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15 January 2004, 10:53 am
Sailors Ready to Race
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2004 IFDS Single-Person Dinghy World Championship
Port Phillip, Victoria

While Day 2 was quieter for the Registration staff, the Medical Classifiers were hard at work all day, seldom appearing from behind closed doors. Technical Delegate, Phil VARDY arrived in the early evening and was pleased with the progress of preparations
Generally the competitors spent the day being fitted into seats and ensuring the correct positioning of servo assist controls. A team of very experienced volunteers discussed the various options with sailors - the positioning of the servo controls being of paramount importance. Also, because the majority of sailors are a Classification 1, with little or no trunk control, it is vital to ensure they are very securely secured into the boat, so they can maintain control while heeling.

This regatta is an entirely new concept in sailing for people with a "severe disability" or a "very severe disability" and therefore new issues relating to sailor comfort and safety needed to be addressed.

So far the weather has been kind, with the temperatures being mild and not too warm, the breezes averaging 7-15 knots on calm waters of Port Phillip Bay.

Late in the afternoon the heads of accessible programs from around the world held an informal meeting to get to meet the people on the other end of the email. Those in attendance were:

Greece: Panayotis TSINGANOS (Chairman Sailability Hellas)
USA: Herb MEYER (Chairman, Sailability USA & US Sailing, SWSN Committee)
Portugal: Bento AMARAL (representing, Associacao Portuguesa de Vela)
Japan: Nobi NISHII (Chairman, Sailability Japan)
USA: Carolynn HELIG (President, Sailability USA
Canada: Keith HOBBS (Chairman, CYA's Disabled Sailing Committee)
Missing in "sightseeing": Zoltan PEGAN (Vice Chairman, Sailability Hungary)!

The meeting, chaired by Jackie KAY, discussed the current status of activities in respective countries with many suggestions and ideas being exchanged.

One of the very outstanding aspects of this regatta to date are the volunteers. Members of the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron are to be commended for the amazing organisation of the event, with apparent faultless allocation to suitable accommodation as well as reliable and prompt transport. The experienced Sailability volunteers are also working tirelessly, ensuring competitors are comfortable in their boats and safely transferred from dockside to boat.

The entire volunteer team is committed to ensure that this regatta will be an outstanding success. Their attitude demonstrates a complete willingness to make the competitors, their carers and the spectators comfortable, with all problems being addressed with speed, no fuss and a lot of support.

The sailors are ready, the boats are ready, the volunteers are ready......the weather is perfect - tomorrow is the first day of practice racing.

Event Media (As Amended by ISAF)
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