Britain leads Alcoa IFDS World Disabled Sailing Champs after five races

With a pair of bullets in the two classes contesting the 2006 Alcoa IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships, the pendulum has swung back in Britain’s favour in their tussle with Germany for top spot on the leaderboard.

Helena Lucas in the 2.4 Metres and John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas in the Sonars, had come from behind victories in today’s only race, to regain the overall lead as they approach the halfway stage of the series.

With a south-easterly breeze of about 15 knots, all the crews agreed that the conditions were difficult, with big shifts, and fluctuation in strength.

“Very shifty, aweful conditions,” commented John Robertson, “coming off the south of the bay, so it was pretty tricky really.”

Helena Lucas had similar comments: “really tricky conditions, I think the seabreeze was trying to come in, and it all got a bit mad, one minute you were in a lull, and the next minute you were in a 20 knot gust, and 30 degree shifts happening as well.”

Germany holds on to second place in both classes, with Heiko Kroeger finishing fifth in the 2.4 Metre class to trail Lucas by three points, while Jens Kroker and his crew were third in the Sonars, for a two point deficit behind the British.

In the Sonars the Israeli team of Dror Cohen, Arnon Efrati and Beni Vexler, are keeping their results consistent, to hold third place, though their compatriots Shimon Ben Yakov, Moshe Zehavi and Yossi Barda were second in today’s race.

Bjornar Erikstad of Norway grabbed second place in the 2.4 Metre today, to put himself in third place on the leaderboard, with three second places and a third in his scoreline, the overall picture being spoilt because he
failed to finish in race three.

John Robertson and his crew rounded the first mark in seventh place, and had to claw his way back through the fleet, “we got two places on the first run, then on the second beat we got up to second, and passed him on the next rounding, and that was it,” was how it went.

Fortunes waxed and waned for Helena Lucas, “I was second at the top mark,” she explained: “and I dropped to third down the first run, then pulled it back on the second beat, and was leading at the top second time.”

This championship, being hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club on the Swan River, is the first qualifying event for the 2008 Paralympics, and is an 11-race series, which finishes on Wedneday, 25 January.

Results (after 5 races, no discard)


1. John Robertson/Stodel/Thomas GBR 11pts

2. Jens Kroker/Schoenberg/Schuetz GER 13pts

3. Dror Cohen/Efrati/Vexler ISR 23pts

2.4 Metres

1. Helena Lucas GBR 16pts

2. Heiko Kroeger GER 15pts

3. Bjornar Erikstad NOR 28pts