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International One Design Worlds - Simmons to gun for seventh title

by Colin Thompson, The Royal Gazette on 10 May 2012
Six time IOD world champion Penny Simmons - International One Design World Championship 2012 Kyle Hunter
The International One Design (IOD) World Championships 2012 are set to take place from October 28th to November 4th. Hall of Fame sailor Penny Simmons has earned the right to gun for a seventh IOD World Championship.

Simmons, who placed third in the IODs during last month’s Bermuda International Invitational Race Week with crew Darcy Betschart, Greg Lawrence, Matthew Cairney and wife Sasha, qualified for this year’s world championships during the previous domestic season that concluded last November.

Octobers’ regatta is being contested on local waters, Bermuda having last hosted the championships at the inaugural event in 1959.

Even though the six-time IOD world champion will be among the pre-regatta favourites, Simmons said he expected to find his work cut out for him in what will be a star-studded fleet.

'It will be very interesting because the competition is going to be very keen,' he said. 'It’s going to be some good competition involving some of the heavyweights.'

Should Simmons be unable to compete, first alternate Craig Davis will fly the Island’s banner instead.

This year the local IOD fleet are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the classic racing sloop’s introduction to Bermuda’s shores.

Last month’s Bermuda International Invitational Race Week witnessed one of the most enthralling battles for the coveted Vrengen Gold Cup in the IOD fleet that was won by the team co-skippered by John Burnham and Peter Rugg on a redress.

Burnham was forced to retire from the penultimate race of the 13-race series after his rigging was damaged beyond repair in a collision with England’s Marc Migliazzo.

That left the American in a three-way tie for first with Bermuda’s Simmons and England’s Giles Peckham. However, the deadlock was broken after Burnham was awarded average points for the final race which was enough to clinch the title.

'The boats were as even in terms of speed as we could make them and it showed in that rather than certain boats dominating the leaderboard it was the better teams/skippers that did so,' said local IOD class president Raymond DeSilva. 'To top it off it came down to the last day of the week to determine the top three positions and from a competition standpoint and keeping things interesting it does not get any better than that.

'The only shame was bad luck on the last day with the contact between Falcon (Burnham) and Vrengen (Migliazzo) knocking the former out of the action and by determination under the rules with average points being awarded that the winner was determined by rule rather than out on the race course.'

DeSilva hopes October’s IOD World Championships will be just as successful as International Race Week.

'We are hopeful that the Bermuda fleet can pull off an equally successful IOD World Championship regatta at the end of our sailing season in late October,' he said. 'About two weeks after the boats are featured in the Argo Group Gold Cup match racing event what better way to cap off the season than by hosting our international fleet racing event of the Original IOD Class website
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