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36th Soling World Championship at Annapolis - Preview

by Stuart Walker 13 Oct 2006 07:53 BST 18-22 October 2006

Thirty-nine boats - the largest fleet of Solings to race in North America in the past eight years - will gather on Monday at the Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis for the 36th running of the Soling World Championship. The fleet will include nine Europeans, six South Americans and six Canadians along with American sailors from Chicago, Milwaukee, New York and Connecticut.

The host club will conduct a 50 boat Lightning regatta on the Saturday and Sunday preceding the Monday start of the Soling Worlds and a 50 boat J-24 regatta during the week following. Probably no other club in the world attempts to conduct so many major events in such a brief span of time! Each of the classes involved has worked effectively with the others to insure a seamless transition.

In the fleet are three former World Champions - Gustavo Warburg of Argentina, who has won the Championship twice, Bill Abbott of Canada who won the last time the Championship was conducted in the U.S. in 2002 at Marblehead and the current champion, Roman Koch of Germany, who won last year in Castiglione de la Pescaia in Tuscany, Hans Fogh who has been an Olympian more frequently than any other sailor in the world, Stu Walker of the host club, the only American Olympian in the fleet, Peter Hall, who just won the US Championship on Lake Champlain two weeks ago and many other national and international champions.

Two innovations - one derived from Mexico and one from Australia - will distinguish the event. At the 1968 Olympic Regatta in Acapulco Grommeti`s - junior sailors from the host clubs - assisted the competitors and here in Annapolis Grommets will carry the flags of their assigned nations in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as assist the competitors during the week. The Australian custom of recognizing the top three finishers each afternoon by requiring the third place bastards to buy the beer, the second place to serve and pour and the first place to sing will be revived at SSA - only the beer will be replaced with Ariston champagne! provided by our event supporters.

The Opening Ceremony will take place at 5:00PM on Tuesday with Annapolis’ Mayor in attendance and the fleet will sail nine races in five days - from Wednesday. Oct 18th to Sunday. October 22nd. We should experience the typical fine October weather of the Chesapeake - perhaps a day of showers followed by a cold front passage with a day or two of blustery northwesterlies and several warm sunny days with moderate southerlies. (Of course - and more likely - because at every big event the weather gods can be expected to bring weather that none of the locals have ever seen before! - there will be fog or snow or dead calm!)

More information at www.solingworlds.com

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