1.	 Photo - Paul Borg & Kylie Forth closing in from behind at the 2006 Homerus Blind Match Racing Championships in Porto Maurizio, Italy.

Blind Sailing Australia

2.	 Photo - Paul Borg & Kylie Forth lead to top Italian team at the 2006 Homerus Blind Match Racing Championships.
5.	 Photo - Paul Borg & Kylie Forth training for the 2006 Homerus Blind Match Racing Championships.

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News

2011


March 27, 2011

Vicki Sheen (GBR) tails Russell Lowry (NZL) in the pre-start today

Vicki Sheen (GBR) has won the IFDS Blind Match Racing Championship in Perth

Russel Lowry (NZL) finished second overall

Luigi Bertanza (ITA) took two straight wins in the petit finals today

 

>> Download the Media Release <<

March 26, 2011

Vickie Sheen wins Blind Match Racing Championship

Vicki Sheen from Great Britain has won the IFDS Disabled Sailing International Championship, 2011, Homerus Blind Match Racing.  Sailing with Nick Donnini on mainsheet and Dennis Manning on headsail, Sheen maintained top position throughout two round robins and the finals.

The Championship was sailed in Sonar keelboats using the Homerus Autonomous Sailing system.  Three acoustic buoys, each with a unique signal, defined the course and boats had their own sound signal that changed when on port or starboard tack. 

Crews comprised three sailors classified as B1, B2 or B3 under the IBSA Classification System with a collective maximum of 5 IBSA points.  All helms were classification B1 and the gender was mixed, with a minimum of one female and one male team member.  A sighted observer appointed by the race committee was also aboard.

The event was conducted under Experimental Appendix CBS (Appendix C for Blind Sailing) that has been developed for the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing to accommodate the specific needs of this sailor group. 

IFDS aims to have Blind Match Racing introduced as a Paralympic discipline in 2020 and this event conducted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club was an important test of the rules and the three person format.

“The regatta organisation and race management has been top class”, declared IFDS Technical Delegate David Staley.

“The teams have enjoyed excellent racing along with the wonderful hospitality of the Club, and IFDS will take some important lessons away from this event.  The officials and organisers have provided some very constructive input regarding the new three-person format and the Appendix CBS and this will help us refine the discipline so that it is ready for inclusion in the Paralympic Sailing Program”, he said.

Sheen’s opponent in the final series was Russell Lowry from New Zealand.  When he and Sheen met during the round robins, they each had a win recorded.  Lowry won the second match of the finals, but Sheen came back with wins in matched 3 and 4 to claim the Championship.

The petit final was between Luigi Bertanza (ITA) and Craig Gordon (AUS).  After the first match was won easily by the Italian, the breeze disappeared and teams were sent ashore to rest.  When the south-westerly had settled in the crews were back on the water and Bertanza made it two in a row with a penalty on Gordon before the start and sailing well around the course.

Final positions after 6 days of racing:

  1. Vicki Sheen, Nick Donnini & Dennis Manning (GBR)
  2. Russell Lowry, Tom Donaghy & Paulien Eitjes (NZL)
  3. Luigi Bertanza, Alessandro Malapiero & Elisabetta Bardella (ITA)
  4. Craig Gordon, Joan Andrews & Paul Borg (AUS)
  5. Manuel Gimeno, Federico Giner & Carme Garcia (ESP)
  6. Sharon Grennan, Lucy Hodges & Toby Davey (GBR)
  7. Kylie Forth, Ryan Honschooten & Erin McGlew (AUS)

Full results are available at www.rpyc.com.au

It is proposed to conduct the 2012 Championship in the UK and the 2013 event in France.

 

Media Information:
David Staley, IFDS Technical Delegate: david.staley@optusnet.com.au
Hayden Swanson, RPYC Operations Manager: boatingoperations@rpyc.com.au

 


 

Vicki Sheen (GBR) has secured her place in the final of the IFDS Blind Match racing Championship in Perth

Dennis Manning, Nick Donnini & Vicki Sheen (GBR) happy to be in the final

Russel Lowry (NZL) has beaten Luigi Bertanza (ITA) for the right to sail against Sheen in the final

Tom Donaghy, Russell Lowry & Paulien Eitjes (NZL) ashore after their win

>> Download the Media Release <<

March 25, 2011

Sheen and Lowry to sail finals of Blind Match Racing

Semi finals of the IFDS Blind Match Racing Championships were sailed today off Royal Perth Yacht Club in Matilda Bay with skippers from Great Britain and New Zealand progressing to tomorrow’s final. 

Top ranked sailor after the round robins, Vicki Sheen (GBR), selected Craig Gordon (AUS) as her opponent for the first matches today.  Gordon appeared to have the first match in the bag after winning the start and getting a penalty on Sheen near the top mark.  But Sheen had other ideas, exonerating her penalty and drawing level with Gordon just to windward of the finish line.  With less than a boat length to the line, Gordon infringed in a port – starboard incident and had to make his turns before finishing, handing the win to Sheen.

