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Blind Match Racing World Championship at Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club - Day 4

by Andrew Watson 6 Sep 2018 20:58 BST 1-7 September 2018
Blind Match Racing Worlds day 4 © Blind Sailing

Day 4 and semi-finals day at the Blind Match Racing Championship and the story of the day was the epic battle brewing between GBR2 and Canada.

In the second race of the day, David Brown's Canadian team drew first blood against Sally Rodrigues and GBR2.

When racing resumed in the early afternoon, Canada had a 1-0 advantage over GBR2. GBR2 pulled it back, drawing level at 1-1 to set up a sudden death match race. To add to the drama, the third semi-final race was started but subsequently abandoned after a big wind shift.

The teams reset as the windward mark was re-laid for the final race of the semi-finals. Canada led for most of the race, and were in the lead in the final led. However, they had incurred a penalty due to a port-starboard incident in the pre-start, and as they completed their penalty turn and headed for the finish line, GBR2 crossed narrowly ahead of Canada to take the win and set up an all-British Final tomorrow.

Sally Rodrigues, GBR2 skipper said: "We were pretty much up there with Canada, but they had a penalty turn to do. They opened the door for us and we took it.

"It's really exciting to be in the finals – a bit like a training session, but with medals and bragging rights. Your best competition are your teammates, and tomorrow is going to be a great competition."

David Brown, Canada skipper said: "Today was probably the best blind match racing day I've ever been in. We're disappointed, but they beat us across the finish by a couple of boat lengths so the penalty turn didn't factor in too much. It happens and it's all part of the game."

Earlier, as winner of the first part of the competition and earning the right to choose their opponent, GBR1 chose USA as their semi-finals opponent and for Sharon Grennan's GBR1 it turned out to be the right decision. GBR1 looked fast out on the water in the strengthening breeze and achieved a comfortable 2-0 over Walter T. Raineri's USA.

Tomorrow's format will start with the first Petit Final (first to two) race and alternate with the Final (first to three) races. BBC Scotland will also be out on the water to film for broadcast news on Friday evening and additional social media updates. RYA's Director of Performance, Olympian Silver Medallist and Volvo Round the World skipper, Ian Walker, will also be out on the water keeping a close eye on competitors.

Off the water, competitors were granted an audience with Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, The Princess Royal. The Royal visitor came out to see the racing on the water and spent a good period of time chatting to competitors, race officials and other event volunteers back at Rhu Marina.

The Princess Royal is Patron of the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club and a champion of sailing in the UK. The Organising Authority is grateful to Her Royal Highness for taking the time to visit us.

Blind Match Racing Worlds Semi Final Scores - photo © Blind Sailing

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Update from Lucy Hodges

With GBR1 finishing the qualifying series in the lead with a 100% they got to pick their opponents for the semi finals; GBR1 Sharon Grennan picked USA, which meant that the second semi final was GBR2 against Canada.

By 11.00 the breeze had filled in to an average of 8 knots. Race 1 was GBR1 on starboard entry against USA on port. Both boats entered well but a pre start port starboard sore GBR1 gain one penalty on USA. GBR1 tacked for the line in front of USA, but USA had a bit more speed, forcing GBR1 to tack on to port. USA followed GBR1 on to port and quickly dropped into their dirty air, GBR1 pulled out a lead which they maintained to the end finishing just over a leg ahead.

GBR2 then met Canada for their first race of the semi finals, GBR2 on starboard and Canada on port. GBR2 entered early along with Canada both boats seemed to have started their watches early and missed the calls over the radio to correct the time. Both countries started and continued up wind with a minute till start time. Once the RO had announced both boats were OCS they returned seeing GBR2 sail back across the line first but met Canada on starboard and had to tack, this gave Canada a clear run up on Starboard. Both boats sailed up wind well but a slight wind shift in the second third of the beat sore GBR2 round first. Both boats came down wind together but with a better rounding at the bottom mark by Canada they got back into the lead. GBR2 pulled back on the run but good positioning by Canada gave them the right of way and crossed the finish line just ahead of GBR2.

Third race of the day saw GBR1 back on the race course with USA. USA were on starboard entry with an increasing breeze, both boats timings on entry were changing and as the wind built. USA, unfortunately entered early and hit the mark so gained two penalties pre-start. This race was watched by Princes Anne so GBR1 battled with USA to try and gain a further penalty. GBR1 got a clear start ahead of USA and with the wind building they managed to extend their lead on each leg finishing a leg and a half ahead of USA, seeing them into the final.

After a quick break meeting Princes Anne and talking about Blind Sailing and how it works it was back on the race course for the final matches for GBR2 and Canada. It was again a battle at the start and around both laps of the race course for each race. GBR2 managed to just stay ahead of Canda after loosing the top mark and sailing a slightly longer course. But it was back to 1 all. After a few alterations of the course GBR2 and Canda entered smoothly. Canda had a good start, heading up wind with GBR slightly behind. After a small tacking battle, seeing Canada pick up a penalty, Canda sailed the shorted course and rounded the top mark first. They managed to maintained their lead to the final leg, but half way down the course started to goose wing and head dead down wind, there had been a slight wind change, GBR2 gybed just over half way down and headed for the line, Canada took their penalty allowing GBR2 to sail through the line and take them the win which will them into the final.

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