Record-breakers in town for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race tomorrow – Some of the world’s top sailors join the fleet for 80th anniversary race

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TP52 Conviction – photo Peter Marshall.

The 60-mile sprint clock-wise round Barbados has sparked a lot of interest with many of the world’s top speed sailors here on the island including Paul Larsen, Wouter Verbraak, Rob Greenhalgh, Brian Thompson, Lloyd Thornburg, Helena Darvelid, Ned Collier Wakefield, and Jonny Malbon currently preparing for a serious attempt at breaking records in tomorrow’s Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.

The weather is looking good for record-breaking too with winds forecast to reach 28+ knots. It looks as though the wind will be from the north-east for the early starters for the stretch to north point, then at midday it should turn east to provide an exciting sail all the way down to coast to east point.

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MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield – photo Peter Marshall.

Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, this historic race, which ran for the first time 80 years ago was based on bragging rights for the fastest Trading Schooners. The winner of the first race was Captain Lou Kenedy’s Sea Fox, which completed the course in 10 hours 20 minutes.

The current absolute record for Multihulls, set by Bryn Palmer on Silver Bullet in 2012, is 4 hours, 24 minutes, 27 seconds, while the absolute Monohull record with a time of 4 hours, 42 minutes, 20 seconds is held by Andy Budgen’s VO70 Monster Project. There are also 12 other records up for grabs, all of which offer the skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Rum as a prize if broken.

The line up tomorrow is impressive with the likes with two world-class MOD70s – MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, and Phaedo3 co skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson threatening to annihilate the records. The smaller multihulls are ready for action too, with Silver Bullet already signed up, and sparring partners on Team Concise 12,the Diam 24 trimaran, hopefully taking part too.

The MOD70 Phaedo3 team who took line honours and a class win in the recent 3,500 mile RORC Transatlantic race with a time of 5 days 22 hours, 46 minutes, 03 seconds are looking to repeat their speedy performance. Commenting on his presence at the event, Thornburg said: “I am excited to be here, Barbados is such a beautiful island, the team and I am looking forward to racing around the island.”

MS Barbados Concise 10’s Paul Larsen, who has a history of sailing some of the wildest race machines ever to grace the oceans, including Vestas Sailrocket where he broke the outright world speed sailing record (65.45 kts), says it will be a tactical race. “Phaedo is quick but we have a few tricks learnt from out training, and if you ask me, it is all going to go to the wire – one gust could sort out the winner. Blasting along, side by side at over 30 knots of boat speed – it is going to be all on!”

Others to watch out for include the Farr 72 – Maximizer, a Custom 24 – Ocean Phoenix, and the Farr 65 – Spirit of Juno (Farr 65) in Class 80 and under, while the TP52 Conviction representing the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS) is hoping to defend the 60ft and Under Monohull Round Barbados record from last year.

Jason Tindale and the young team aboard the J/24 College Funds who established a class record last year with a time of 9 hours, 6 minutes, 38 seconds is another hoping to defend their title. However, they have some added competition in class this year with Bunga Bunga and Glory Daze, fresh from three days of intense Coastal Series racing, hoping to snatch the title.

One of the first to start tomorrow at 0700 is Ruth, the locally built 33m schooner. This impressive vessel, which was built on the beach in Carlisle Bay, and the design of which is based on the Canadian grand banks schooner Bluenose, is a working cargo ship that uses historic Caribbean regional trading routes. She also provides training opportunities for 18-25 year olds.

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Lay day polo match at Holders – photo Nigel Wallace.

Two of the prettiest boats on the line at 0900 will be the Alfred Milne-designed The Blue Peter and Galatea – a Bermudan Yawl-rigged, 1899-built classic. Others to watch out for before they zip through the start line at 0900 are the two windsurfers – Trevor Hunt on his Phantom Batwing 377 and Cornic Fabrice on a Fanatic.

Hunt who holds the official race record, and his personal record of 4 hours 48 minutes says the weather looks good. “Last year it was light and lots of seaweed around but this time we are going to smoke. I can do 34kts in any wind, so it’s going to be a blast. The aim is to get the record, and be back in daylight to enjoy a rum back onshore.”

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Trevor Hunte, hoping to break the Windsurfing record – photo Peter Marshall.