The second match was a procession after Gordon made a poor start, but the next match involved a number of lead changes and some close encounters with Sheen finally crossing 1 length ahead to book her place in the final.

Russell Lowry (NZL) and Luigi Bertanza (ITA) sailed the other semi final series.  The steady 6-7 knots of north-easterly that held all morning started to soften around noon.

In their first heat Bertanza won the start and placed a loose cover on Lowry up the first beat.  Lowry slowly made up ground over the 4 legs, sailing over the top of Bertanza down the left hand side of the course on the final run, gybing over to force a port starboard penalty 50 metres before the finish.

Match 2 took three attempts to complete.  In the first run, racing was very close and there was minor contact at the leeward mark with three penalties given, two cancelling each other out and one exonerated by Lowry.  There was confusion when Lowry took an unnecessary penalty turn just before the finish handing the win to Bertanza, but an on-water hearing later decided to re-sail the heat. 

In the first re-sail of match 2, Bertanza won the start but Lowry was within a few boatlengths at each rounding.  As they reached the top mark for the send time, the weakening breeze finally evaporated, the match abandoned and racing postponed while the sea breeze settled in.

Back on the water after an hour’s rest, racing re-commenced in a south westerly of about 8 knots.  Bertanza again had the upper hand from the start but Lowry closed the distance after Bertanza had to take a turn for hitting the weather mark.  In a close finish where Bertanza had the leeward advantage, he clipped the yellow finish mark and a certain win dissolved in an instant.

Lowry got off the line faster in match 3 and out-paced Bertanza up the first windward.  The Italian seemed to be magnetically attracted to the rounding marks today and had two minor scrapes with the weather mark, incurring two penalties in the process.  Lowry crossed the finish clear by almost half a leg to secure his place in the final against Sheen.

RPYC Race Officer John Rosser has kept the matches turning over and the program on schedule all week.

“The standard of racing has certainly increased as the week has moved on”, he observed.

“Compared to regular match racing, the pre-start and boat on boat manoeuvres are not as accurate, but it is so much more difficult for these blind sailors to judge distance mainly by sound signals.  They are a great group of sailors and the competitiveness and camaraderie amongst them is superb”, said Rosser.

The petit finals and championship finals will be held tomorrow to conclude the regatta.

Full results are available at www.rpyc.com.au

Media Information:
David Staley, IFDS Technical Delegate: david.staley@optusnet.com.au
Hayden Swanson, RPYC Operations Manager: boatingoperations@rpyc.com.au


 

Sheen (GBR) prevailed over Bertanza (ITA) in the final match of the round robin Craig Gordon (AUS) has made the semi finals in his debut match race regatta

>> Download the Media Release <<

Finals slots decided at Blind Match Racing

Semi finals of the IFDS Blind Match Racing Championships will commence tomorrow on Matilda Bay.  The second round robin was concluded today in two sessions with a break to allow the new wind to settle in.

Series leader throughout, Vicki Sheen (GBR), finished at the top of the table on 10 points, though Russell Lowry (NZL) completed a perfect scorecard in the second round robin to close within 1 point.  Luigi Bertanza (ITA) finished on 7 points with 4 wins in the last round.

The second round saw some close racing and the International Umpire team of Founette Pauthier (FRA), Garry Deane (AUS) and Phil Mostyn (AUS) were kept busy.

Today’s racing finished with the match between Vicki Sheen (GBR) and Luigi Bertanza (ITA).  Bertanza won the start but Sheen came level before the leeward mark.  There was contact on the approach to the mark with the Italian incurring two penalties. They exonerated the first and remained close to the British team, but the second turn dashed their hopes of a match win.   

Craig Gordon (AUS) has finished 1 point clear of Manuel Gimeno (ESP) and Sharon Grennan (GBR) who will sit out the final series along with Kylie Forth (AUS).

This is the first match race series for this Adelaide sailor.

“We are very pleased to be in the semi finals, but would have liked a few more wins to move us further up the placings”, said Gordon.

Asked if his combined South Australian and Victorian team could claim a place in the finals, Gordon was reserved – “Just one step at a time”, he said.

The semi finals tomorrow will comprise up to 10 heats.  The petit finals and championship finals will be held on Saturday.

Full results are available at www.rpyc.com.au

Media Information:
David Staley, IFDS Technical Delegate: david.staley@optusnet.com.au
Hayden Swanson, RPYC Operations Manager: boatingoperations@rpyc.com.au

 

 


 

1.	Sheen (GBR) managed to avoid contact with Lowry (NZL) but Lowry prevailed in their match in the second round 3.	Russell Lowry, Paulien Eitjes and Tom Donaghy (NZL) 4.	Luigi Bertanza, Alessandro Malapiero and Elisabetta Bardella (ITA) 5.	Vicki Sheen, Nicholas Donnini and Dennis Manning (GBR)

>> Download the Media Release <<

Sheen holds lead in Blind Match Racing

The IFDS Blind Match Racing Championships continued at Royal Perth Yacht Club today.  The final matches of round robin 1 were completed along with 10 matches in the second round in a moderate but persistently shifting breeze under sunny skies.

