Final Day at the Blind Match Racing Worlds.
Sharon Grennan’s GBR1 team remained undefeated in all of their 13 races over five days to become World Champions, also seeing Lucy Hodges MBE and Liam Cattermole take their third World title in Blind Match Racing.
The final day, first saw the petite finals between Canada and the USA, both teams had a good chance of taking bronze. Canada had given GBR 2 a hard time in the semi-final, just seeing them miss out narrowly for a place in the final.
The breeze was steady with a lovely 8-10 knots. Both boats had a little tussle at the start but it was to be the USA, that took two start wins and held Canada off to take the Bronze medal.
It was then the final - GBR 1 against GBR 2. The final is best of 5 races. The first race saw GBR 1 holding out GBR 2 before the start, this showed great team work, with Lucy communicating to Sharon on the helm moving the boat within inches of GBR2 holding them up wind of the start. But GBR 2 just got away and with two minutes and 10 seconds to go got clear over the line without a penalty, with a good strong start by GBR 1 saw them clear ahead at the start, making sure GBR 2 didn't have a look in for the whole race, Lucy and Liam showed what they had learnt about sailing the boat fast and not getting caught up with fighting the other boats
Taking the first race with a leg in hand. The second race saw both boats enter clean. GBR 1 controlled GBR 2 at the start, forcing them high of the line. Again, a good clean start by GBR 1 but GBR 2 close behind. A slightly confusing call from the Race Officer over the radio of OCS saw GBR 1 slow, but with quick confirmation from the RO they where quickly trimmed up to speed. With GBR 2 starting slightly to the right-hand side of the course they headed out on Port. GBR 1 kept to the centre of the course, but a slight wind shift saw GBR 2 gain hight into the mark. That wasn't enough to get in front of GBR 1, who got a good clear cross, this too is thanks to the training given as Lucy was able to confirm that they had a clear cross of two boat lengths and was on lay line for the mark, the time the team have spent ensuring they are confident mapping sound to distance is invaluable. GBR1 then sailed a solid downwind leg to take the win.
It was then straight into the third race again saw both boats enter on time and GBR 1 headed across on Starboard looking for a penalty, GBR 2 managed to avoid. Again, a tussle out at the starboard end all the way to the 1-minute gun. GBR 2 lead back to the line with GBR 1 following looking for a push over the line. GBR 1 saw an opportunity to hook GBR 2, GBR 1 went for the hook but with slight miss communication between Lucy and Sharon, they touched GBR 2 the hook was deemed too aggressive and was awarded two penaltys. GBR 2 tacked onto Port and cross the line to get clean air and a nice start.
GBR 1 got a good start out to the left but were carrying two penalties for the pre-start incident by the umpires. They quickly took their first one after crossing the line. But with good fast sailing by GBR 1 rounded the top mark with GBR 2 five boat lengths behind, the race was still on. GBR 1 was first to round the bottom mark and head up the beat but a large tangle with the main and traveller meant they had to sail on the Jib alone. GBR 2 tacked over onto port into clean air and force GBR 1 to follow. Halfway up the final beat GBR 2’s mainsheet block broke, in the heat of the moment looked to repair. GBR 1 had sailed straight to lay-line and headed downwind, completing their turn and crossed the line to take the win and become World Champions. GBR 2 limp to the finish after putting up an amazing fight to take silver. GBR 2 only lost to GBR 1 and once to Canada, which in its self-says something for all the hard work GBR Blind sailing are putting in on and off the water.
Big thanks to Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club, World Sailing and the Race Officer Anne Malledant and her team. Big thanks to Liz Baylis for the clinic and support during the championships and thanks to all involved. The teams would like to say a BIG thanks to Ben Hazelidine for running this years program and the support of the last two weeks. To Jonny Cormack for supporting the clinic, Ian Shirra supporting the racing this week and Jonny Stevenson for writing the race reports. Also to the whole team behind Blind Sailing. This couldn’t be done without our amazing sponsor Sunseeker.