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23 March 2009, 09:22 am
New Zealand Defends Team Title At IFDS World Blind Sailing Champs
Teams from Italy and New Zealand battle in the B1 competition
Teams from Italy and New Zealand battle in the B1 competition

IFDS World Blind Sailing Championship 2009
Rotorua, New Zealand

New Zealand has successfully defended its World Championship team event title at the IFDS World Blind Sailing Championships sailed on their home waters at Rotorua.
New Zealand wins the 2009 title after securing a gold in the B2 fleet, and two silver medals in the B1 and B3 fleets.

Regatta organizers attempted to hold two races on Lake Rotorua complete the week's sailing on the final day of the regatta on Saturday morning. However, half the fleet were not able to finish the first race after the wind dropped, and the second race was abandoned due to no wind.

After 15 races, Italy, skippered by Luigi BERTANZA, held onto its lead at the top of the table, coming first in the B1 division. New Zealand, skippered by Dick LANCASTER came second, and Norway, skippered by Thomas JOHANNESEN came third.

In the B2 fleet, Paulien EITJES from Tauranga skippering the New Zealand team, completely dominated racing this week, winning 14 out of 15 races. Great Britain, skippered by Lucy HODGES, came second. Japan, skippered by Takao SUGIYAMA, came third.

In the B3 fleet, Gary KIRBY skippering the Great Britain team, dominated much of the racing, finishing well ahead at the top of the table. New Zealand, skippered by Dave ALLERTON, came second. The USA, skippered by Jason WALLENSTEIN, came third.

Organizing committee chairman Don MCGOWAN says he is delighted with the regatta - even though the wind sometimes posed a challenge, "We are very pleased with how the regatta has gone this week. We were able to get 15 races away, despite some fickle winds, and at times we had some very close and exciting racing.

"It has been a great festival of blind sailing and we have a big group of happy sailors from all around the world.

"It would have been nice to have some more racing today, but it wasn't to be."

The prizegiving for the regatta was held at the Novotel in Rotorua on Saturday evening.

The next Blind Sailing International Championships will be held in Yokohama, Japan in 2013.

Final Results - click here

Results and more at

Jacky James
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