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Tough Times at Para World Sailing Champs

Published on September 20th, 2018

Sheboygan, WI (September 20, 2018) – Light breeze coupled with choppy waves on Lake Michigan resulted in a tough day for the 98 competitors from 39 nations racing at the Para World Sailing Championships.

Waves between two to four feet and a breeze that varied from 4-8 knots resulted in a tough challenge for all involved – but the conditions allowed for racing. The leaderboards in the 2.4 Norlin OD and the Women’s Hansa 303 evolved, Gian Bachisio Pira and Gialuca Raggi (ITA) qualified for the RS Venture Connect final and gold fleet racing started in the Men’s Hansa 303.

After six 2.4 Norlin OD races, Damien Seguin (FRA), Matt Bugg (AUS) and Dee Smith (USA) are separated by just two points at the top of the standings.

Just one race was completed today and Seguin was able to win it, which promoted him back into the lead he lost the day prior to Bugg. The Australian came through in third and is one point off Seguin. Smith finished second in the sixth race of the series and is in third, one point off Bugg.

“It was really tricky today,” explained Bugg on the day’s conditions. “There was not a lot of wind and quite a large sea state.

“It was really hard to keep the boat going and pretty much after the start it was a bit of a procession out to the right and up to the top mark. It was hard to make up places once you had your number in the procession.”

Yesterday, three races were completed and Bugg won two and took a second. This pushed him firmly into contention after a slow start. “Yesterday was great. The boat felt really fast. I was very happy with getting out of the start cleanly and being able to tack when I wanted to.

“As soon as things cleared out after the start I could keep the boat going fast and go wherever I wanted to go and keep it close to the leaders. I took the opportunity to pass when it presented itself.”

Three races are scheduled for tomorrow ahead of Saturday’s (September 22) Medal Race and Bugg is excited about the prospect of the double-points decider, “The Medal Race will be great. It’s good in the Olympics; it doubles the importance and makes every decision twice as important. I like the high-pressure scenarios.”

Germany’s Heiko Kroger is in fourth, 14-points off Seguin.

After two qualifying days in the Men’s Hansa 303, the top 17 competitors advanced to the gold fleet. The results from the qualification days no longer count so effectively the competitors were starting from scratch.

Ange Margaron (FRA) clinched the first race victory but could only follow up with an 11th in the second of the day. Poland’s Piotr Cichocki won the second race of the day but he was disqualified from the opening race of the day.

Germany’s Jens Kroker leads on eight points, Margaron follows on 12 and Christopher Symonds (AUS) is third.

Olga Górnas-Grudzien (POL) retained and extended her lead in the Women’s Hansa 303 even though she was across the line early in the opening race of the day. The Polish racer discarded her tenth for being OCS and then hit back with a race win to end the day ten points clear of Violeta del Reino (ESP).

Gian Bachisio Pira and Gialuca Raggi (ITA) will join Alexandra Rickham and Hannah Stodel (GBR) and John McRoberts and Scott Lutes (CAN) in the winner-take-all RS Venture Connect final.

The Italians successfully navigated the second qualification round, winning three of five races, putting them a point clear of Will Street and Jonathan Currell (GBR).

As of 16:00 local time, the British team put in a protest against the Italian team that could affect the results.

The remaining five competitors will have one final chance to qualify for the final on Friday.

Racing continues at 10:00 local time on Thursday, September 20. Racing is planned from September 18 to 22 on Lake Michigan.

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