Cádiz, Spain (July 3, 2019) – The experienced sailors of the fleet made an impression on day one of the 2019 Para Sailing World Championships. All four classes took to the waters with three of the events staged in split fleets as sailors are required to share boats and must swap between races.
In terms of paragliding experience, few can match the success of three-time Paralympic medalist Damien Seguin – and he leads the fleet of 18 2.4mR boats so far.
The Frenchman has won two races and finished second in another, and is relishing the conditions and competitive racing at Puerto Sherry so far.
“We had excellent conditions; the weather and the waves were perfect,” said Seguin. “In my second race, I had a little problem with my stake, but I fixed it downwind to finish second.”
Seguin revealed he hadn’t had much time on the water in the 2.4mR ahead of the Championships, as he focuses on his 2020 Vendée Globe campaign in IMOCA – and admitted it was a bit strange to navigate between two completely different boats!
“I trade a big boat for a small boat, so it’s interesting! he’s laughing. “For about a year I haven’t sailed the 2.4, but I did a big workout last week.
“Of course it’s not the same, the IMOCA is a big single-handed boat, so I have to manage, but I really like sailing on the 2.4.
Squizzato is second by four points, having collected two-thirds and a second, with Spaniard Arturo Montes, who won the second race of the day, in third place overall.
In the RS Venture Connect, two fleets of five crews each competed from midday until evening, with five races completed in the two.
Leading the yellow fleet, and second overall, are Canadian duo and Rio 2016 Paralympic medalists John McRoberts and Scott Lutes.
They have won three races and placed second in the other two, although they are not getting carried away yet.
“I like tight sailboat racing and it’s good to have as tight a fleet as possible,” said McRoberts.
“We always try to do our best every time we sail, and if the result is a medal we’re happy, but we’re not trying to put too much pressure on ourselves.
“I used to do that when I was younger. I was more job-oriented, but now I’m much more process-oriented and I’m very happy with our process today.
“We work through our problems and find solutions and just raise our game as high as possible – the result speaks for itself.”
In the blue fleet, Fabrizio Olmi and Davide Di Maria (ITA) took four impressive victories and a second to lead overall.
Their compatriots Marco Gualandris and Emiliano Giampietro (ITA) are currently third, but the points are tight in the lead.
The Hansa 303 Men contingent is the largest with 36 sailors, and they have also been split into two fleets.
The Yellow and Blue fleets both contested three races each, with Poland’s Piotr Cichocki quickly taking the lead.
The 2018 bronze medalist and 2017 gold medalist won two races and finished second in another, but is only two points ahead of Frenchman Edouard Champault, who fought hard against him.
“Today was really good and I’m really happy – the weather is really nice, sunny and windy, and I enjoyed my sailing,” said Cichocki.
“On the water, I fight well with the French Champault. Everyone wants to beat me, so they push every time!
“Every new regatta is a challenge, but I will do my best to win a medal here.”
Champault is second overall with 3, 1 and 2, while Blue Fleet’s Chris Symonds (AUS) – and last year’s gold medalist – is third overall with two firsts and a sixth.
In the Hansa 303 Women fleet, contested by 12 sailors, Miray Ulas (TUR) is currently ahead of Violeta del Reino (ESP) and Alison Weatherly (AUS).
A single point separates each of the top three, with fourth-placed Ana Paula Marques, a gold medalist last year, currently six points behind Weatherly.
The second day of racing will start tomorrow at 12:00 local time.
Event Details – Results – Facebook
Twenty-eight nations are represented at the 2019 Para Sailing World Championships from July 3-7 in Cadiz, Spain. The single-handed 2.4mR and Hansa 303 for men and women, and the double-handed RS Venture Connect, which was first seen at Para Worlds last year, are all back for 2019.
Source: World Sailing