Saturday’s racing in the ISAF World Team Racing Championships in Schull Harbour began in light southwesterly winds which developed into a fresh northwesterly by late morning. First action was the semi-final stages of the World Youth Championship. Here, the host club Schull Community College, representing Ireland, took on Sevenoaks (GBRY2) while the in form Spanish team from Barcelona took on the top ranked British team West Kirby Youth (GBRY1),each in a five race sail off for a place in the World Final. Schull opened with two winning combinations but Sevenoaks hit back ,winning the third with a 1,3,4 combination. However, Schull C.C. took the fourth race to clinch a place in the final.
In the second semi the Spanish opened with a flourish and had two wins under their belt before West Kirby Youth seemed to realise they were in a World semi-final and looking defeat in the face. Their backlash came hard and fast. They took the next two races to level the match and in a dramatic fifth race decider, in which the Spanish team fought to the finish, they secured their final place.
There was huge local anticipation and excitement entering the final with the host club facing the possibility of a World Youth title. However ,they had a shaky start losing the first of the five races. This brought about a loss of composure and with a few penalty umpiring calls going against them, and deservedly so, they forfeited the second race also to a humbling 1,2,3, combination from the British team. A lesser team might have caved in at this stage, but they rallied and hit back, winning the third and fourth races. The final deciding race was contested with passion ,commitment and no little skill, with the home team looking like they would just steal the march with a winning combination approaching the finish, but a finish line infringement cost them the race and the title. West Kirby Youth( GBR3) are the World Youth Team Racing Champions 2011, a tribute to their skill, consistency and discipline throughout this World Championships.
The third place sail off between the Spanish team and Sevenoaks (GBRY2) resulted in a win for the Spanish who, together with the first and second placed youth teams joined the five Open qualifiers who made the cut, in the Open quarter finals. This was sailed as a round robin, with the four top ranked teams from the USA and Great Britain making it to the semi- finals, namely, NCYC Team Extreme (USA1), Woonsocket Rockets (USA2), West Kirby Hawks( GBR1) and Wessex Exempt (GBR2). The placings meant that both USA and British semi – finalists were pitted against each other in the penultimate round ensuring a Britain v USA final. At this stage form and consistency came to the fore with Team Extreme and West Kirby Hawks securing their final berths with three straight wins over their fellow countrymen.
West Kirby Hawks attacked early on and took the first race of the final with a convincing 1,2,3 win. Team Extreme hit back taking the second 1,2,5. The third race proved crucial with Hawks’ master tactician Andy Cornah, king of the Championship, working himself and Dom Johnson into 1,2 positions to snatch the win. This proved the race that smashed the American challenge as Team Extreme’s Zach Brown was over at the start in the fourth and The Hawks stole in at 1,2,3 , a lead they didn’t relinquish. At three races to one the Championship was over and West Kirby Hawks, Great Britain’s top ranked team racers ,are worthy ISAF World Team Racing Champions 2011 and have avenged their defeat by USA’s Team Extreme in the British Open Team Racing Wilson Trophy Final back in May of this year. The bronze medallists are Woonsocket Rockets(USA2) who defeated Wessex Exempt(GBR2) with three straight wins in the sail off for third place.
RESULTS OPEN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP:
1. West Kirby Hawks ( GBR1)
Helms: Andy Cornah, Ben Field, Dom Johnson.
Crews: Hamish Walker , Tom Foster, Deborah Steele.
2. NYYC Team Extreme (USA1)
Helms: Zach Brown, Peter Levesque, Stuart Mcnay
Crews: Emmet Smith, Marla Menninger, Michael Hession.
3. Woonsocket Rockets (USA2)
Helms: Joel Hanneman, Brian Kamilar, Justin Law.
Crews: Alexa Schuler, Lyndsey Gibbons- Neff, Adrienne Patterson.
YOUTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP:
1. West Kirby Youth ( GBRY1)
Helms: Cameron Douglas, Ben Robinson,Sophie Shepherd.
Crews: Sarah Lombard, Charlie Fitzgerald, FreddyWilliams.
