st of B1 class

She expressed her delight at victory and deepest gratitude to race committee of well race arrangements. She also expressed her appreciation to all match officials and competitors caming from all over the world for  her valuable experiences. She added she was proud of the efforts of her team and her believing to keep the trophy also in next competition.

 

Lucy Hodges, Great Britain, 1st of B2 class

She expressed her admiration to all competitors, especially to New Zealand team. She appreciated her coach, who is a UK champion, for 3-day special training to maneuver J24. She added that strong winds favored for UK teams this time.

 

Tony Holmes, New Zealand, 1st of B3 class

His team did not view a particular team competitively. His team spent only 5 days for training before coming to the Competition as team members were totally fixed at the last minutes. He expressed gratitude for nice race-venue and the organizer, and he was impressed about the equal race boat conditions. He also expressed delight to well-received first visit to Japan.