Vicki Sheen (GBR) maintains her lead in the event with 8 wins from 9 matches.  Her loss to Russell Lowry (NZL) today is the only mark on her otherwise perfect record.  Luigi Bertanza (ITA) and Lowry are the two skippers pushing Sheen.  Bertanza has 6 wins from 8 matches and Lowry has 7 from 10. 

“It is really competitive racing here in Perth and is becoming more intense as the days go on”, said Lowry from New Zealand’s Palmerston North.

“We have two more matches in this round but our confidence in our ability as a team is building and we are very happy about the way we are sailing”, he said.

The International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) is working towards blind match racing being included as a new discipline within the Paralympic Sailing Competition commencing in 2020.  The Championships being held in Perth are the first opportunity for teams to experience the proposed format.

“This is the first time that three person crews and B3 classified sailors have been involved in a blind match racing event, and the first time using the Sonar”, said the IFDS Technical Delegate, David Staley (AUS).

“IFDS will learn a great deal from the Championships in Perth.  The club is delivering a very high standard event and the calibre of officials involved is excellent.  The information we obtain from organisers, officials, coaches and athletes will be invaluable in shaping the future of this discipline.  The objective is to provide blind and vision impaired sailors with elite, high performance racing as part of the Paralympic Sailing Competition and an event like this helps to refine the format , procedures and rules”, he said.

As good progress is being made on the round robins, organisers have released sailors for the scheduled lay-day tomorrow.  Racing continues from Thursday through Saturday.

Full results are available at www.rpyc.com.au


Blind Match Racing Round Robin Continues

1.	Blind Match Racing underway on Matilda Bay.  Gimeno (ESP) v Forth (AUS). 2.	Off to a good start on day two.  Gimeno (ESP) v Sheen (GBR). 3.	Sheen, Donnini & Manning (GBR) at work in Perth 4.	Bertanza, Malapiero & Bardella (ITA) in action

>> Download the Media Release <<

A steady 15-16 knot easterly greeted the blind and vision impaired sailors competing in the IFDS Blind Match Racing Championships at Royal Perth Yacht Club today.  Eight more matches of the first round robin were completed before the wind softened and racing was finally abandoned mid afternoon.

“The conditions this morning have been ideal for match racing and enabled the sailors to really show their skills”, observed Chief Umpire Founette Pauthier from France.

“We had some interesting matches with boats really duelling - using rules and tactics to gain an advantage over their competitors.  Boats were holding their opponents out, preventing them from entering, some were circling, and boats holding head to wind and maintaining control.  These sailors are really showing their skills now”, said Pauthier.

The IFDS Blind Match Racing Championship is being sailed in Sonar keelboats using the Homerus Autonomous Sailing system of acoustic buoys.  Each mark has a unique signal to define the course and boats have their own sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack. 

Three teams now have four wins in the bag – Vicki Sheen (GBR) has four from four, Luigi Bertanza (ITA) has four from five and Russell Lowry (NZL) has four from six.  Bertanza and Sheen will meet in the last match of round one tomorrow.

Sheen, from Brixham in South Devon, is pleased with her current placing and looking forward to the next days’ racing.

“It has been brilliant to come here and put in to practice all the training we have been doing at home”, said Sheen, who has been training with her crew under UKSA coach Niall Myant in Cowes.  She also competed in the Italian Blind Match Racing Championships in Tuscany last October as part of her preparation.

“The event here in Perth has been really well organised.  There has been great support from the club for competitors and the racing has been very professionally run with good courses, quality umpiring and nice breezes”, she said.

Conditions over the next few days are promising and organisers are confident they will be able to complete two round robins and a finals series before the event concludes next Saturday.

For more information about the event, visit www.rpyc.com.au/index.php?id=121

Media Information:
David Staley, IFDS Technical Delegate: david.staley@optusnet.com.au
Hayden Swanson, RPYC Operations Manager: boatingoperations@rpyc.com.au


 

Great Britain Shines on Day One of Blind Match Racing Championship

1.	Close racing in a freshening breeze on Matilda Bay.  Sheen (GBR) v Forth (AUS). 2.	Vicki Sheen (GBR) won four or four matches on day one. 3.	Luigi Bertanza (ITA) had two wins on day one. 4.	Grennan and Sheen, both from Great Britain, enter for their match on day one.

