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31 October 2001, 11:26 am
Day Four
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2001 IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships
St Petersburg, Florida

The rich got richer, and the rest of the two fleets battled for runner-up positions at day four of the World Disabled Sailing Championships.
Heiko Kroeger displayed why he is king in the 2.4 mR class, both with 2000 Paralympic gold and as the 2001 world champion in the open class for able-bodied racers. Kroeger, from Kiel, Germany, posted two more impressive wins to remain undefeated through eight races. As in each race before, there was Kroeger out in front along, trailed by a pack of four to six other contenders battling for position in the overall standings.

Thomas Brown (USA) of Northeast Harbor, ME, added a 5-2 record Tuesday to 15-point tally and has a lock on second overall for the world championship regatta. With nine points separating Norway's Bjornar Erikstad (in third) from Ruud van Holsteyn of the Netherlands (in fifth) and Jostein Stordahl of Norway sandwiched between them in fourth place, the third place overall trophy is still up for grabs with one race remaining Oct. 31.

On the Sonar course, Canadian skipper Brian Mackie, with crew Brian MacDonald and Paul Tingley, added two more bullets to four earlier first-place finishes. With the exception of one premature start in race five when they were scored OCS (on course side), Mackie's team has won six times and finished second once. They cannot be beaten going into the final day of sailing but the battle for second and third overall will be decided Wednesday between at least four contending teams.

Olympian Andy Cassell of England, who won the Paralympic gold at Atlanta in 1996, has a one-point margin over Germany's Jens Kroker and Canadian Ken Kelly‹both teams tied with 30 points and challenged by Ireland's John Twomey another six points back.

Tampa Bay continued to provide a steady dose of dousings to the sailors as they battled winds in the teens and contrary tides early in the day. While the bay water is still warm, the constant spray upwind and waves downwind added a chill to the cool late October temperatures which stayed in the 70sŠbut still a whole lot warmer than in Canada and Europe where most of the teams are based.

American skipper Paul Callahan of Providence, RI, had worked his way up the standings to fifth place in the Sonar fleet until a back injury to crew Keith Burhans forced the team to sit out three races. Rick Doerr of Clifton, NJ, with crew Tim Angle and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, moved into seventh overall with a 2-3 performance Tuesday and is the top American team through eight races.

The team skippered by John Robertson of Sunderland, England, withdrew from the championship while holding down second place through six races. Robertson withdrew after it was confirmed that his team exceeded the total rating allowed for a disabled team in the Sonar class. Based on each crewmember's disability rating, ranging from one to seven, a total of 14 points are allowed on each team. Robertson's team was one over the limit after an unexpected rating was issued prior to the start of the regatta.

Kroeger, when asked whether he would be sailing Wednesday when he already had the regatta locked up, said, 'We have a long winter in Germany. I definitely want to go out sailing (tomorrow).'

Results:

Sonar Class, 8 races, 1 discard

1 CAN Brian Mackie 8 pts
2 GBR Andy Cassell 29 pts
3 GER Jens Kroger 30 pts
4 CAN Ken Kelly 30 pts
5 IRL JohnTwomey 36 pts

2.4mR Class, 8 races, 1 discard

1 GER Heiko Kroeger 7 pts
2 USA Thomas Brown 22 pts
3 NOR Bjornar Erikstad 30 pts
4 NOR Jostein Stordahl 34 pts
5 NED Ruud van Holsteyn 39 pts


Doran Cushing/News Editor
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