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Sarah Douglas the top Canadian at the 2023 ILCA 6 & 7 Sailing Senior Europeans

by Sail Canada 21 Mar 00:30 GMT March 12-17, 2023
Sarah Douglas - 2023 ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 Senior European Championships © Thom Touw Sailing Photographer

Sarah Douglas from Toronto was the top Canadian sailor at the 2023 ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 Senior European Championships, which ended Friday in Andora, Italy, as she came up with a 21st-place finish.

At the mid-point of the ILCA 6 competition, Sarah Douglas was in 8th position, but a tough last part of racing pushed her back to 21st place out of a total of 112 sailors. Coralie Vittecoq from Montreal was 50th, Maura Dewey from Victoria, 52nd, and Clara Gravely from Toronto, 64th.

"It was a challenging week with very long days and tricky conditions," said Sarah Douglas. "I'm going to take the highs and the lows of this competition and take what I can learn from this week. This 2023 season is very long; it's a marathon, not a sprint. I'm confident in our plan heading towards Olympic qualifying."

Dutch sailor Marit Bouwmeester, a bronze medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, finished in first place, followed by Vasileia Karachaliou from Portugal and Maria Erdu from Hungary. Tokyo 2020 and 2022 ILCA 6 World Championship winner Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark finished in 5th place.

In ILCA 7, James Juhasz from Oakville, ON, was the top Canadian among the eight who were in action and was the country's lone sailor in the Gold Fleet, as he finished in 58th place.

Fillah Karim from Vancouver took the 70th spot, Luke Ruitenberg from St. Margaret's Bay, N.S., was 66th, Norman Struthers from Toronto, 109th, Ben Flower from Tobermory, ON, 128th, Liam Bruce from Oakville, 129th, and Forrest Wachholz from Innisfil, ON, 147th. Ryan Anderson from Halifax finished last among the 186 sailors following an injury he suffered on the first day of competition.

Tonci Stipanovic and Filip Jurisic, both from Croatia, respectively won the gold and silver medals, followed by Matthew Wearn from Australia, the Tokyo 2020 gold medalist. Stipanovic won the silver medal in Tokyo while Jurisic took the 3rd spot at the 2022 ILCA 7 World Championship.

"We had tricky conditions throughout the week," pointed out James Juhasz. "Lots of waiting around for wind, but luckily, we were able to complete 10 races over the week. After a penalty in the first race of the regatta, I managed to finish off qualifying with some solid scores, including my first-ever top 10 finish at a major international regatta. I carried that into Gold Fleet racing sitting in 42nd place overall. Over the final three days of competition, we managed six races in varying conditions, but my starts were uncharacteristically lacking, which unfortunately saw me slide to 58th out of 186 sailors. I have taken away a lot of important learnings which I am looking forward to putting to use at the upcoming Princess Sofia Regatta, as I look to qualify for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games."

The Canadians in ILCA 6 and ILCA 7, as well as sailors from other Olympic classes, will now look towards the 2023 Princess Sofia Regatta, to be held April 3-8 in Mallorca, Spain. A lot will be at stake at this competition, which will also serve as a Canadian qualifier for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and 2023 Sailing World Championships -- which in turn will both serve as quota spot qualifiers for countries for Paris 2024 --, as well as for the 2024 Olympic Games Test Event.

Canadian results at the 2023 ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 Senior European Championships

ILCA 6 (/112)
21. Sarah Douglas (Toronto, ON, RCYC)
50. Coralie Vittecoq (Montréal, QC, Pointe-Claire YC/BLBC)
52. Maura Dewey (Victoria, B.C., RVYC)
64. Clara Gravely (Toronto, ON, ABYC)

ILCA 7 (/186)
58. James Juhasz (Oakville, ON, BHYC)
66. Luke Ruitenberg (St. Margaret's Bay, N.S., RNSYS)
70.-Fillah Karim (Vancouver, B.C., RVYC)
109. Norman Struthers (Toronto, ON, RCYC)
128. Ben Flower (Tobermory, ON, Tobermory YC)
129. Liam Bruce (Oakville, ON, Port Credit YC)
147. Forrest Wachholz (Innisfil, ON, Barrie YC)
186. Ryan Anderson (Halifax, N.S., RNSYS)

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