>> Download the Media Release <<

Vicki Sheen (GBR) has won each of her four matches on the first day of the IFDS Disabled Sailing International Championship, 2011, Homerus Blind Match Racing.  Royal Perth Yacht Club is conducting the event with racing on the Swan River’s Matilda Bay.

The IFDS Blind Match Racing Championship is being sailed in Sonar keelboats using the Homerus Autonomous Sailing system.  Three acoustic buoys, each with a unique signal, define the course and boats have their own sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack. 

A crew of three sailors classified as B1, B2 or B3 under the IBSA Classification System make-up teams with a collective maximum of 5 IBSA points.  The helmsperson must be classification B1 and the gender is mixed, with a minimum of one female and one male team member.  A sighted observer appointed by the race committee is also aboard.

Experimental Appendix CBS (Appendix C for Blind Sailing) has been developed for the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing to accommodate the specific needs of this sailor group.  This event will be used to review this proposed Appendix to the Racing Rules of Sailing with umpires, race officials and athletes contributing feedback.

The International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) is seeking to introduce blind match racing as a new discipline within the Paralympic Sailing Competition commencing in 2020.  This event is the first sailed in the proposed new three person format. 

PRO John Rosser had racing underway by 10am today in a shifty south-easterly varying from 3-10 knots.  The breeze had freshened and moved to the south-west by early afternoon and boats were reefed to complete the final matches in 18-22 knots.  The Sonar is a quick boat in these flat water conditions, requiring fast decision-making and placing an emphasis on boat handling and teamwork.

Today was a perfect start to the championship for Sheen, who is sailing with Nicholas Donnini on mainsheet and Dennis Manning on headsail.  Sheen and Manning teamed for the 2010 IFDS Blind Match Racing World Championships on Lake Garda last June.  She is the second ranked sailor competing in Perth.

The other two teams to perform well on day one were Russell Lowry (NZL), sailing with Tom Donaghy and Paulien Eitjes, and Luigi Bertanza (ITA) sailing with Alessandro Malapiero and Elisabetta Bardella.  Lowry won three of his four matches, while Bertanza won two of three.

Bertanza was the winning helmsman in the 2010 IFDS Blind Match Racing World Championships on Lake Garda.  Lowry’s headsail trimmer, Paulien Eitjes, has won Homerus International Match Racing Championships in 2007 and 2008. 
 
Racing continues until Saturday March 26.  For more information about the event, visit www.rpyc.com.au/index.php?id=121

Media Information:
David Staley, IFDS Technical Delegate: david.staley@optusnet.com.au
Hayden Swanson, RPYC Operations Manager: boatingoperations@rpyc.com.au


 

Five Nations to contest Blind Match Racing Championship

Forth and McGlew Australia Luigi Bertanza Italy Davey Hodges Great Britain

Seven teams from five nations will compete at the IFDS Disabled Sailing International Championship, 2011, Homerus Blind Match Racing.  RPYC will host the event with racing on the Swan River from March 19 to 26.

Italy’s Luigi Bertanza, winning helmsman in the 2010 IFDS Blind Match Racing World Championships on Lake Garda, has teamed with Alessandro Malapiero and Elisabetta Bardella for the Perth event.  Malapiero and Bardella were second placed in the B2 division of the 2010 championship.  The Italian Homerus organisation has developed the Autonomous Blind Match Racing discipline and has enabled this team to build their training and competition experience over several years.

The UK have two teams competing.  Winners of the B2 division of the 2010 championship on Lake Garda, Lucy Hodges and Toby Davey, have been joined by Sharon Grennan on the helm.  This is another experienced crew, with Hodges on the podium at the 2009 IFDS Blind Sailing World Championships in the fleet racing discipline.  Vicki Sheen, Nicholas Dunnini and Dennis Mannering are the second UK team – another group of seasoned competitors.

As a helmsperson, New Zealand’s Paulien Eitjes has won Homerus International Match Racing Championships in 2007 and 2008, and claimed the B2 division of the 2009 IFDS Blind Sailing World Championships in Rotorua.  She is moving to the mainsheet for the 2011 Match Racing Worlds with Russell Lowry on the helm and Tom Donaghy on headsail. 

The local Perth team, helmed by Kylie Forth, with Ryan Honschooten on main and Erin McGlew on headsail will be sailing with less than maximum points – with two B1 and one B2 classified sailor aboard.  The twenty- five year old Forth, who is also an above-knee amputee, has been steadily moving up the rankings since taking the helm for the first time in 2007.  Their familiarity with the Sonar and the local conditions should be an advantage.  Paul Borg, winner of the Homerus International Match Racing Championships in 2005 and 2006, has assembled a second Australian team with Craig Gordon on helm and Joan Andrews on main.

Manuel Gimeno Ugarte and Federic Albir from Spain defeated Forth and McGlew in the petit finals at the IFDS Blind Match Racing World Championships on Lake Garda last year.  Ugarte has also been improving hgis ranking over recent years and will be in Perth to keep the momentum going.

