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Gul 2020 LEADERBOARD

GBR Blind Sailing at the 2019 Blind Fleet Racing World Championships - Day 3

by Lucy Hodges 7 Sep 2019 10:12 BST 1-9 September 2019

The people of Kingston and Kingston Yacht Club have warmly welcomed GBR. As you will read from the individual reports each day is different and each race is different. From first look at a Shark 24 on Saturday, the teams have put all their knowledge together and are learning to sail the boats in the different conditions each day.

Day 3 was a challenging day for all competitors. With a storm during the night, teams woke up to a fresh 20-25 knt South Westerly. Morning racing was kicked off with the B1 fleet who were the first to experience the swell that had built up over the past 12hrs; it was true surfing conditions for the Shark 24s. As the B1's concluded their morning racing the wind was still hovering at around 20knts as boats sailing upwind continued to flog their mainsails in the gusts with some teams reporting full knockdowns. It was now the turn of the B2/3 fleets who were greeted with a slightly tamer 18-20 knts, though wave heights had still not fallen so upwind and down legs were still very exciting. Throughout the day it was the right hand side of the track that rewarded competitors, with a significant bend and flatter water boats were able to come in with great pace on the starboard lay line.

Team Reports

B1 - Vicki Sheen, Dennis Manning, Martin Moody and Tim Mills

Day three saw high winds. The boat left the dock but within minutes the main halyard parted. Forced to return back to the dock, waiting for a replacement boat meant the team had to hit the start line running with minimal course preparation time. Despite these challenges, the team coped well with the conditions; achieving a third. Race eight, still racing just within the sailable limits of the boats, the team was OCS at the start, dipping back to the line cost the boat heavily, resulting in the team needing to claw its way back up through the fleet from the back. In the circumstances a fourth was a reasonable result. The team finished joint third overall with France for the day.

B1 - Sally Rodrigues, Mark Austen, Will Morris and Colin Midgley

Third day of racing was blowing a hoolie. Before the first race started while Will was helming downwind, a huge gust caused an involuntary jibe, resulting in the main sheet hitting Will across the face. The principle race officer ordered us ashore over the radio to have him checked, advising that he would give us redress for that race. The protest committee decided he didn't have that authority and we were credited with a DNS. Gary Butler kindly stepped in for the only other race, for the B1's which started well winning the pin end and getting the first shift. We couldn't get the boat to track well on port tack, although starboard was fine. We dropped back on the long port tack but still managed to round in third place which we held to the end. Difficult conditions but we look forward.to the next day of racing.

B2 - Lucy Hodges, Martin Phillips, Ben Hazeldine and Gary Butker

What a day... with the B1's reporting back looking like drowned rats and telling some interesting stories we knew it was going to be a big day. As we headed out for race 1 it was apparent that despite the wind the main challenge was the swell that had built up. We found that boat set up and mode changes was key to good boat speed as there was large differences in wave angle and size across the track. Starboard tack was definitely more face on with a bow down twisted mode being key to keeping the boat driving hard and not being bulled sideways in the larger gusts. Conversely port had more cross in the swell requiring attention to steering over the top on the waves and a slightly tighter set up to maintain height. Overall it was a good day for the team, with bullets across the board we were confident that we had sussed the best way up the track with an early tack out to the starboard side, seeing a favourable wind bend and flatter waters. Despite success it was not all plain sailing with the Canadian team putting pressure on us through the day with great speed on port making it more challenging to stay in control of the fleet.

B3 - Jonny Cormack, Liam Cattermole, Chris Albert and Jonny Stevenson

Saw the windiest conditions we've raced in so far. It was a real effort by all the team to keep the boat flat and track through the huge swell that Lake Ontario was throwing at us! Again, the Canadians had the edge on us in both races with their knowledge of the boats, managing gain that extra half a knot. We ended up with two seconds behind Canada leaving us 2 points off the lead going into day 4.

Day 4: in stark contrast day 4 started with a lack of wind forcing the race committee to postpone B2/3 morning racing. There was no gradient pressure with the improvement of conditions relying on continued heating to start a strong thermal cycle and sea breeze from the South West. Around 12 the wind started to stabilise at 215 degrees with 4-6knts and continued to build thought race 1. Despite promising signs of more stable conditions, sailors experienced unpredictable shifts and changes in pressure across the race course which made boat speed less of a priority than all the days before. During race 2 wind speeds dropped back down to around 5 knts with the race committee having to shorten the course. Towards the end of race 3 for the B2/3's pressure increased and so with it came more stability; race 3 set the trend for the B1's afternoon racing which saw a build in pressure up to 8-12knts with increased stability. The sea state for the day was far flatter with the B2/3's racing in more traditional inland conditions and the B1's seeing a small build in short chop as the breeze increased.

