Semi Final Day At The Blind Match Racing World Championships.
The start of day 4 at the World Championships was no different with all teams waiting ashore for the breeze. With GBR1 finishing the qualifying series in the lead wuth a 100% they got to pick their opponents for the semi finals; GBR1 Sharon Grennan picked USA, which meant that the second semi final was GBR2 against Canada. By 11.00 the breeze had filled in to an average of 8 knots. Race 1 was GBR1 on starboard entry against USA on port. Both boats entered well but a pre start port starboard sore GBR1 gain one penalty on USA. GBR1 tacked for the line in front of USA, but USA had a bit more speed, forcing GBR1 to tack on to port. USA followed GBR1 on to port and quickly dropped into their dirty air, GBR1 pulled out a lead which they maintained to the end finishing just over a leg ahead. GBR2 then met Canada for their first race of the semi finals, GBR2 on starboard and Canada on port. GBR2 entered early along with Canada both boats seemed to have started their watches early and missed the calls over the radio to correct the time. Both countries started and continued up wind with a minute till start time. Once the RO had announced both boats were OCS they returned seeing GBR2 sail back across the line first but met Canada on starboard and had to tack, this gave Canada a clear run up on Starboard. Both boats sailed up wind well but a slight wind shift in the second third of the beat sore GBR2 round first. Both boats came down wind together but with a better rounding at the bottom mark by Canada they got back into the lead. GBR2 pulled back on the run but good positioning by Canada gave them the right of way and crossed the finish line just ahead of GBR2.
Third race of the day saw GBR1 back on the race course with USA. USA were on starboard entry with an increasing breeze, both boats timings on entry were changing and as the wind built. USA, unfortunately entered early and hit the mark so gained two penalties pre-start. This race was watched by Princes Anne so GBR1 battled with USA to try and gain a further penalty. GBR1 got a clear start ahead of USA and with the wind building they managed to extend their lead on each leg finishing a leg and a half ahead of USA, seeing them into the final. After a quick break meeting Princes Anne and talking about Blind Sailing and how it works it was back on the race course for the final matches for GBR2 and Canada. It was again a battle at the start and around both laps of the race course for each race. GBR2 managed to just stay ahead of Canda after loosing the top mark and sailing a slightly longer course. But it was back to 1 all. After a few alterations of the course GBR2 and Canda entered smoothly. Canda had a good start, heading up wind with GBR slightly behind. After a small tacking battle, seeing Canada pick up a penalty, Canda sailed the shorted course and rounded the top mark first. They mamanged to maintained their lead to the final leg, but half way down the course started to goose wing and head dead down wind, there had been a slight wind change, GBR2 gybed just over half way down and headed for the line, Canada took their penalty allowing GBR2 to sail through the line and take them the win which will them into the final.
It was a great days racing and lovely to have Ian Walker Director of Racing for Royal Yatching association join the team and watch the racing.
Tommorrow will see an all GBR final.
Both teams form GBR will now race each other in the final.