There have been set backs for the Irish Paralympic crew today in the Sonar Class at Weymouth in the IFDS Worlds writes Claire Bateman.
Crews braved winds of more than 20 knots in Portland Harbour today as Weymouth and Portland's finally lived up to its reputation as a breezy venue after three days of light and fluky airs.
Things are really starting to hot up with two days and three races to go.
Gear failure has dropped Shillelagh to 12th. Photo: Bob Bateman
In spite of the fact that they suffered gear breakages in both races today that saw them slip to 12th place from 9th yesterday, when speaking with John Twomey after racing, he and his crew remained confident of qualifying the Irish spot for the 2012 Paralympics. Eight countries have qualified already and with six places remaining to be filled and, making the calculations, he said, except for disaster, they were very hopeful of making the qualification. He said that in to-day's racing they had to contend with winds of 25 knots making for extremely difficult conditions.
With the breezes well over 20 knots the 155 sailors competing at the RYA-run event at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy this week were provided today with a completely different challenge to the first three days of racing and with the strong winds now forecast to remain for the rest of the week, the competitors are facing some close to the knuckle sailing. Competition in the Sonar Class is extremely keen and includes top world level sailors. Defending World champion Thierry Schmitter (NED) continued his march to his third consecutive crown with a first and second today, increasing his lead to 17 points over Britain's Helena Lucas. A good day for Schmitter's Dutch team mate Andre Rademaker saw him move into the medal places, as a race eight disqualification for Britain's Megan Pascoe saw her drop to fourth.
Racing continues tomorrow(Thurs) with Races 9 and 10 and will finish with Race 11 on Friday.