B1 - Vicki Sheen, Dennis Manning, Martin Moody and Tim Mills

Day four brought steady light winds, spotting the shifts, was going to be the name of the game. Good start saw GB fighting it out around the course nose to nose, continually swapping places with Australia. Running to the line with GB just ahead, the Australian's came through with a puff of wind form the left, nosing across the line ahead of GB.

Race 10 saw a replay of race 9, with GB again in the lead for the whole race with Australia bringing up the new wind at the finish, this time GB held their lead to cross the line in first place.

Race 11, GB1 got pinned out at the pin end. Jibbing around on the gun, once again left the GB team having to climb back up through the fleet from behind. GB held their nerve, finishing fourth. Following protests, the place was adjusted to third, Now with a first, second and third, GB1 finished with an overall position of third, two points behind Australia in second and seven points ahead of the French boat in fourth.

With three days to sail and possibly the best boats in the fleet still to be used (in the boat rotation system) by the GB1 team, the race is still on for the gold medal.

B1 - Sally Rodrigues, Mark Austen, Will Morris and Colin Midgley

The 4th day of racing the B1 fleet were due out in the afternoon and watching the B2 and B3 fleets we could see real tricky conditions with big wind shifts across the course. We started well, however only a short way into the race our traveller disintegrated and with no way to control the main sheet we had to retire. Not again another opportunity lost. We sailed in changed into the spare boat and just made it back in time for the second race. With no time to acclimatise to the new equipment we only managed a 5th. However we felt confident for the third race, had a good start again and worked our way up the right side of the course to round on first place. Still in the lead at the bottom mark we had lined up the right hand mark when the French who were aiming for the left, decided the right was better and forced us to not only hit the mark but go the wrong side. First to last in seconds. It wasn't much consolation that the French were disqualified we can only hope for an incident free day today.

B2 - Lucy Hodges, Martin Phillips, Ben Hazeldine and Gary Butker

In stark contrast day 4 started with a lack of wind forcing the race committee to postpone B2/3 morning racing. There was no gradient pressure with the improvement of conditions relying on continued heating to start a strong thermal cycle and sea breeze from the South West. Around 12 the wind started to stabilise at 215 degrees with 4-6knts and continued to build thought race 1. Despite promising signs of more stable conditions, sailors experienced unpredictable shifts and changes in pressure across the race course which made boat speed less of a priority than all the days before. During race 2 wind speeds dropped back down to around 5knts with the race committee having to shorten the course. Towards the end of race 3 for the B2/3's pressure increased and so with it came more stability; race 3 set the trend for the B1's afternoon racing which saw a build in pressure up to 8-12knts with increased stability. The sea state for the day was far flatter with the B2/3's racing in more traditional inland conditions and the B1's seeing a small build in short chop as the breeze increased.

B3 - Jonny Cormack, Liam Cattermole, Chris Albert and Jonny Stevenson

A lovely sunny day with light shifty winds, conditions which our team have trained in many times on the waters of Windermere in the UK.

The first race saw GBR, Canada and the USA jostling for positions through the whole race. The final leg saw USA take the lead and Canada were inches ahead of GBR to take 2nd. Our worst result so far, but we knew if we played the shifts and kept boat speed we could do better.

Second race we decided to take it to the Canadians and held them out pre-start, we came into the line with speed and controlling the fleet. We played the shifts, tacking our way up the course with some great teamwork and executing tacks beautifully. We lead the race from start to finish putting us within one point of Canada for the regatta.

The third race saw the wind going even lighter. Again we fought with Canada on the start pushing them out left. At the windward mark it was neck and neck between Canada, GBR and USA.

It was the same at the leeward mark and USA and Canada went left whereas we decided to play the right shift. This gave us a 5 boat length lead at the windward mark which we extended to the finish line giving us another 1st and the end of a great days racing for GBR.

At the end of day 4, we are back on equal points with Canada. Well done team!

Day 5, saw the team wake to no breeze, B1's were dur to have a warning signal at 9:55 then B2,3 at 13:55, but it was not looking promising. With a lot of disappointment but not something the race officer can control the race officer flow AP over A for all fleets. So a swim in lake to cool off was taken by the team.

On Day 5 Great Britain are 32 points ahead of Canada for the Squadron Cup, seeing them in a good position as they go into the last few days of racing. 2nd Canada 96 and 3rd USA 106.

Thank you all who have supported the charity, silent donors, G Shuckford, Director of Healthcare IT Company, Optimum Time. Big Thank you to Rooster for making our team look like a team and keep warm and dry on the water.

And those behind Team Margot www.teammargot.com please alongside following our progress at the Worlds, please open click on this link and after reading the work Team Margot do, take a swab and become a potential donor.

Results can be found at www.kingstonyachtclub.com/bllindsailingworlds2019

Please follow us at @BlindSailingUK

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