The IFDS Blind Match Racing Championship will be sailed in Sonar keelboats using the Homerus Autonomous Sailing system.  Three acoustic buoys, each with a unique signal, define the course and boats have their own sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack. 

A crew of three sailors classified as B1, B2 or B3 under the IBSA Classification System will make-up teams with a collective maximum of 5 IBSA points.  The helmsperson must be classification B1 and the gender is mixed, with a minimum of one female and one male team member.  A sighted observer appointed by the race committee is also aboard.

Appendix CBS (Appendix C for Blind Sailing) has been developed for the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing to accommodate the specific needs of this sailor group.  The event will be ISAF Graded and many of the blind sailors are already included within the ISAF sailor match race rankings.

The Championship will be the first sailed in the new three person format, and that may provide some surprises.  It will certainly offer some world class racing at a magnificent venue. 

For more information about the event, visit www.rpyc.com.au/index.php?id=121

Media Information:
Hayden Swanson, RPYC Operations Manager: boatingoperations@rpyc.com.au
David Staley, IFDS Technical Delegate: david.staley@optusnet.com.au

> download the latest media release <


 

January 13, 2011


Last Call for Entries in Blind Match Racing Championship


Royal Perth Yacht Club has announced a final call for entries in the IFDS Disabled Sailing International Championship, 2011, Homerus Blind Match Racing. RPYC will host the event with racing on the Swan River from March 19 to 26 next year.

The IFDS Blind Match Racing Championship will be sailed in Sonar keelboats using the Homerus Autonomous Sailing system. Three "beeping buoys", each with a unique acoustic signal, define the course and boats have their own sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack.

A crew of three sailors classified as B1, B2 or B3 under the IBSA Classification System will make-up teams with a collective maximum of 5 IBSA points. The helmsperson must be classification B1 and the gender is mixed, with a minimum of one female and one male team member. A sighted observer appointed by the
race committee is also aboard.

Appendix CBS (Appendix C for Blind Sailing) has been developed for the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing to accommodate the specific needs of this sailor group. The event will be ISAF Graded and many of the blind sailors are already included within the ISAF sailor match race rankings.

Teams are expected from Italy, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain, the USA and Australia. Multiple entries from any nation are welcomed.

Kylie Forth, with Ryan Honschooten (main) and Erin McGlew (headsail), are hoping to make the most of their home-water advantage. All are from Royal Perth Yacht Club.
Forth and McGlew contested the B1 division of the IFDS Blind Match Racing World Championships on Lake Garda in June, finishing fourth behind Italian and Spanish teams. Lucy Hodges and Toby Davey from Great Britain won the B2 division. Luigi Bertanza from Italy has claimed major trophies in fleet racing and match racing events and was winner of the B1 division of the 2010 IFDS Blind Match Racing World Championships sailing with Sylvia Parente. Bertanza is expected to assemble an experienced team relying on the many years of event experience
available to Italian blind sailors.

The Championship in March will however be sailed in a new format, and that may provide some surprises. It will certainly offer some world class racing at an outstanding venue.

For more information about the event, visit www.rpyc.com.au/index.php?id=121


 

IFDS Disabled Sailing International Championship

19 - 26 March 2011

Homerus Blind Match Racing

New Format for Blind Match Racing debuts in Perth, Western Australia

Royal Perth Yacht Club has now released the Notice of Race for the IFDS Disabled Sailing International Championship, 2011, Homerus Blind Match Racing.  The event will be held on the Swan River from March 19 to 26 next year.

In July, the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) formally requested the International Paralympic Committee introduce blind match racing as a new discipline within the Paralympic Sailing Competition commencing in 2016.  While this is yet to be confirmed, the IFDS Blind Match Racing Championship next March will be the first opportunity that teams have to experience the proposed format.

The IFDS Blind Match Racing Championship will be sailed in Sonar keelboats using the Homerus Autonomous Sailing system.  Three "beeping buoys", each with a unique signal, set out the course and each boat has its own sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack. 

A crew of three sailors classified as B1, B2 or B3 under the IBSA Classification System will make-up teams with a collective maximum of 5 IBSA points.  The helmsperson must be classification B1 and the gender is mixed, with a minimum of one female and one male team member.  A sighted observer appointed by the race committee is also aboard.

Blind Sailing, Match Racing, two boats head toward the mark

An Appendix CBS (Appendix C for Blind Sailing) has been developed for the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing to accommodate the specific needs of this sailor group.  The event will be ISAF Graded and many of the blind sailors are already included within the ISAF sailor match race rankings.

Teams are expected from Italy, Great Britain, New Zealand, Israel, Spain, the USA and Australia.  Kylie Forth, with Ryan Honschooten (main) and Erin McGlew (headsail) all from Royal Perth Yacht Club, are hoping to make the most of their home-town advantage. 

