2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland: Paralympic Showdown

2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland: Paralympic
Showdown

31 January 2014

Oceanbridge Sail Auckland
2014, sailed at the home club of Auckland’s disabled
sailing programme, is about to play host to one of New
Zealand’s biggest ever Paralympic Class fleets. Four
2.4mR, four SKUD 18 and two Sonars will take part in the
regatta which kicks off
tomorrow.

Sonar
Earlier this month, Team
Kiwi Gold unpacked their two new Paralympic class Sonar
Keelboats, the first of their kind in New Zealand.
Oceanbridge Sail Auckland will be the first regatta for the
class in New Zealand, and helming a boat each will be Rick
Dodson and David Barnes, who sailed together to an 8thplace
finish at the IFDS 2013 Sonar World Championships.

The
Sonar is sailed by a crew of three sailors with physical
disability, and with just two boats in the country, the
regatta is sure to be an action packed dual between the
pair.

Skud 18
Also for the first time, all four
New Zealand based SKUD 18 boats will take part in the
regatta. London 2012 Paralympic crew Tim Dempsey and Jan
Apel have started separate campaigns, and this will be the
first major outing for Tim’s new teammate Gemma Fletcher.
Also new to the class is Jan’s skipper Paul Wager who is
taking part in Oceanbridge Sail Auckland for the first time
in 2014.

Tim and Gemma, along with most of the Paralympic
fleet, have been in a Yachting New Zealand supported
training camp for the last three days, getting up to speed
for the regatta and starting to prepare for the IFDS 2014
World Championships in Canada next August.

“The training
camp has been worthwhile even to just get all the Paralympic
sailors in the same place at the same time,” says Coach
Charlie Baillie-Strong. “This is the first time we’ve
run a clinic like this with all three classes, and the set
up at Royal Akarana Yacht Club has been great for video
debriefs.”

At Oceanbridge Sail Auckland, the SKUD 18 two
man keelboats will be sailed in the J3 configuration,
meaning that both skipper and crew must stay seated in the
centreline seats at all times while racing. Similar to last
year, some boats will have an able bodied crew member,
however this year, nobody will be allowed to
trapeze.

2.4mR
The 2.4mR fleet in particular is
destined to showcase tight racing over the next few days,
with 2012 Paralympians Paul Francis (pictured above) (NZL)
and Matt Bugg (AUS) going head to head with two Christchurch
sailors Andrew May (1996 and 2000 Paralympian) and Brett
Willcock.

Matt Bugg placed fourth at the 2013 2.4mR World
Championships and 7th at the 2012 Paralympics, and he has
been one of the training partners this week with all three
of New Zealand’s currently active 2.4mR sailors.

“It
sounds like a couple of the kiwi 2.4mR sailors will be going
to the IFDS Worlds this year too” Charlie continues,
“the fleet has really come alive again after being a bit
quiet this past year”.

Invited Classes: Hansa Liberty
and 303
Last year’s winner of the Hansa Liberty
class, Russell Phillips of Australia, has returned again to
front a defence of his title in the six boat strong fleet,
and he is sure to be given a run for his money by locals
including John Buchanan and Max Stacey who placed in the top
five last year.

Three teams from Singapore will make the
fleet of the Hansa 303 double handed class.

To follow
the action head to sailauckland.org.nz
– the
up-to-the-minute website features a social media feed where
competitors, supporters and volunteers posts using
#sailakl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will
paint a real-time picture of what’s happening on the
water.

About 2014 Oceanbridge Sail
Auckland

Oceanbridge Sail Auckland 2014 will take
place at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club from the 1st –
4thFebruary 2014.

The NZL Sailing Team are anticipated to
feature strongly in what is the biggest Olympic and
Paralympic class regatta in New Zealand, and alongside them
will be New Zealand’s top developing youth sailors and
keen competitors in a range of invited classes such as the
OK Dinghy and A-Class catamaran.

All Olympic and
Paralympic class boats are invited to take part: The Laser,
Laser Radial, Finn, 470 Men, 470 Women, 49er, 49er FX, RS:X
8.5, RS:X 9.5, Nacra 17, Skud 18, 2.4mR and also other
classes are encouraged: the OK Dinghy, 29er, 420, Liberty,
Hansa 303, Kiteboards, F18 and A Class Catamaran.

Over
four days of racing 11-15 races will take place for each
fleet, and the format for all classes will be fleet racing
with no medal race. All racing will take place in the
Waitemata Harbour, in the surrounds of Rangitoto Island,
North Head, Mechanics Bay and Browns Island.

Oceanbridge
Sail Auckland is made possible only thanks to the
contributions from principle sponsor Oceanbridge, and
supporters: Sport New Zealand, Yachting New Zealand, Royal
Akarana Yacht Club, Danske Mobler, The Landing and Orakei
Marina. Equally important is a team of more than 50
volunteers that are behind the success of this regatta every
year.

ENDS

© Scoop Media


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