2014 IFDS World Championship - Day 4 of the 2014 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship was a challenging one for race officials at Paralympic sailing’s premier annual event. The US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider and the international fleet sat restlessly as the wind started the day as a northerly, then switched to become a southerly, and then a northeasterly, until finally dying completely for the remainder of the racing portion of the day. The radically shifting breeze made setting any kind of fair racecourse extremely difficult, and as a result there were no races completed in either the Sonar or 2.4mR classes.
In the SKUD-18 class, race officials snuck in one race before conditions became too shifty and difficult, and then anther after a lengthy delay on the water. US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes Ryan Porteous (San Diego, Calif.) and Cindy Walker (Portsmouth, R.I.) had a solid day on the water with a five, six and moved up from sixth to fifth overall. This puts them in position to qualify the US for the 2016 Paralympic Games in the SKUD-18, if they finish in fifth overall or above.
'We beat who we had to beat today,' said Porteous. 'We’re now in fifth overall and close to fourth. Our number one goal here is to qualify the US for Rio 2016.' Betsy Alison, Paralympic coach for the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, praised the progress made by US SKUD-18 sailors. 'We’re moving forward towards achieving our goal, and our sailors are performing well under pressure. They are becoming more comfortable with their new boats, and today was a big step forward for us.'
One race was started in the sonar class, and then abandoned after 120 minutes of agonizingly light conditions. After rounding the first mark deep in the fleet, the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider Sonar of Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Tim Angle (Reading, Mass.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Maine) fought their way back to a remarkable fourth place position. 'It takes a ton of work to make the boat go in conditions like that,' said US Sonar coach and America’s Cup sailor Bill Shore. 'I was very impressed with how the guys did out there, and how focused they were on keeping the boat moving in almost no wind.'
Their effort ended in heartbreaking fashion as the race was abandoned within just a few yards of the finish. 'Tim (Angle) and Hugh (Freund), these guys are just really good,' said Doerr about his crew. 'They worked through the puffs and did a fantastic job trimming in the light breeze. We were doing our job and getting back up the racecourse, and when the race committee abandoned the race, it was tough.'
For Saturday, race officials have moved up the start times an hour for all fleets in an effort to squeeze in more racing. The 2014 Worlds will conclude on Sunday, August 24. Rio 2016 Nation Qualification System Notes:
The 2014 IFDS World Championship serves as the first nation qualifying event for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. A percentage of berths for Rio 2016 will be allocated based on final results at this event. The top eight nations will qualify for The Games in the 2.4mR class, the top five nations in the SKUD-18 class, and the top seven nations in the Sonar class.
Racing at the 2014 IFDS Worlds will take place in Halifax from Tuesday, August 19, to Sunday, August 24. Top US Results: 2014 IFDS World Championships, Day 4 2.4mR Class:
•Sixth, John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wisc.)
• 13th, Ted Green (Newport, R.I.)
• 23rd, Daniel Evans (Miami, Fla.) SKUD-18 Class:
• Fifth, Ryan Porteous (San Diego, Calif.) and Cindy Walker (Portsmouth, R.I.)
• Ninth, Sarah Everhart-Skeels (Tiverton, R.I.) and Gerry Tiernan (Falmouth, Maine) Sonar Class:
• Sixth, Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Tim Angle (Reading, Mass.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Maine)
• 12th, Andrew Fisher (Greenwich, Ct.), Mike Hersey (Hyannis, Mass.) and Bradley Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
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