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23 November 2005, 11:45 am
Frustrating Conditions At Opening Weekend
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JPMorgan Asset Management Winter Challenge 2005-2006
Staines, London, Great Britain

Cold, foggy, windless conditions over the weekend of 19-20 November meant disappointment for the 37 sailors competing in Staines, London, Great Britain at the first ISAF Grade 3 qualifier of the JPMorgan Asset Management Winter Challenge Match Racing Series.
Teams arrived at Queen Mary Sailing Club (QMSC) in Staines, hosts of the Winter Challenge for the second year, to find the lake covered in thick fog which remained on the water all day Saturday, resulting in the cancellation of the first day's sailing.

The fog was still there on Sunday and the race organisers quickly revamped the schedule to a knockout series in the hope that the fog would lift by lunchtime. The fog began to clear and at one stage the teams were sent to rig the RYA fleet of J/80s ready for action. However the wind would not fill in enough so reluctantly the organisers abandoned sailing again for the second day.

This match racing Challenge consists of seven qualifying events, from which the winner and runner-up are invited to the ISAF Grade 2 Grand Final on 10-12 March 2006.

Roger THOMPSON, Head of International Finance at JPMorgan Asset Management, was at QMSC to welcome the sailors, especially the five overseas teams which had flown in to the event from Russia, Denmark, Germany, France and Switzerland. RYA Racing Services Manager David ATKINSON was also present to greet the competitors, umpires and race officials who were in attendance.

It is the second year that JPMorgan Asset Management has sponsored this event and this year it has attracted top match racers from all over the world. In this opening qualifier alone, Britain's Ian WILLIAMS, number five in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, Frenchman Sebastien COL at number eight, Lars NORDBJERG from Denmark at number 18 and Russia's Andrew ARBUZOV at 20 were amongst the top sailors set to compete.

Event Organiser David CAMPBELL-JAMES was extremely disappointed that there was no sailing over the opening weekend, but is hoping very much that all the competitors will be able to attend one of the other qualifiers in the JPMorgan Asset Management Winter Challenge Match Racing Series.

The next qualifier is scheduled for 3-4 December.

Lindsey Bell (As Amended By ISAF)
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