Forth and McGlew contested the B1 division of the IFDS Blind Match Racing World Championships on Lake Garda in June, finishing fourth behind Spain and two Italian teams.  In 2007 & 2008, Forth & Honschooten teamed up for the Homerus International Championships.  Previous Blind Match Racing events have been sailed with a two-person crew.

Luigi Bertanza from Italy, who has claimed the major trophies in fleet racing and match racing events and was winner of the B1 division of the 2010 IFDS Blind Match Racing World Championships sailing with Sylvia Parente.  Bertanza is expected to assemble an experienced team relying on the many years of event experience available to Italian blind sailors.

This is a new format, however, and that may provide some surprises.  It will certainly provide some exciting racing at an outstanding venue.

For more information about the event, visit the

Royal Perth Yacht Club's Website


 

2010

Kylie Forth and Erin McGlew Racing in Italy

Image of Kylie and Erin sailing on Lake Garda

Sailing Through the Finish Line

You may remember the recent news article on clients Kylie Forth and Erin McGlew when they set sail in Italy.
Kylie, 24, and Erin, 25, represented Australia in the 2010 IFDS World Blind Sailing Championships in June. The regatta was held in Bogliaco, a town on Lake Garda, Italy. 

The young woman placed fourth overall after a fierce battle in the early matches.

First time race-matcher Erin comments on the experience. ‘It was absolutely amazing! Three acoustic marks, each with a unique signal, set out our course. Each boat has its own sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack'.

The ability of the participants to orient themselves to the race course, locate the distance, bearing and track of their opponent, and engage in close tactical sailing was described by onlookers as simply breathtaking.

The young women will have the home advantage next March when the Blind Match Racing Championships move to Royal Perth Yacht Club in 2011. ‘It's the first time the competition will be held outside of Italy, and we hope it will be an opportunity to establish a blind sailing program in Australia. We might even be able to get some local competition going in 2011, and have a few teams representing Australia in the regatta,' Erin says.

 

 

2009


2008 Australian Blind Sailing Championships
Albury-Wodonga Yacht Club
17th – 19th  October 2008

Australian Blind Sailing Championships 2008 Noelex 25 Icebraker Australian Blind Sailing Championships 2008 Paul Borg 657 works hard to overtake Anthony Fowler
Australian Blind Sailing Championships 2008 Competition was tight and the sailing close at the Championships Competitors at the 2008 Australian Blind Sailing Championships

The Organising Authority is the Albury-Wodonga Yacht Club
in conjunction with the Noelex Yacht Association of Australia and Noelex Yacht Squadron Inc.

The Inaugural Australian Blind Sailing Championships were hosted by the Albury-Wodonga Yacht Club from 17th – 19th October.  Sailed in a club member supplied fleet of Noelex 25s the Championships were supported by the Noelex Yacht Association of Australia and Noelex Yacht Squadron. 

The event was conducted in the Blind Sailing International integrated fleet racing format.  Crews are made up of two blind or vision impaired sailors (helm & mainsheet trimmer) and two sighted sailors (headsail trimmer & a tactician who cannot operate any equipment) with divisions for B1, B2 and B3 vision-classified helms. AWYC Noelex owners made up the final member of each crew.

While the number of competing teams was small, the Championships were well organised by the Club and nine races were conducted over two warm sunny days with favourable breezes.

Experienced blind sailor, Paul Borg from Victoria’s Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club, aided by crew Jane Bellamy (main) and Morgan Staley (tactician), posted a clear win in the overall competition.  They finished 6 points clear of Joan Andrews (Albert Park Yacht Club – VIC) sailing with Roy Jewel and Terry Caldwell.

There was only 1 point between the 3rd and 4th placed teams.  Anthony Fowler (Sailability Rushcutters Bay – NSW), with crew Don Scott and Julian Clements, held out the South Australian team of Peter Aspinall (Adelaide Sailing Club), Michael Zannis and Bob Schahinger.

Division winners were:
B1 Division - Joan Andrew, Roy Jewel and Terry Caldwell (VIC)
B2 Division - Anthony Fowler, Don Scott and Julian Clements (NSW)
B3 Division - Paul Borg, Jane Bellamy and Morgan Staley (VIC)

Racing conditions were excellent, with consistent 5-12 knot breezes allowing groups of 30-45 minutes heats to be sailed back to back before crews changed over into the next provided boat.  Nine races were completed over the two days.

The Championships were an opportunity to identify and prepare teams for the IFDS Blind Sailing World Championships, being held in Rotorua, New Zealand from 13-21 March next year. 

While blind and vision impaired sailors from three States were gathered together in one place, plans were also hatched to formally incorporate an Australian Blind Sailing organisation to help grow participation, provide avenues for skill development, and support teams competing at an international level.  It is hoped that the new organisation will promote the Australian Blind Sailing Championships as a regular annual event.

