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28 May 2013, 09:01 am
Japan Welcomes IFDS Blind Sailing World And International Championship Sailors
Tony Holmes NZL (15) getting a good start in the B3 division
Tony Holmes NZL (15) getting a good start in the B3 division

IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championship
Seabornia Yacht Club, Japan

In the Land if the Rising Sun, dawn breaks a little after four in the morning, leaving ample time for the 19 teams from around the world participating in the IFDS Blind Sailing World and International Championships 2013 to awake and get ready for the first day of racing.
Breakfast was served in the Seabournia Yacht Club which is hosting the event. An occasion for the sailors to share enthusiastic comments on the previous evening's Opening Ceremony with its Traditional Japanese dancing and music, Lion dances and buffet dinner. The J 24s chosen for this event were drawn after the opening ceremony according to a traditional Japanese method.

These IFDS Worlds use the fleet racing format, where each boat is manned by a crew of four persons. Two of the crew present a vision impairment, the person at the helm deciding the category in which the boat sailed. B1 category is helmed by totally blind sailors, while in the B2 and B3 categories the helmspersons are respectively less impaired. The second vision impaired person handles the mainsheet, while aboard each boat there is also a sighted jib trimmer, and a sighted tactician who can only give oral instructions but never touch any of the boat's controls

In the warm and sunny waters off the coast of Miura, Kanagawa, Japan, the breeze grew steadily Sunday morning from the south enabling the race committee to run four races for each of the fleets of B1, B2, and B3 sailors. Weather predictions for later in the week are not encouraging, and the organizers were eager to get as many races in the first two days as possible.

In all three fleets, racing was close, as can be seen on the scoreboard available here.

A considerable number of protests however changed the final results.

In the B1 division, the Japan-A crew skippered by Yuki Kawazoe won two out of the four races, putting them into the lead at the end of the day.

B2 skipper Lucy Hodges, and her crew from Great Britain showed consistently good speed, rewarded by the top score overall after four races, while in the B3 division New Zealand's Tony Holmes demonstrated that he was a good contender for the top of the board coming second in one race but winning the three others.
Bernard Destrubé /IFDS
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