Access Liberty dinghy designer, Chris Mitchell’s fantasy has come true.
Sailors of all ages, ability and experience put his design to the test tonight at the Access Liberty – LVPS Challenge. Sailors competing in The Glenn Family Foundation Kiwi Cup, which is the combined IFDS (International Federation for Disabled Sailing) Single Person Dinghy World Championship and the Access Liberty World Championship, went head to head against LVPS sailors in the universal design dinghies.
The floating dock that doubled as the landing area for the LVPS sailors was filled to capacity as the professional sailors routed for their cronies - Kevin Hall, Ray Davies (ETNZ); Alberto Barovier, Michele Ivaldi (BMW Oracle); Sebastian Col, Rod Dawson (K Challenge); Vasco Vascotto, Diego Negri (Damiani); and Iain Percy, Andrew (Bart) Simpson (Team Origin) and others.
Mitchell’s reaction was animated to say the least when he found out that 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson were going to sail the 3.6-metre, double-ruddered, joystick-controlled, single-handed rig with a main and a self-tacking jib. 'I think it’s great. We’re going to show them a thing or two. They’ll get out there looking for things to pull and our guys sit back and beat them.'
After two elimination heats and a final race, the LVPS sailors proved Mitchell wrong. Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Iain Percy crossed the finish line with a distant lead on two-time World Match Racing Tour Champion helmsman, Iain Williams.
Emirates Team New Zealand proved that they knew the shifty Viaduct Basin and tactician, Ray Davies and navigator, Kevin Hall finished third and fourth, respectively. The Glenn Family Foundation Regatta Chair, Tim Dempsey, who has put his heart and soul into the event and into trying to introduce his countrymen to sailing, finished fifth.
At the awards celebration, Hall commented, 'I enjoyed sailing a boat that I’ve never sailed before against some people whom I’ve never sailed against.' Davies admitted, 'I got some tips from Dan Slater (New Zealand Olympic Finn sailor and the current Access Liberty World Champion, Joshua MacKenzie-Brown).
The entry fee for the friendly competition was a team shirt signed by the entire team. The shirts will be auctioned off at the Kiwi Cup dinner on Friday evening and all proceeds will go to Sailability Trust.
Everything about Monday night’s challenge was light-hearted, from the rainbow colors of the Access Liberty hulls and sails to the friendly competition and the stuffed Kiwi birds that were presented to the podium finishers. For more on the combined IFDS (International Federation for Disabled Sailing) Single Person Dinghy World Championship and the Access Liberty World Championship and the The Glenn Family Foundation Kiwi Cup see Lynn Fitzpatrick's site www.worldregattas.com. Lynn is also covering the Louis Vuitton Pacific series on www.worldregattas.com