 

Media Release - PDF
Media Release - Word
Results - PDF
Results - Word

 


IFDS 2009 Blind Sailing World Championships

>> Results <<

New Zealand will host the 2009 IFDS World Blind Sailing Championships from March 12 – 21, 2009.  Being sailed on Lake Rotorua in the central North Island, these World Championships will bring together blind and vision impaired sailors and their sighted support crews from around the world to compete in this prestigious international event.

In the heart of New Zealand’s thermal district, Rotorua offers a wide range of activities for visitors.  A variety of accommodation types are on offer to suit all needs and budgets.

A fleet of Noelex 25 trailable yachts will be supplied for the event that will be sailed using the Blind Sailing International integrated fleet racing format.  It is anticipated that up to 30 crews from 10 countries will participate across the three divisions.

Organisers are now seeking expressions of interest from international teams.  To register your interest, and ensure you are kept up to date about the event, email info@2009worldblindsailingnz.com.

The event website www.2009worldblindsailingnz.com is the place to visit for all the event details.  The Provisional Notice of Race and a range of information is now posted and this will be progressively updated with new information as the competition draws nearer.

Event Website: www.2009worldblindsailingnz.com

Download the Provisional Notice of Race

>> Provisional Notice of Race pdf <<

Visit the 2009 Blind Sailing Championships Website

>> 2009 Blind Sailing World Championships Website <<


Homerus International 2008

A word from our Australian Skipper Kylie Forth

Hi everyone

The Australian Blind Sailing team consisting of my crew Ryan Honschooten and myself have recently returned from the Homerus International Match-Race Championships for Blind People, and we are delighted to bring back fourth place in this competition. After the hurried formation of our team just three months before last year’s championships, which was my first as Skipper and Ryan’s first as crew, we were determined to improve on our eighth placing in that event. Consequently, we embarked on an intensive, year-long training program with audible buoys so that we could prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the event.

We began this year’s competition ranked ninth of the nine teams competing. However, winning four of our seven races moved us five places up the ladder. At the beginning of the final day of racing we were ranked fifth below Spain 2, who were said to hold a guaranteed fourth place, but our success in our final two races enabled us to swap places with them. It was a challenging but rewarding four days of racing as we set ourselves against the best blind match-racers in the world, and we have learnt many valuable lessons which will assist us in future competitions.  We are very happy with our results in this regatta, and we are determined to improve our rank once again in next year’s championships.

Thanks to the support of our club Royal Perth Yacht Club, to Sailability WA and the Royal Perth Yacht Club Charitable Trust throughout our preparation for this championships. Thanks also to our sponsors: the Blind Sporting Council, Association for the Blind of WA, Goldform Holdings Pty. Ltd and Platform Shoes (Gosnells Markets). Without your generous support we would have been unable to finance the trip. Our most sincere thanks to Tim Brand of Royal Perth Yacht Club who lent us his boat without charge, and to the Rotary Club of Perth, who funded and organised the manufacture of the set of audible buoys we have been using for training purposes. The use of this specialised equipment meant that we were much more prepared for the competition than some other teams, and we were able to begin racing feeling mentally prepared for the challenge ahead. Finally, we would like to thank our coach Brad Knight and team manager Sally Wynn who not only ensured that we received intensive training in the months leading up to the regatta, but provided sighted and moral support during the championships. We would not have been able to do it without them.

Thanks also for your messages of support, encouragement and congratulations while we were away. They were greatly appreciated and it helped us to know that we had so many people barracking for our success.

Our next challenge is the World Blind Sailing Championships in Rotorua New Zealand next March. In this integrated fleet-racing event we will team up with two sighted crew members, who will help us to navigate through the larger fleet of competitors. While this event will not use the audible buoys favoured by Homerus, our participation in this event will give us invaluable experience which will improve our independent sailing. It will also provide us with an opportunity to experience a form of blind sailing which promotes inclusion and integration of all sailors. This will assist us to introduce more people with vision impairments to sailing in Australia, and eventually to increase Australia’s representation at international championships. .

We look forward to giving you the next update regarding our team’s endeavours.

Kind regards

Kylie Forth and Ryan Honschooten

Australian Blind Sailing Team

 

New Zealand wins Blind Match Racing

New Zealand sailor Paulien Eitjes has won back to back titles in the Homerus International Blind Match Racing Championship, this year sailed at Sulzano on Lake Iseo, Italy.

Racing commenced on Thursday, October 2 with three teams entering from Italy, two from Spain and one each from Australia, New Zealand, Israel and the USA.

Sailors competing in this event must be IBSA classified B1 or B2 – legally blind.  The championships are sailed in two identical Nitek keelboats by a two person crew with a sighted observer on board.  Three "beeping buoys", each with a unique signal, set out the course and each boat has its own sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack.

