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10 September 2007, 04:51 pm
Two Championships Decided At Access Worlds
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Consistent starts from SKUD 18 International Champions Dan FITZGIBBON and Rachael COX

Access Class World Championships 2007
Ontario, Canada

Racing in the Access Class World Championships at Whitby Yacht Club resumed on 4 Spetember, enabling the SKUD 18 International Regatta and Two-Person Access 303 World Championship titles to be decided.

Wind ranged from 6-10 knots, mainly 8-10, throughout the day with a more significant chop than the competitors had experienced in previous races. An easterly greeted the first sailors on the water, but it progressively shifted right through 50 degrees. Principal Race Officer, David SPRAGUE, and his race management team made two course re-alignments during the day.

In the SKUD 18s, Dan FITZGIBBON and Rachael COX (AUS) maintained their dominance of the division with another three straight wins to finish 8 points clear. Ame BARNBROOK and Dennis CRITCHLEY (AUS) finished each of today's races ahead of Rick WATTERS and Audrey KOBAYASHI (CAN) to reclaim second place. All of the SKUDs racing here at Whitby will be loaded on trailers on Wednesday for the trip to Rochester, New York and the IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championship - the first nations qualifier for the two person keelboat event at the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition.

At the end of the last day's racing in the two-person 303's, there was only one point separating each of the top three teams. But Eva MIRCSEV and Zoltan PEGAN (HUN) handled the day's conditions perfectly to win every heat and claim the World Championship ahead of Michael LEYDON and Debbie BOYS (AUS), with Jim BROWN and Tish ENNIS (AUS) third.

There is still one day of competition to go in the remaining divisions.

Duncan Macgregor (AUS) is unbeatable in the 2.3 single-person division. The 17 year old from tropical Cairns holds a seven point lead. Clare ANDREW (GBR) has a four point gap on Debbie BOYS (AUS). Martin WALLER (AUS) is sailing his 2.3 with servo helm and mainsheet controls and led the fleet for part of the first race today but was eventually overtaken by MACGREGOR. To be ahead of the Australian and World Champion, albeit briefly, was a real highlight for this committed sailor from Melbourne.

While PEGAN tasted success in the Two-Person 303 division, he has struggled to replicate this in the solo competition. His first place in race one is now just a memory with the two Australians swapping the lead in today's heats. LEYDON went 3,2,3 in the early session, with Jim BROWN (AUS) taking two firsts and a second. LEYDON currently retains a 3 point lead with two races still to complete.

Joshua MCKENZIE-BROWN (NZL) had his worst result on Tuesday, but benefited from the second drop coming in to play. Discarding his sixth in the second of the day's races, his first and second increased his lead to five points with just one race to sail, so the championship is assured. Barry COATES (AUS) had two wins to move him ahead of Chris RIORDAN (AUS). Cam PERRY (CAN) is only one point adrift in fourth place and seems committed to getting Canada on the podium, but he has just one race to make his a reality.

The final races are scheduled for Wednesday followed by a presentation ceremony at the Whitby Yacht Club.
David Staley
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