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Tasmanians in the hunt on day 3 of the Para World Sailing Championships

by Peter Campbell 21 Sep 2018 05:02 BST 18-22 September 2018

Tasmanian sailors Matt Bugg and Chris Symonds continue to be in the hunt for medals at the 2018 Para World Sailing Championships being sailed on the US Lake Michigan.

After six 2.4 Norlin OD races, Damien Seguin (FRA), Matt Bugg (AUS) and Dee Smith (USA) are separated by just two points at the top of the standings.

Just one race was completed on Thursday (USA time) and Seguin was able to win it, which promoted him back into the lead he lost the day before to Bugg.

The Tasmanian came through in third and is one point off Seguin, the Rio Paralympic gold medallist. Smith finished second in the sixth race of the series and is in third, one point off Bugg.

"It was really tricky today," explained Bugg on the day's conditions. "There was not a lot of wind and quite a large sea state.

"It was really hard to keep the boat going and pretty much after the start it was a bit of a procession out to the right and up to the top mark. It was hard to make up places once you had your number in the procession."

On Wednesday, three races were completed and Bugg won two and took a second. This pushed him firmly into contention after a slow start.

"Yesterday was great. The boat felt really fast," Bugg said at Sheboygan Yacht Club which is hosting disabled sailors from a record 39 nations.

"I was very happy with getting out of the start cleanly and being able to tack when I wanted to. As soon as things cleared out after the start I could keep the boat going fast and go wherever I wanted to go and keep it close to the leaders. I took the opportunity to pass when it presented itself," added the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and Derwent Sailing Squadron member.

Three races are scheduled for Friday (early Saturday morning AEST) ahead of Saturday's (early Sunday morning AEST) Medal Race and Bugg is excited about the prospect of the double-points decider.

"The Medal Race will be great. It's good in the Olympics, it doubles the importance and makes every decision twice as important. I like the high-pressure scenarios."

Germany's Heiko Kroger is in fourth, 14-points off Seguin who was gold medallist at the Rio Paralympics, with Bugg taking silver at those Games.

After two qualifying days in the Men's Hansa 303, the top 17 competitors advanced to the Gold fleet. The results from the qualification days no longer count so effectively the competitors were starting from scratch.

Ange Margaron (FRA) clinched the first race victory but could only follow up with an 11th in the second of the day. Poland's Piotr Cichocki won the second race of the day but he was disqualified from the opening race of the day.

Germany's Jens Kroker leads on eight points, Margaron follows on 12 and Christopher Symonds (AUS) from Wynyard Sailing Club is third after placing 7-4 in the medal races.

On the River Derwent last evening, a fleet of 35 yachts started in the first race of the Ronald Young & Co Builders50th Pipe Opener Series, sailing a tricky night course down the river and the winding reaches of the D'Entrecasteux Channel to Garden Island at the mouth of the Huon River.

This afternoon many of the entrants will contest the Huon Aquaculture Cock of the Huon race off Shipwrights Point.

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