Finally, mention must be made of the most senior member of the fleet, 85-year-old Jerome Reid, who is sailing his 1984-built Van de Stadt 24 design Jump-up solo. Reid, who has competed in the last two races, commented: “The plan is to race, but I will make a final decision on the day. I will see what I feel like. I love the sea and love sailing my 24ft boat. She is great, and good ocean-going boat so I feel quite confident to race her round the island.”

With over 20 yachts taking part, there’ll be staggered starts from a committee boat line just off the Barbados Cruising Club commencing with the slowest boats at 0700, which means there’ll be plenty of opportunity for race followers to view the action from the beach.

The course will take the fleet clockwise round the island towards North Point. The most testing conditions are likely to be on the rugged east side of the island where there is big swell.

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Polo at Holders – photo Nigel Wallace.

As well as using lay day to make final preparations for the big race tomorrow, teams were given the opportunity to visit to the Mount Gay Rum Distillery earlier today and spend the afternoon soaking up the colonial-style hospitality at an exhibition polo match at Holders Polo Field.

 

80th Mount Gay Round Barbados Series Coastal Series Finale – Series concludes after another spectacular day on the racecourse

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Robbie Yearwood and team on Island Water World Die Hard, winners of the J/24 fleet – photo peter Marshall.

The final day of the Coastal Series at the 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, concluded in fine style today with sunshine, wind up to 28kts, and a relatively flat sea. The ultra fast flying machines in particular, including the multihulls, reveled in the conditions along the south coast of the island with a long beat out to Oistins and a rewarding blast back home.

In Carlisle Bay, where winds remained around 18-20kts, the J/24 fleet enjoyed yet more close battles in the final four races of the series. With Robbie Yearwood and team on Island Water World Die Hard from Grenada, and Neil Burke and team onImpulse equal on points going into the final day’s racing, competition was guaranteed to be intense.

The situation looked good for Burke and team on Impulse with two wins in the bag after the first two races, while Yearwood and Team Island Water World Die Hard suffered with a couple of penalties, which left them having to count a third and a fourth. Living up to their name, however, Team Die Hard fought back and won the final two races, which left them snatching the title from Impulse by just one point.

Commenting on the team’s impressive win Robbie Yearwood said: “Absolutely delighted. After the first two races today we had a bit of a conference, settled down, put the past behind us, did what we had to do and focus on moving on. Thankfully it paid off.”

Peter Lewis and team on Whistler (J/105) in CSA Division had one of the best starts of the day, at the pin end of the line. They kept up the pace on the long beat to South Point and some good kite trimming on the long run back ensured them their third win of the series. In doing so they beat Conviction the local TP52 sailed by Clint Brooks and team representing the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS). Brooks commented. “Three days in, Paul Johnson at the helm, and the team of young sailors aged between 14-17 years olds are really starting to sail well, but just couldn’t quite beat Whistler on corrected time.”

Ian Hickling and crew on his Catalina – Ten Seven – enjoyed their best race of the series today in CSA Cruising Class. Although they were unable to dislodge David Spieler and team’s overall win on the Beneteau Oceanis 473 – Leonora – they won today’s race in fine style.

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Tropic Bird (Hunter 35) scored another win in Non CSA to take an overall class win – photo Peter Marshall.

Priscilla Richardson and team on Tropic Bird (Hunter 35) scored another win in Non CSA (Local Rating) class today to secure first place overall in the series. Mark Mostovac’s Jeanneau Attalia 32 – Waymar – finished fourth today but it was still enough to retain second place. However, one of the most impressive performances in class was Team Shangri La (Morgan 41) sailed by Jonathan Gittens and team. They had a good start in the building breeze and continued to sail well throughout and finished the day with a well-deserved second place, and third overall in series.

Some of the most exciting racing this week was in the Multihull Class between Bryn Palmer and team on the RC30 catamaran Silver Bullet, and Team Concise 12 on the Diam 24 trimaran. With one win apiece, the stage was set for the final showdown today. Both teams were fully charged ready to go but it was obvious from the start that Jack Trigger, Rob Gullan, and Helena Darvelid on Concise 12 had the edge in today’s conditions. They were able to really crank up their super-powerful machine and pull out a respectable lead over Team Silver Bullet. A long spinnaker run in clear air back from South Point was all TeamConcise 12 needed to secure the overall win of the Coastal Series.