Eitjes (NZL), sailing with experienced Italian crew Alberto Prudenzano was favourite for the event, having claimed a startling victory on debut at last years championship in Palermo.  Luigi Bartanza & Elisabetta Bardella (ITA2) were the most experienced Italian combination, both having been in the medals during previous events.  The Australian pairing of Kylie Forth and Ryan Honschooten, both from Perth in Western Australia, had lost all their races in last years event but had trained hard during the year with the aim of improving their place on the leader board.

The weather on day one was difficult - cold and misty with a light 2-4 knot breeze. Eitjes/Prudenzano (NZL) had a convincing first race win over Israeli/Rosenzveig (ISR) to stamp their authority on the event.  They backed it up with another win later in the day but Bertanza/Bardella (ITA2) also took two wins.  There were cheers all round when Forth/Honschooten (AUS) defeated Pesaresi/Malerba (ITA3) in race 3 to record their first win in international competition.  Later in the day, after freezing in the transfer boat waiting for the breeze to steady, the Australians were beaten by Parente/Malipiero (ITA1) but went on to defeat Israeli/Rosenzveig (ISR) with the boat speed to overcome a port/starboard penalty incurred at the start.

Day two was cut short by the arrival of a 25 knot squall, sending everyone scurrying for shore, but Eitjes/Prudenzano (NZL), Israeli/Rosenzveig (ISR), Bertanza/Bardella (ITA2) & Bersani/Bisio (USA) all recorded wins.  Halfway through the event, Eitjes/Prudenzano (NZL) and Bertanza/Bardella (ITA2) shared the lead with 3 points and Forth/Honschooten (AUS) were 1 point adrift.

Clear sunny skies and steady breezes enabled organisers to complete 10 races on day three.  The leading New Zealand and Italian teams both won their encounters with the Australians, who then lost their heat against Gimeno/Giner (ESP2).  Despite this setback, the Aussies sailed two of their best races of the series against quality competition.

On the final day, the light breeze slowly built to 10-15 knots, providing excellent racing conditions.  Forth/Honschooten (AUS) won both of their encounters and finished their regatta in dramatic style by having Bersani/Bisio (USA) black flagged before the start.  But it was not enough and Gimeno/Giner (ESP2) had sailed more consistently to take third overall.

The final series was sailed between Bertanza/Bardella (ITA2) & Eitjes/Prudenzano (NZL).  Heat one was a convincing win to Eitjes, but the Italians came back to win the second.  In the last race it was an easy victory for Paulien Eitjes & Alberto Prudenzano to take out the Championship.

After racing, the cheers from the assembled crowd were almost as loud for the Australians as they were for the winners.  The 23 year old Kylie Forth, who lost her eyes aged three and who is also an above-knee amputee, is very popular amongst the Homerus competitors and officials.

Now having won two Championships in a row sailing with Italian crews, Paulien Eitjes has proven a determined and skilled sailor who really enjoys the tactical challenges of the match racing discipline.  It was a well earned win. 

Even while celebrating her win in Sulzano, Eitjes already had her next objective in mind.  She is also aiming to record sequential wins in the IFDS Blind Sailing World Championships B2 Division, with the next Worlds being held on Lake Rotorua, New Zealand, in March 2009.  Eitjes coach, Gary Smith, will join her crew as tactician for this event as he did for the 2006 Worlds in Rhode Island, USA.

>> Download the Media Release <<

New Zealand wins the 2008 Homerus regatta


 

Photo 1 : The Australian team sailed the first match of the championships against tope ranked Luigi Bertanza & Elisabetta Bardella (ITA) Photo 2 : Australian Team Photo 3 : Australian Blind Match Racing Team L-R: Rachael Cox (coach), Ryan Honschooten (sheethand), Kylie Forth (helm)
Photo 4 : On board with the Australian team during training Photo 5 : There was close racing between Australia and New Zealand in the practice matches

Photo 6 : Day 4 light air racing

Photo 7 : Eitjes Tolaro Photo 8 : Forth & Honschooten (AUS) had trouble at the start line and never recovered in the first international match race today Photo 9 : Final Race, NZ left Eitjis v ITA Brsani Luff right

 

 

Photo 1. Australian Team for the 2005 Homerus Blind Match Racing Championships.  L-R  David Staley (coach/manager), Don Scott (sheet hand), Paul Borg (helm). Photo 2.	Paul Borg & Kylie Forth lead to top Italian team at the 2006 Homerus Blind Match Racing Championships. Photo 3.	The victorious Australian Team at the 2006 Homerus Blind Match Racing Championships presentations.  L-R - Sonya Staley (escort), David Staley (coach/manager), Paul Borg (helm), Kylie Forth (sheet hand), Margaret Forth (escort).

What else is happening?

I am sure that people would like to know what’s happening around the country. If you know of participation, development or racing activities that provide opportunities for blind and vision impaired sailors, let us know so we can include details on the website.