2. Schull Community College (IRLY3)
Helms: Conner Miller, Oisin O’ Driscoll, Jay Stacey
Crews: Ellen O’ Regan, Katie Moynihan, Kasper Snashall.
3. Spain (ESPY1)
Helms; Carlos Robles, Adriana Rodes, Jordi Xammer.
Crews: Florian Trittel, Lucia Brugman, Alex Claville.
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Competition was intense in Schull Harbour on Friday as teams from Great Britain and USA fought for the top five places to make the cut for the quarter finals. On this third day of round robin racing the joint leaders overnight ,West Kirby Hawks (GBR1) and Team Extreme (USA1) went head to head in the first race of the day and, after a titanic struggle, the Hawks took the spoils, putting down an early marker to their chief rivals to date in the Championship. However, they glitched in their seventh race of the day, going down to Woonsocket Rockets (USA2), who pipped them with a 2,3,4 combination.
Team Extreme’s only hiccup was their loss to West Kirby Hawks and they completed the rest of the day’s racing with a clean sheet achieving 90.91% success to date with 30 wins from 33 races to leave them on exactly the same percentage as West Kirby Hawks at the top.
The British Universities Sailing Association (BUSA) team, while suffering two losses, still maintained a top five place. The Woonsocket Rockets completed the day with 10 wins from 11 races, losing only to Team Extreme and made the cut to the quarter finals also. Wessex Exempt (GBR 2) finally squeezed into the fifth spot leaving Royal St George Gladiators (IRL 1) and the Australians disappointed in their wake after three days of racing.
In the Youth Worlds the battle at the top continued between the Spanish team from Barcelona and host club, Schull Community College, with Schull finally taking top spot. The four teams to contest the final stages of the competition on Saturday morning are: Schull Community College, the Spanish team, West Kirby Youth (GBR1) and Sevenoaks (GBR 2). The top three teams from the Youth Finals then join the five qualifiers from the Open section in the Open quarter finals which will be sailed in round robin format on Saturday afternoon with the Open World semi-finals and final taking place on Sunday morning.
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At the end of racing on day two of the Sailing World Team Racing Championships in Schull Harbour top ranked British team West Kirby Hawks finished first in the pecking order. In an exciting head to head they smashed the early challenge of second ranked fellow countrymen, the British Universities Sailing Association (BUSA) team. BUSA has challenged strongly in the competition to date showing momentum and skill in putting together winning combinations but, in what was probably the best race in the competition so far, West Kirby Hawks came out on top with a 1, 2, 6 combination. USA Team Extreme, yesterday’s leaders, maintained their excellent performance in the Championships, suffering just one defeat in the second day, bringing their tally in the competition so far to 20 wins from 22 races.
This makes them joint leaders with West Kirby Hawks (GBR) with BUSA (GBR) and second USA team the Rockets from Newport, Rhode Island, in third and fourth positions. The best of the Irish teams are in seventh and eighth positions currently, but there is still a lot to play for, with another full round robin of racing to take place on day three, before the final places are decided.
In the Youth World hampionship, the Spanish team from Barcelona maintained their top spot on the league table, suffering only one defeat in the second day of racing at the hands of West Kirby Youth, the top ranked British team. Irish Youth Champions, Schull Community College, sacrificed their joint top position, suffering two early defeats, the Spaniards gaining revenge for their defeat by Schull yesterday and West Kirby Youth also winning over them.
These three teams now dominate the Youth Championship table. Spain are in the top position with 12 wins from 14 races so far, Schull Community College next with 11 wins from 14 followed by British teams, West Kirby Youth and Sevenoaks, both with 9 from 14.
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Full championship racing got under way in Schull Harbour on Wednesday as twelve international sailing teams contest the ISAF Open World Team Racing Championship and eight compete for the Youth Worlds.
The first day of full competitive racing took place in perfect conditions with a strong easterly breeze,which gradually swung southeast , allowing for a full round robin of 96 scheduled races to be completed on the day. At this early stage of competition, the top four places in the Open Championship are occupied by American and British teams.