Trigger commented: “I think we just found another gear today and everything felt good. We got away on the start line and that was it. But I have to say, having Silver Bullet to race against was great because that first race in particular, that they won, was so close.

“The goal was to come out here and win so, as a team we are very happy indeed. We are not yet sure if we are competing in the round Barbados Race. We just need to monitor the conditions before we make a decision.”

After three days of intense racing and lay day tomorrow, crews are making the most of the local hospitality tonight at the Post Race party at Barbados Yacht Club. Lay day activities tomorrow include a Mount Gay Rum distillery tour at Brandons in the morning, and a specially laid on regatta exhibition polo match and party at Holders Polo Field, St James in the afternoon.

80th Mount Gay Round Barbados Series 2 Restaurants Race – Classic Bajan conditions make for exhilarating racing on day 2

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Team Concise 12 on the Diam 24 trimaran won the multihull battle today – photo Peter Marshall.

Day 2 of the 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, served up the sort of conditions that the island of Barbados is known for – good winds and just enough of swell to keep the racing exciting.

The second day is traditionally the 2 Restaurants race with turning marks of the course laid just off two of the most popular restaurants on the island – The Beach House Bar and Restaurant on the west coast, and Tapas Restaurant on the south coast. For this 20+ nautical mile race, the sparkling, lively conditions couldn’t have been better.

With winds that reached 20+ knots, there were plenty of thrills and spills particularly on the tight reach along the west coast where many pushed the limits with the temptation to hold the kite just a fraction too long.

Although the J/24 fleet raced three of four windward/leeward races within Carlisle Bay, the fourth race – in the windiest conditions of the day – took the fleet on an 11-mile sprint round Needhams Point to Tapas Restaurant mark. Racing in this class was, once again, extremely close throughout. Robert Povey and team on Hawkeye started the day with a good win in race one but it was Robbie Yearwood and team on Island Water World Die Hard who sailed consistently and won the day. With two more first places to add to two from yesterday, Team Island Water World Die Hard now lead overall with one day to go.

Commenting on his success on the racecourse, Yearwood said: “Undoubtedly our win was down to good crew work. They have been sailing together for a very long time and today they demonstrated their ability to be able to change gear quickly. They also have the ability to leave things behind if things go wrong rather than dwelling on them.”

Peter Lewis and team on Whistler (J/105) enjoyed another win in CSA Division, while Conviction (TP52) took a commendable second place, which leaves her firmly in second place overall. Clint Brooks, whose team represents the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS) – a local project that promotes youth in sailing – commented. “We had a fantastic time and the team of youngster which range from 14-17 years old just love this sort of sailing weather. Today we clocked 20kts of boat speed, so it was full on. The youngsters train regularly on the boat but this sort of racing is the perfect training ground for our forthcoming race season. To finish second today is a great achievement. After this event we’re off to Grenada Week, then competing in the Caribbean 600.”

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Beneteau Oceanis 473 – Leonora – overnight leaders of CSA Cruising Class – photo Peter Marshall.

With a first place to add to a second place yesterday, David Spieler and team on the Beneteau Oceanis 473 – Leonora – are now overnight leaders of CSA Cruising Class, while Priscilla Richardson and team on Tropic Bird (Hunter 35) lead the way in Non CSA (Local Rating) class. The Blue Peter, the beautiful Alfred Milne classic that won class yesterday finished seventh today, which leaves her in third overall, just one place astern of the Canadian-registered Jeanneau Attalia 32 – Waymar.

Commenting on Tropic Bird’s win and overall lead, Michael Brown, tactician, said: “We had a fantastic race and it was a perfect day for sailing in Barbados with 15-20kts all day. To be honest we are out there for the fun of it and today we just happened to win.”

The battle of the Multihull fleet continues between Bryn Palmer and team on the RC30 catamaran Silver Bullet and TeamConcise 12 on the Diam 24 trimaran. The conditions really gave both teams a chance to put these super-fast multihulls through their paces. Each had a turn at the front of the fleet as they blasted along the coast but in the end it was Team Concise that won the day.

