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Podium Success for GB Sailors at the 2021 Hansa World Championships in Palermo, Sicily

by Claire Morris 20 Oct 2021 17:06 BST 2-9 October 2021
Rory's 303 at the windward mark during the 2021 Hansa World Championships at Palermo, Sicily © Salvatore Lopez

While some unseasonably stormy weather overshadowed much of the sailing at the Hansa World Championships in Sicily, the British team still managed to succeed with podium finishes in both classes they entered.

The event, from the 2nd to 9th October 2021, was the largest Hansa World Championships so far with over 180 sailors from 25 nations. Six British sailors and one Irish sailor flew out to join the parade at the opening ceremony which highlighted the diversity and the global reach of the Hansa family.

As there was no event for Hansa 2.3 this year, there were only three class competitions: Liberty, 303 singles and 303 doubles. The British team consisted of three 303 singles entrants: Mike Everitt and Dennis Hantman (both Frensham Pond), along with Rory McKinna (Clyde Cruising Club); and three Liberty sailors: Chris Atkin (Hanningfield Sailability), Paul Phillips and Tessa Watkiss (both Frensham Pond). The Liberty team was also joined by Mary Duffy from Ireland (Bray Sailing Club).

The regatta began with a spectacular thunderstorm, meaning racing for the whole day was abandoned. Disappointment resumed for Liberty and 303 doubles fleets on day two as the morning's racing had to be aborted due to lack of wind. The afternoon was more successful for the 303 singles as two races were managed, with Rory McKinna snaring an impressive 2nd place finish in the second race.

Day three saw two races for the 303 singles, and an impressive first place spot for Rory McKinna. Mike Everitt and Dennis Hantman also achieved their highest placings. Dennis, competing in his first international regatta, finished an admirable 48th out of 69 boats in Race 3, and Mike came in at a well-earned 18th place in Race 4.

The Liberty fleet managed their first complete race in the afternoon with success for the British team as Paul Phillips and Chris Atkin finished in 3rd and 4th place respectively. However, the weather again interrupted the event and "apocalyptic" conditions brought the sailors swiftly back to the marina.

With some better conditions on day four, the Liberty sailors managed three tightly fought races. Paul Phillips captured 2nd in the first race and 10th in the second, before securing a richly deserved 1st in the final race of the morning. Chris Atkin sailed solidly to claim two 6th places and an 8th, and Tessa Watkiss improved on her performance with every race, crossing the line in 8th, 7th and 6th. Mary Duffy recovered well from a broken jib strut in the previous day's storm to achieve three respectable results, 12th, 14th and 13th.

In the afternoon, the light winds struggled to maintain a direction and the only race for the 303 singles saw a 4th for Rory McKinna, leaving him in 3rd place overall. With no more racing for 303 singles on the final day, he finished in bronze medal position in the 303 single (open) competition behind Piotr Cichocki (Poland) in 1st and Cecile Venuat (France) in 2nd, and then was back up on the podium for the Para-World category, for which he was awarded the silver medal.

Similar success in the Liberty class was achieved by Paul Phillips as the final day of racing saw him cross the line in 3rd once more, earning him a bronze medal in the Liberty World Championship. First place went to Vera Voorbach (Netherlands), and the silver to Gerard Eychenne (France). Full results can be found at hansaworlds.org/results

To find out more about Hansa racing in the UK, or get your club involved, visit www.hansaclass.org.uk

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