A hot and sunny Singapore day greeted the teams competing in the IFDS Two-Person Keelboat World Championship on Tuesday.
The event is being held at the SAF Yacht Club, Changi, and sailed in the SKUD18 by eight crews from as many countries. The championship is the final national qualifier for the two-person keelboat event at the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition.
At the end of the day, Team China moved to the top of the leaderboard with the home team relegated to third.
With sailors on the water before 11:00, race officials were forced to delay the first start until a gentle easterly of 3-4 knots had settled in. Despite the light conditions, the elbows were out at the start. Jia Hai LIANG and Yu HUAWU (CHN) were forced up the wrong side of the Committee Boat and had to tack back, while the Malaysian team of Loke Sin YING and Al Mustakim MATRIN were caught to windward of Jovin TAN and Desiree LIM (SIN) and had to take a 360-degree penalty after the start following contact.
It took the first boat almost an hour to complete the windward-leeward course, twice around the top mark with a 1-knot current flowing diagonally across the race track. At the finish, it was Bento AMARAL and Luisa SILVANO (POR) across first, followed by TAN and LIM and LIANG and HUAWU.
The second race of the day (race 7 of the championship) was started in about 4 knots of easterly, but this built to 5-8 knots and shifted left as the race progressed. The Singapore, Australian and China teams were best at the start, but by the first leeward mark TAN and LIM had dropped right back and the Irish team of Amy KELEHAN and John TWOMEY had moved up to third, behind Amethyst BARNBROOK and Lindsay MASON (AUS) and LIANG and HUAWU in first place. They maintained their positions to the finish, with Malaysia's first-time SKUD18 sailors YING and MATRIN getting their best placing so far in fourth.
A trapezoid was set for the final race of the day and the 5 knots at the start quickly built to a solid 15 knots from the east. TAN and LIM were forced over the start line early by KELEHAN and TWOMEY while AMARAL and SILVANO came in late with plenty of speed to get the advantage leading up the first beat.
At the first mark, Portugal led Australia and Great Britain. The Aussies had overhauled Portugal at the first leeward rounding and China had come from behind. But it all went awry after that for BARNBROOK and MASON who lost three places upwind when their mainsheet bridle parted. At the finish it was AMARAL and SILVANO, LIANG and HUAWU and KELEHAN and TWOMEY.
In the fresh conditions, YING and MATRIN collided with a race management boat just before the second windward mark. The International Jury agreed with their request for redress, awarding them points for equal sixth.
Once the day's results were tallied, the 3,1, results for China's LIANG and HUAWU have propelled them to the top of the table, three points clear of AMARAL and SILVANO of Portugal. Singapore's TAN and LIM held on to third.
With sailors on the water for over five hours on Tuesday and having completed eight of the 11 scheduled races already, organizers have declared a rest day for Wednesday. Competition continues on Thursday and Friday.
IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship - Two-Person Keelboat - www.sdsc.org.sg
ISAF Disabled Sailing microsite - www.sailing.org/disabled