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31 May 2005, 11:36 am
Australian Victory
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International Match Racing Championship for Blind People 2005
Port Maurizio, Italy

Paul BORG and Don SCOTT (AUS) won the International Match Racing Championship for Blind People and the Borsolino Trophy held in Port Maurizio, Italy from 25-28 May. They sailed a perfect championship with eight wins from eight matches.
The Italian teams of Alessandro MALIPIERO and Elisa BARDELLA and Luigi BERTANZA and Diego CHIAPELLO finished second and third respectively.

The championships were hosted by Circolo Velico Imperiese and sailed from historic Port Maurizio on the Italian Riviera coastline.

Despite the reticent breeze the organization of the event was first class. Circolo Velico Imperiese were strongly supported by the local Lions Club International who assisted with accommodation arrangements and generous Italian style hospitality for competitors and officials.

Entries from Australia, Canada, Israel and Switzerland, along with five Italian teams, competed over four days in matched 6 Metre Meteor keelboats sailed by a two person crew with a sighted umpire aboard. Sailors competing in this event were IBSA classified B1 or B2. The championships were conducted using the Homerus System where three 'beeping buoys', each with an unique signal, define the course and each boat has a sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack.

Conditions were light throughout the championship, never rising above ten knots with the sea breeze arriving late in the day. This provided a challenge for organizers, however a full round robin was completed with only minutes to spare before the time limit for the final warning signal.

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BORG and SCOTT are presented
with the Borsolino Trophy by ISAF
Vice-President, Nucci NOVI
© David Staley

The team of umpires also found the event a challenge as they endeavoured to provide autonomy and close racing for the blind sailors while maintaining safety and ensuring collisions were avoided. The championships were conducted under the new ISAF RRS Appendix CX for Blind Match Racing, developed by International Judges, Gorge CHAPMAN (GBR) and Roberto ARMELLIN (ITA) and International Umpire, Founette PAUTHIER (FRA) in consultation with ISAF and the originator of Homerus, Alessandro GAOSO. Regular meetings between the umpires, coaches and competitors helped to provide feedback on the new appendix and refine the on-water procedures.

The awards ceremony was held on a warm Saturday evening overlooking the marina at Porto Maurizio with the major prize presented by ISAF Vice-President, Nucci NOVI CEPPELLINI (ITA), who is on the IFDS Executive Committee. Accepting the Borsolino Trophy for first place, Australian helmsman BORG commented, 'At these championship we are all winners. This event has given us the chance to demonstrate our abilities to our sighted friends in sailing and is an example to blind people everywhere of what can be achieved'.

David Staley (As Amended By ISAF). Image, BORG and SCOTT on their way to one of eight wins:© David Staley
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