Commenting on their win, Jack Trigger said: “It is fantastic to race against Silver Bullet because they are such different boats but we seem to be racing well together. Today was windier than we expected but really exciting particularly in the big swell. The boat likes to put her nose down so it is always pretty wet and fast. Sailing here is idyllic, the perfect place. In a boat like our where you are wet the whole time it is so great not to feel cold. We have been here training on the MOD70 for over a month now and to get 20 kts of Trade wind every day and flat water along the coast is certainly the best sailing I’ve ever done.”

Palmer, who suffered some gear problems on Silver Bullet today, including a split spinnaker, spoke positively about the racing. “It was great to have such good competition again. A bit of mark confusion, which led us to regain the lead on an unprepared spinnaker leg, however, resulted in us going shrimping with our spinnaker. That was game over for us. We did finish but ended up trailing Concise 12 by a good distance in the end.”

Tomorrow’s it is the final day of racing in the Coastal Series with one race remaining in all classes except the J/24 class where another four races are scheduled.

80th Mount Gay Round Barbados Series off to a cracking start – Shifts and squalls make for an exciting first day

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The Alfred Milne-designed The Blue Peter – photo Peter Marshall.

The opening day of the 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, got off to a spectacular start today with an unusual mixed bag of conditions. Sun, rain, unpredictable shifts and 25+kt squalls kept competitors on their toes all day but most enjoyed the crazy challenge.

After a half hour postponement to wait for the wind to settle, the ultra competitive local J/24 fleet set off on the first of three races with Robert Povey and team – reigning champs from last year – on Hawkeye soon in control of the fleet with a 32-second lead the windward mark.

However, on the gybe approaching the leeward mark Robbie Yearwood and team on Island Water World Die Hard slipped through into a lead they were never to relinquish. Team Island Water World Die Hard also won the final race of the day but the stars of the show in today’s tricky conditions were Neil Burke and team on Impulse who notched up a consistent string of results that included two seconds and a first, which puts them in the overnight lead going into day 2 of the Coastal Series.

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Neil Burke and team on Impulse lead the J/24 fleet – photo Peter Marshall.

Commenting on his leading position, Burke said: “We had great racing and a lot of fun. It was a tough day as far as picking the correct way up the course was concerned, so all credit to my crew who, I must say performed exceptionally well. All the tacks, spinnaker hoists and take downs were fantastic and my trimmer – Brian Gibbs – was also my technical guy on board and he did a very good job at tuning the boat for the testing conditions.”

In CSA Division Peter Lewis and team on Whistler (J/105) enjoyed a good race with Conviction (TP52) and Ralph Johnson’s Farr 53 Rapajam. Their course took them on an 18nm sprint to Tapas mark along the south coast and, in the lively squalls there was plenty of excitement.

Whistler sailed well and managed to pull out some good time on Conviction. Pitman, Steve Lewis commenting on the race, said: “We had a fantastic day of coastal sailing but local knowledge probably helped us because it was so shifty. We gained most on a good lift going up to Tapas mark and then on our super-speedy run under spinnaker where we hit 13kts of boatspeed.”

 

Ian Hickling on his New Zealand registered Catalina 40 Ten Seven managed to hold off David Spieler’s Beneteau Oceanis 473 –Leonora – to lead CSA Cruising Class overnight, while Bryn Palmer and team on the RC30 catamaran Silver Bullet narrowly lead the Multihull Racing class.

 

Palmer – commodore of Barbados Cruising Club – enjoyed an extremely close battle today with Team Concise 12 on the Diam 24 trimaran (ex Sodebo in the Tour de France à la Voile). The racing between these two was neck and neck throughout and, although Silver Bullet pipped Concise 12 to the post, the dynamics between the two over the next couple of days are likely to become interesting.

Palmer commented: “We are really enjoying the close proximity with Concise 12. It is just the sort of racing we strive for. The conditions out there today were varied to say the least with everything from 20+ knots of wind to driving rain and sunshine, but everything held together, so we are happy and really looking forward to some equally good racing tomorrow.”

Helena Darvelid on bow aboard Concise 12 added: “Until today we had no idea the sort of pace we’d have on Silver Bullet, so we are delighted that we seem to be level pegging all the time. They just beat us across the line so the battle is now on tomorrow.”

