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19 January 2006, 09:14 am
Superstition Rules
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Alcoa IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships 2006
Perth, Australia

'I don't finish practice races, I'm superstitious,' commented Helena LUCAS (GBR) after yesterday's warm-up race for the Alcoa IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships, on Perth's Swan River, Australia. Similarly defending champion John ROBERTSON (GBR) skippering the three person Sonar said, 'I didn't finish, I never do in the practice race,' as he polished the bottom of his boat in preparation for the start of the real racing tomorrow.
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LUCAS, sailing in the single-person keelboat 2.4 Metre elaborated a little on the day's race, 'It was a nightmare out there really, it's tough, very shifty, one minute you're looking good, and the next minute...... maybe not,' was her summary of the day.

ROBERTSON, crewed by Hannah STODEL and Stephen THOMAS in the three-person keelboat Sonar, and LUCAS in the 2.4 Metre are the cream of an eight strong British team at this event.

Four other British 2.4 Metres have entered, Megan PASCOE from Weir Wood, the Cowes Corinthian's Andrew MILLBAND, Michael COGSWELL of Queen Mary's Sailing Club, and the only member of the team to overcome his superstitions and finish, Brian HARDING representing the Hamble River Sailing Club.

ROBERTSON and his crew looked impressive on the water, sailing in the steadier breezes out in the middle of the river, 'We did alright really,' he commented, 'Got a reasonable start, and had to tack off, got this nice lift, just kept going and just tacked on the shifts and rounded first,' making it sound deceptively easy.

The ROBERTSON, STODEL, THOMAS combination are the defending champions, and after a week of preparation on the Swan River, are favourites to retain their title.

Bringing The Worlds To Perth

The regatta is a legacy of the late Noel ROBINS (AUS), who was the only sailor to have skippered an America's Cup challenge, and won a Paralympic gold medal.

After winning gold for Australia at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, he set about luring the IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships back to his home town, where he had been the brains behind the organization of the 1987 America's Cup defence.

The Championship is being hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club, with the first points races starting today and continuing through to 25 January.

Aiming For Beijing

The 2006 IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championship is the first qualification event for the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition, with the seven top ranked nations in both the single-person keelboat 2.4 Metre and three-person keelboat Sonar events gaining qualification, subject to IPC approval. The first qualifying event for the new two-person keelboat Paraylmpic event in the UD-18 will take place later in the year.

In the case that the required number of races are not completed (in accordance with IFDS rules) then the qualification slots attributed to the competition will be redistributed to the 2007 IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships Allocation method and allocated through the results of the corresponding boat class.

For all the news from the Alcoa IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships CLICK HERE.

John ROBERSON (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Defending champions John ROBERTSON, Hannah STODEL and Stephen THOMAS have already impressed in Perth:© photoworld.click.dk
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