by Craig Heydon
Australia’s Paralympic class sailors have bounced back from a mixed start to the 2012 IFDS World Championships with a strong day three, with all four crews moving their way up the ladder as racing continued on Charlotte Harbour in Florida.
Matt Bugg on day three of the 2012 IFDS World Championships
Shifty winds which continued to build throughout the day tested all of the crews with the Australian sailors making the most of the challenging conditions to work their way up the leader boards. In the Skud 18 class Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch have moved into third overall, just four points off the lead with fellow Australians Ame Barnbrook and Lindsay Mason seventh, while Colin Harrison, Stephen Churm and Jonathan Harris are sixth in the Sonar and Matt Bugg is 10th in the 2.4mR fleet.
Fitzgibbon and Tesch recovered from their overnight fifth to jump two places to third following a second, fourth and a race win on Charlotte Harbour. The pair will be chasing the regatta leaders, 2011 World Champions Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell, hard as the event continues. 'Today was a much better day than yesterday,' said Fitzgibbon. 'The conditions were moderate, it started off a bit lighter and filled in as the day went on, quite good racing conditions.
'We just have to keep being consistent with every race and chip back those points we lost on the first day,' he said. Barnbrook and Mason recorded an eighth, a sixth and a seventh to move up one spot, overtaking the Canadian pair of Ken Kelly and Brenda Hopkin.
'Our day was better than yesterday, still not as good as we were hoping for, but hopefully tomorrow we can keep on improving and get some better results,' said Barnbrook.
'The plan for tomorrow is to win, win and win!'
In their first regatta together Australia’s Sonar crew of Colin Harrison, Stephen Chrum and Jonathan Harris had a great day on the water, crossing the line in the top four in all three races, finishing with a third, a first and a fourth.
Harrison, Churm and Harris are now eight points off the lead and just three off the final podium position.
'Today started with 1.5 hour postponement due to lack of wind and three races had been scheduled,' said Harrison. 'When we eventually left the dock a nice breeze had arrived and there was no doubt that racing would go ahead as planned.
'Our goal today was to focus on getting in phase with the wind and staying in the pressure bands,' he said. 'Our results were a third, first and a fourth so it was a great effort from the crew and a credit to our coach’s efforts to keep us focused on our objectives.
'The real test will be tomorrow with another three races scheduled and we’ll attempt to back up today’s great scores and improve our current overall placing of sixth.'
In the singlehanded 2.4mR class Matt Bugg had his best day of the regatta so far with an eighth and a fifth. Bugg, competing in his third IFDS World Championships, moved from his overnight 12th to be 10th after the opening seven races. The Tasmanian sailor was in the mix all day, consistently battling with the leaders in the highly competitive fleet.
'Today was a much better day, I had a plan and stuck to it and basically obeyed the simple rules of sailing,' said Bugg. 'I ended up eighth and fifth, so I stayed in the top 10 which was my plan so I’m happy.'
The 2012 IFDS World Championships continue until January 15, with full results available at http://www.ifdsworlds2012.com
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit www.australiansailingteam.com.au and follow the team on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AusSailingTeam.