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13 October 2006, 02:06 pm
Soling Fleet Heads For Annapolis
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Soling World Championship 2006
Annapolis, Maryland, USA

The largest Soling fleet to race in North America in the past eight years will gather on Monday at the Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis, USA for the 36th running of the Soling World Championship. The fleet of 39 boats includes nine Europeans, six South Americans and six Canadians along with American sailors from Chicago, Milwaukee, New York and Connecticut.
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The host club will conduct a 50 boat Lightning regatta on the Saturday and Sunday preceding the Monday start of the Soling Worlds and a 50 boat J/24 regatta during the week following. An impressive number of major events in such a brief span of time! Each of the classes involved has worked effectively with the others to insure a seamless transition.

Star Names

In the fleet are three former World Champions - Gustavo WARBURG (ARG), who has won the Championship twice, Bill ABBOTT (CAN) who won the last time the Championship was conducted in the USA in 2002 at Marblehead and the current champion, Roman KOCH (GER), who won last year in Castiglione de la Pescaia in Tuscany, Italy with Maxl KOCH and Gregor BORNEMANN. The fleet also includes Hans FOGH (CAN), an Olympic medallist in 1960 and 1984, Stu WALKER (USA) of the host club, the only American Olympian in the fleet, Peter HALL, who just won the US Championship on Lake Champlain two weeks ago and many other national and international champions.

Two innovations - one derived from Mexico and one from Australia - will distinguish the event. At the 1968 Olympic Regatta in Acapulco, Grommetis (junior sailors from the host clubs) assisted the competitors, and in Annapolis Grommets will carry the flags of their assigned nations in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as assist the competitors during the week. The Australian custom of recognizing the top three finishers each afternoon by requiring the third place finishers to buy the beer, the second place to serve and pour and the first place to sing will be revived at SSA - only the beer will be replaced with Ariston champagne! provided by the event supporters.

The Opening Ceremony will take place at 1700 on Tuesday with Annapolis'

Mayor in attendance and the fleet will sail nine races in five days - from 18-22 October. The fleet should experience the typical fine October weather of the Chesapeake - perhaps a day of showers followed by a cold front passage with a day or two of blustery north westerlies and several warm sunny days with moderate southerlies.

Stuart WALKER (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Roman KOCH and his crew on their way to the World Championship last year:© James TAYLOR
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