Championships Skunked in Sheboygan
Published on September 22nd, 2016
Sheboygan, WI (September 22, 2016) – A lack of wind may have stalled competition during the first two days of championship sailing, but some of the best sailors in the world are finding the most rewarding part of their week in Sheboygan is taking place off the water.
Two very different groups of top-level sailors are in Sheboygan this week for tandem world championships taking place on Sheboygan’s lakefront. Holding the two championships at once — the first time it has been done — has sparked unexpected collaboration and mutual learning among the two groups, and competitors sailing in the Women’s Match Racing World Championship are finding they can learn a lot from their counterparts, visually impaired sailors competing in the Blind Match Racing World Championships.
“Learning from them and learning their style of sailing has been really neat,” said Elizabeth Shaw, a sailor from Canada competing in the women’s championship. “It’s been an easy way to pass the time to hear about how their teams have come together.”
Competitions were supposed to get underway yesterday, but a lack of wind prevented races from taking place. With fog and unsettled winds delaying competitions again today, blind sailors used the opportunity to set up a course in the Sheboygan Yacht Club parking lot to teach the female competitors how to sail without sight.
“A lot of what we rely on to be at the highest level of our sport is sight,” Shaw said. “Having that sensation taken away, and no ability to use that, was quite disorientating at first, but then you take a deep breath and realize that you won’t have that to rely on and it becomes fun.”
In a blind sailing match, three buoys set up in a triangle pattern each omit a different, distinct sound, which visually impaired sailors use to gauge their location on the course. During the tournament, two teams of three race head-to-head, with each boat emitting a different tone to signal its location to the opposing team.
All three team members on the boat are visually impaired during blind match sailing races. – Sheboygan Press, full story
Racing for both championships continues to September 25.
For information on the Blind Match Racing Championship…click here.
The Women’s Match Racing World Championship is the third event of the 5-event Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series), using the annually scheduled Buddy Melges Challenge on September 21-25. Nine teams are representing from six countries, with Nicole Breault (USA), Stephanie Roble (USA), and Elizabeth Shaw (CAN) representing North America. Racing is held in Elliott 6Ms on Lake Michigan.
About the WIM Series
The Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) is the first and only professional sailing series for women, hosted by the Women’s International Match Racing Association and joined by the world’s leading women match racing sailors. Match racing is sailed in two identical boats around a short course, providing fast action close to the crowds on shore. The intense racing is just as exciting for the spectators as it is strategically, tactically and physically challenging for the competing crews.
An overall prize purse of 50 000 USD will be distributed by the WIM Series, in addition to the prize money at each of the events included in the 2016 WIM Series (date, event name, location, boat type):
* June 27-July 1, Helsinki Women’s Match, Helsinki, Finland, J/80.
* August 8-13, Lysekil Women’s Match, Lysekil, Sweden, DS 37.
* September 21-25, Women’s Match Racing World Championship & Buddy Melges Challenge, Sheboygan, USA, Elliott 6m.
* October 25-29, Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, Busan, South Korea, K30.
* December 1-4, Carlos Aguilar Match Race, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, IC 24.