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Great Britain Blind Sailing Team are 2019 World Champions.

September 9, 2019



The final days of racing were mixed for all teams at the 2019 Blind Sailing Fleet Racing World Championships.  After no racing on Day 5 due to lack of wind, day 6 looked promising with a more optimistic North Westerly building, but little did the team know it was to be a test of all skills and calmness. This direction was one that the team had not come across so far during the regatta and brought with it a new set of challenges. Racing kicked off for the B2/3’s after a slight delay at just gone 1130; despite a consistent 6-8knts there were still some sizable shifts, ranging from 30-50 degrees. Racing was tricky as the fleet continually battled with the unstable air coming directly of the Kingston shore line, in addition to this as the middle stages of the afternoon approached the wind was being drawn more southerly and with it large holes in the pressure appeared across the course. For their final race of the day the B2/3’s raced in the more tradition South Westerly which was yet to settle with large changes in pressure and constant unpredictable left shifts. 


GBR B2/3’s where ready to go, as they headed out to race area and started to do our pre-race checks we knew it was going to be a tricky day. The North Westerly was producing some very shifty and unpredictable conditions making tuning runs nie-on impossible even with the boats only a few lengths apart, but both teams felt strong and hungry for three wins.  As race 1 started for the B2’s there was a 30-degree shift left forcing a heavy pin advantage and a straight tack off the start line in order to get on the now long port tack. Being the first boat to tack Lucy Hodges and her team headed out right bow forwards on the long tack in what we believed was a comfortable position… or so we thought, which became the story of the day.  With the B3’s Liam Cattermole and team starting five minutes behind they were now heading out the to the left of the course after a strong pre-start battle with Canada.  As the B2’s continued up the first beat a large hole developed in the middle of the course with a band of pressure out left with the Canadians and French meaning we had to cross no man’s land on starboard, rounding the windward in last. We managed to fight hard and play the favoured left hand side up the second beat to claim a hard fought 2nd. With Liam being pushed to split from Canada out to the right on the second beat, to try and use the shifts, Canada and USA made gains out to the left and saw GBR claim a well fought 3rd.  Race 2 for both teams, now played host to a more westerly track and even more variations in pressure making mode changes of up most importance, again both teams fought hard but got caught out by more unstable pressure and may be a little bit of local knowledge from the Canada, both teams took 2nd.  As it happens with no racing on day 7, the final race was the most challenging yet for both teams. With a collision between GBR B2 Lucy Hodges and the French on the line forcing a dial down post start to clear our number from the individual recall they had a lot of catching up to do. The Canadians by this point had built a lead of around 5 boat lengths which they held until the first gate where we split (Canada left/Great Britain right). Gaining an advantage in more pressure by the middle of the beat GBR had closed the gap down to a couple of boat lengths and continued to head towards the top left which had been seeing success for the last 2 races. With a drop-in pressure and many nail biting tacks playing the shifts, Ben Hazeldine, managed to sneak his team around the 2ndwindward a boat length ahead and continue to increase their lead finishing in 1stand claiming the 2019 B2 Blind Fleet Racing World title.   


Jonny Cormack, and team used Liam Cattermole’s match racing skills to try and push Candra over the line, with another great battle between both teams, saw the teams again on split tacks, it was all about playing the shifts with strong breeze looking to be on the right GBR were happy to be out to the right in what would appear to be the stronger breeze, but the mystery of the left hand side of the course saw Candra and