In the Non CSA (Local Rating) class, it was The Blue Peter’s day. This Alfred Milne-designed classic not only wowed the crowds with her stunning lines as she lifted her skirts in the breeze but also demonstrated her impressive performance in the tricky, shifty, squally conditions. Matt Barker – owner/skipper of this charter yacht said getting a good start to the race was paramount. “I put our win down to going the right way on the first leg and getting our nose in front. From then we had clear air, which is always a huge advantage.”

The conditions tomorrow are forecast to settle down with winds generally from the east. Racing for the Coastal Series will continue with one race for all classes except the J/24 class where four short races are scheduled.

Last minute rush to enter 80th Mount Gay Round Barbados Series – Thrilling line-up for tomorrow’s opening race

Briefing 1With less than 24 hours before the start, a last minute rush has seen a significant boost in entries for the 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series. A packed room for the skippers’ briefing headed by Howard Palmer (Chairman of the Race Committee) this evening also endorsed the notion that this Caribbean season opening regatta is a serious contender on the world racing circuit.

Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, the Round Barbados Race Series plays an important role in the rich maritime heritage of the island of Barbados. Almost 80 years ago a fleet of trading schooners set sail on their first race around the island. It is now a one of the island’s key sporting events and always produces top class competition with entries ranging from windsurfers to 100ft schooners.

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(from right) Howard Palmer (Chairman of the Race Committee), and John Coveney (Principal Race Officer) – photo Peter Marshall.

This year is no exception, with some of the world’s fastest racing teams signed up including a couple of MOD 70 trimarans –MS Barbados (Concise 10), and Phaedo3 – plus a host of other top class racing machines including Conviction (TP52), Spirit of Juno (Farr 65), and the 78ft Spanish one off – Ocean Phoenix.

The smaller multihulls are also likely to produce exciting competition with Jack Trigger in Concise12 (Diam 24), and Bryn Palmer (Barbados Cruising Club commodore) on Silver Bullet (RC30), keen to demonstrate their super-fast speeds round the racecourse.

The battle for the windsurfer record in next Thursday’s Mount Gay Round Barbados Race is hotting up too with local sailor Charles Hunt on his Phantom Batwing 377, and Cornic Fabrice on a Fanatic signed up and ready to go.

While the out and out speed machines will undoubtedly produce some of the most exciting, adrenalin-fuelled racing this week, the closest competition is likely to come from the CSA-rated classes, as well as the highly competitive J/24 fleet.

At the other end of the scale there’s a contingent of racing first timers including Jim Rolt who, with his partner Sally Stamford, sailed his 1978-built Contessa 32 Chaos from the UK via the Canary Islands to take part. The pair, who are both singers and performers, have never raced before. Commenting on what attracted them to the event, Rolt said: “I was here two years ago with my boat. I didn’t actually race but had such a great time and the club made me feel extremely welcome, despite my lack of racing skill. I knew I had to come back, so here I am, fully signed up for racing this time. We left the Canary Islands on 20 December and arrived last week. Haven’t the faintest idea about racing but our aim is to have fun and to finish second from last.”

The forecast for the first race of the three-race Coastal Series tomorrow shows 12-14kts of breeze from the east. After what should be a good day of tactical racing off Carlisle Bay Back on shore, competitors and their guests can look forward to the first Post Race Party at Barbados Yacht Club – just along the beach from Barbados Cruising Club.

Geoff Evelyn, commodore of Barbados Yacht Club, who is racing his Beneteau Lantana this week, says although he is looking forward to a great week of racing, he is pleased that the BYC are contributing to the organisation. “Not only is our club offering assistance by providing some of the racing marks, and a team of helpers to lay them, we are also hosting the first party of the week where I am happy to be able to welcome guests.”

 

Dane crowned Laser Radial Women’s World Champion – Anne-Marie Rindom secures title in nail biting finish in Sultanate of Oman

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Anne-Marie Rindom – new world champion from Denmark – photo Mark Lloyd.

The Laser Radial Women’s World Championship, organised by Oman Sail, concluded today with Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark securing the overall world championship title.

The 24-year-old Scandinavian representing Horsens Sejlklub in Jutland, managed to stay cool on a somewhat frustrating day dominated by general recalls, and clinch the event from Marit Bouwmeester (NED). They both finished the day on equal points, but two first places in the overall rankings was enough to break the tie in Rindom’s favour.

