Halifax & the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron are welcoming 176 participants representing 23 nations to the Highliner Foods IFDS World Championships. The east coast hospitality has been in full display as an array of volunteers and professionals are putting the final touches on what is sure to be an outstanding event. RNSYS has a vast and proud heritage in hosting quality competition dating back some 177 years. Facilities & infrastructure have been updated and revitalized with financing contributions from club members, corporate sponsors and government partners. U.S. sailor and commentator Gary Jobson will be representing the International Sailing Federation at the opening ceremonies along with Sail Canada Executive Director Paddy Boyd.
This pinnacle event kicks off today with registration and measurement. Practice race and opening ceremonies will be held on Monday August 18, before things kick into full gear with racing from Tuesday the 19th through Sunday the 24th. Three race circles will be deployed in the outer reaches of Halifax Harbour, with a quality race committee set to deliver an outstanding event. Two of the three defending class World champions have returned to lay claim to their titles, however the challengers for the throne of World Champion are numerous.
Among those to watch include Canadian team members John McRoberts and Jackie Gay in the Skud class. Bronze medalists at the 2013 Worlds, McRoberts/Gay are up against a strong contingent including Team Rickham of GBR who won the title in 2013 and a bronze medal finish at the 2012 Paralympics.
The Sonar class is equally well represented for Canada by 3-time Paralympian and 2008 2.4 mR Gold Medallist Paul Tingley. Paul leads the team of Scott Lutes and Logan Campbell (both 2012 Paralympians in the Sonar Class). The trio have been consciously training on ‘home ice’ in an effort to climb onto the podium in 2014. Nine of the top 10 competitors from the 2013 Worlds are in attendance including Team Jourdren of France, the defending champion and winner of both the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta and the Holland Regatta earlier this year. Based on the tight competition in Lunenburg at the North American Championships this past weekend this significant event will undoubtedly come down to the final races.
The 2.4mR class has a voluminous fleet filled with rockstars. Defending Paralympic Gold Medallist, Helena Lucas of GBR is among those contending for the crown of World Champion. The beloved single-handed fleet have 9 of the top 10 from the 2013 Worlds in attendance including none other than Heiko Kroeger - GER (2012 Silver Medalist and 2013 World Silver Medal), and Damien Seguin of FRA (4th at the 2012 Paralympics). Canada has a large contingent present lead by veteran Bruce Millar (7th at the 2013 Worlds) all looking to make their respective international statements.
Erik Stibbe, Sail Canada National Team Coach, has been working very closely with the Canadian Paralympic teams since the 2012 Paralympic Games and hopes to attain country qualification for 2016 here in Halifax. “The Canadian team is aiming to secure nation spots for the Paralympic Games in Rio in all three classes. They are looking forward to the event and realize their hard work over the past year reflected in some strong performances.”
High Performance Director & Head Coach Ken Dool has been supporting the Canadian contingent for weeks leading up to this event and is pleased with their preparation. "The team is well prepared and positive as the week ahead approaches. The competitors within our team are looking to take full advantage of their local training to get an early lead in the event. Having an event of this magnitude in our home waters is a huge bonus for both our elite performers and developing sailors alike".
Stay tuned for an exciting week ahead at RNSYS!
Twitter feeds: @IFDSWorlds2014 ; @SailCanada
Facebook: Disabled Sailing World Championships ; Canadian Sailing Team
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