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Anne-Marie Rindom – photo Mark Lloyd.

Fresh from victory at Semaine Olympique Francaise La Rochelle in October, and a win at the Laser Europa Cup in Denmark in the summer, Rindom was on top form right from the start at this event. This former Optimist sailor who won the first race, and sailed a generally consistent series had to discard a 19th place from today.

“It is an amazing feeling to be confirmed world champion. I can hardly believe it. Thankfully I was able to discard today’s poor result!” she said as she stepped ashore.

There is little rest for the new world champion though. “I have one week at home then I am off to Rio for training, followed by Miami for the next World Cup so it is full on for me from now on.”

Rindom was enthusiastic about Al Mussanah as a world championship venue: “It is a perfect place for a championship, great launching and plenty of room for everybody and, most importantly, the conditions are great for sailing.”

Light, shifty conditions and fleets eager to start resulted in a succession of general recalls in both Gold and Silver fleets. The Gold fleet managed just one race before the 15:00 time limit and Silver was unable to start at all.

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Second placed Marit Bouwmeester (NED) – photo Mark Lloyd.

Bouwmeester (NED), 2014 World Champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist was naturally disappointed about losing her title but a fourth place in today’s race was enough to retain silver.

Evi Van Acker (BEL) representing the Royal Belgian Sailing Club, and ranked world number one, also had a less than satisfactory day.

“It was a frustrating day, I think I was on the wrong side on the first upwind and, although I caught up a lot on the first downwind, I then went up the right side of the beat, and the wind came completely from the left so I lost out there too.

“Overall though, it’s been a great week of sailing with a real mix of conditions which is perfect for this sort of regatta.”

As well as Rindom’s success of being crowned world champion, the star of the show in today’s sole race was reigning Olympic champion – Lijia Xu (CHN). This 28-year-old sailor from Shanghai, who has been off the racing scene for two years with back and knee injury, demonstrated her light wind skills by winning the final race.

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A happy Evi Van Acker (BEL) who finished in third place overall – photo Mark Lloyd.

From a pin-end of the line start, Xu read the shifts well and had a good first beat. She pulled up the fleet from 3rd on the final round and led fellow Chinese sailor and closest rival, Dongshuang Zhang, across the line.

“Today’s conditions were perfect for me because that is what I am most into. I am glad that most of my feeling is still there. One month ago I wouldn’t even have been able to finish one race in strong winds. The best I could manage was a club race in Weymouth with amateur sailors so I am glad to be where I am now,” said Xu.

“The fitness is just a matter of time and with eight months I am quite confident I can compete for a place at the Rio Olympics.”

The prize giving and closing ceremony, took place at Al Mussanah Sports City in the presence of Her Highness Dr. Muna bint Fahad Al Said – Assistant Vice Chancellor of International Cooperation at Sultan Qaboos University – and Her Excellency Maitha Al Mahrouqi – Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Chairwoman of Oman Sail.

Also present was David Graham, Oman Sail CEO, who, in his closing speech said that hosting major international events in the Sultanate helps to build the country’s profile and the effects of this championship will be visible in Oman for many years to come. “The quality of sailing on show has been incredible, with fierce competition every single day. It is an honour to have welcomed Olympic Champions, medallists, World Champions, the current world number one and many of the sailors who will be lining up in Rio next summer.”

Overall Results (top 10)

Gold

  1. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) 40pts
  2. Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 40pts
  3. Evi Van Acker (BEL) 44pts
  4. Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) 49pts
  5. Josefin Olsson (SWE) 53pts
  6. Lijia Xu (CHN) 84pts
  7. Alison Young (GBR) 101pts
  8. Manami Doi (JPN) 104pts
  9. Maxime Jonker (NED) 110pts
  10. Erika Reineke (USA) 110pts

Silver

  1. Line Flem Høst (NOR) 81pts
  2. Isabella Bertold (CAN) 108pts
  3. Andrea Aldana (GUA) 109pts
  4. Susannah Pyatt (NZL) 115pts
  5. Annalise Murphy (IRL) 125pts
  6. Odile Ginaid (BRA) 125pts
  7. Lena Haverland (GER) 137pts
  8. Anna Pohlak (EST) 141pts
  9. Elena Vorobeva (RUS) 151pts
  10. Kanako Hiruta (JPN) 154pts

As well as producing a new world champion, the Laser Radial Women’s World Championships at Millennium Resort in Mussanah acted as a country Olympic qualification event for the Laser Radial class.

After today’s racing, a total of four countries have had their Olympic qualification confirmed.

Countries qualified for the Olympics are as follows:

  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Turkey
  • Argentina

Laser Radial Women’s World Championship in Oman braced for epic final – Denmark and Belgium take joint lead with one day to go

23006746060_d9c36026a5_cThe Oman Sail-organised Laser Radial Women’s World Championship is dishing up some spectacularly close racing with just four points separating the top three boats. The conditions, with winds reaching 15knots and big waves are adding to the excitement and making this world class dinghy championship on the Gulf of Oman one of the most challenging to date.

Leading the field on equal points with just two races to go are Evi Van Acker (BEL) and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN). Van Acker with three first places to count however, moves into pole position.

With a 4,6 score today, number 1-ranked Van Acker (30), said she felt she could have done better but her focus now is on the final two races. “It is a pity I guess, but it is what it is and I have to be full on for tomorrow. The forecast is also for some lighter winds so it is likely to be really tricky so I will just have to be really focused.

“The conditions with big winds and waves are amazing. I think it is every sailor’s dream to have conditions like this.”

Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN), who started sailing at the age of five mainly in Optimists and who is now 24, had a reasonable day with a 4,7 but confesses to have struggled a bit in the conditions particularly in the first race of the day.

“I think it was my nerves that got to me in the first race because it was quite tough in the big swell and waves. You have to sail really fast on them and that was really difficult, especially the downwind legs. I had a bit of trouble in the first race where I ended up in the group and I couldn’t get free. In the second race however, I was calm and stuck to my plan and I did as I should and finished second so I am very happy.”

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) reigning World Champion and silver medalist at London 2012, scored 10,4 today which drops her down a peg to third, just four points behind the leading duo. It is all about tomorrow however and Bouwmeester, a perfectionist, knows what she has to do.

Josefin Olsson (SWE) who won the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago has been performing well in Oman this week with a 1,2 on her score line. However, this 26-year-old from Kungliga Svenska Segel Sällskapet (KSSS), also struggled a bit today in the big conditions. She sailed a good first race of the day but had to discard a 23rd in race 4. She is still only 8pts off the leaders however, so there is still a chance for a comeback tomorrow.

“I was trying to do my best in the second race of the day but I found the conditions a bit tricky. I still have a chance tomorrow with two good races and there is talk of the wind being slightly less which, for me is good news, because anything can happen and it gives me another chance.”

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Great performance today from Alison Young Young (28) – photo Mark Lloyd.

One of the most notable performances in the Gold Fleet over the last two days comes from Alison Young (GBR). Young (28), who originally came from the GP14 Class, was impressive today in the second race. She stormed into the lead, sailed a smart race and kept her lead to the finish leaving Rindom in her wake.

She said she struggled a bit during the first few days but she now feels she’s got her head around the conditions. “I managed a good start and linked in well with the shifts and the pressure and gained a nice lead. I struggled a bit on the downwind in the first race, spoke to my coach, changed a few things and got myself into a bit of space and a nice rhythm.”

Reigning Olympic Champion, Lijia Xu (CHN), the 28-year-old sailor from Shanghai, who is back on the race scene after a two-year break to recover from sailing-related injury, says this event is all about getting back into the grove for her. Given the break from sailing, her mixed results this week are not a surprise but she says she is really enjoying the regatta and feels it has now given her the confidence to contest a place at the Rio Olympics.

“It has been good to be back in the boat and enjoying the racing, this event in Oman was always going to be a good guide and although we needed to see how things went, my results have generally been better than expected, so I am going to have a go at contesting a place at the Rio Olympics!”

22936302269_1ac3922497_cRacing in Silver fleet has been equally testing. Line Flem Høst (NOR) scored another first today and by discarding a couple of poor results from earlier in the week, retains first place overall from Isabella Bertold (CAN). In third place is Andrea Aldana (GUA), with Susannah Pyatt (NZL) in fourth.

As the event reaches its final day tomorrow, competition for World Championship victory is still very much wide open. The last two races of the event are scheduled to start at 1200 local time (CET +3).