The American first team ,NYCC Team Extreme, this year’s winners of the Wilson Trophy British Open Team Racing Championship, dominated exchanges with ten wins from eleven races. Two British teams, the British University Sailing Association (BUSA) team and West Kirby Hawks share the second and third spots with nine wins from ten races and USA team The Rockets from Newport, Rhode Island, in fourth place on the round robin table.
In the Youth Worlds section of the event, the Spanish team proved to be the surprise package on the first day , winning all their races until defeated by the Irish Youth Champions, Schull Community College, in their final race. This resulted in both these teams jointly topping the table at the the end of the first day’s racing.
The Official Opening of the Championship took place on Tuesday Evening, performed by Mr. Tomasz Holc, Vice-president of the International Sailing Federation, ISAF, with the hoisting of the ISAF flag and the flags of the competing nations. A highlight of the evening was a performance for the assembled teams, officials, sponsors and guests by internationally famous accordion virtuoso, Liam O’ Connor, of Lord of the Dance fame and now touring internationally with his own show.
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Monday saw each nation hit the water for the first time offical, training and boat famialarization was the main focus today.
Tuesday, will conclude the pre-regatta's training and see the official opening of the World Championships at 6pm outside the Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Center.
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The seaside village of Schull was en fete on Sunday as, in bright sunshine, locals and visitors alike turned out in huge numbers to welcome sailors from around the globe to a world event based in a village setting.
Already, the Australian team , early midweek arrivals, have expressed their wonder and appreciation at the West Cork welcome afforded them, the beauty of the Mizen Peninsula and its proximity to that iconic sailing landmark-the Fastnet Rock. They have now been joined by teams from the USA ,Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Japan, Thailand and Ireland to contest the ISAF World Team Racing Championships throughout this week.
The village was a riot of colour as the parade of nations made its way up the main street, with premises flying the flags of their adopted nations and their window displays imaginatively paying tribute to the visiting teams. The parade was led by ten vintage cars, with ten more bringing up the rear, and the ever popular Skibbereen Silver Band Providing the music.
The entourage reflected elements of the sporting, cultural and artistic life of the local area with groups representing Irish traditional music and dance, local youth and sports clubs and Schull Drama Club providing a particularly interactive and quirky element to the proceedings. The international teams, interspersed throughout the parade were
treated to a rapturous welcoming reception from the kerbside audience which, judging by their responses, they thoroughly enjoyed.
At the reviewing stand an official welcome from the Schull community was extended by Schull And District Community Council Chairman, Sean Lannin. A charming touch was added to the occasion in the form of each participating country being welcomed in their own language by a native of that country now resident in West Cork, emphasising once again the cosmopilitan nature of the region’s population. The parade continued on its way to The Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre at Schull Community College where the teams were officially welcomed to the sailing venue by Tim O’ Connor, college principal and chairman of the local organising team for the event and by Declan Hurley, Chairman of Cork Council’s Western Committee, Cork County Council being one of the major sponsors of the Championship.
There followed a short Irish music and dance performance and a recital by the Skibbereen Silver Band in the spacious marquee erected at the scenic shoreline site. An informal reception was enjoyed by visitors and community setting the tone for an exciting and enjoyable week both on the water and in the village.
Action on the water kicks off on Monday with a training and familiarisation day in the new and locally built TR3.6 metre dinghies. Practice Race Day takes place on Tuesday with Championship Racing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. World Youth Finals take place on Saturday and World Open Finals and Prizegiving
Ceremony on Sunday, September 4.
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Sailing teams from Australia, Japan, United States, Thailand, Italy, Spain and Ireland will converge on Schull next week to contest the World Team Racing Championships at both open and youth level. The seaside village looks resplendent as it prepares to welcome the influx of sailors with their supporters as well as visitors from far and near. This is the first World Sailing Event to be hosted by the Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre located on the campus of Schull Community College at the edge of Schull Harbour.
All championship racing will take place within the harbour with full commentary to facilitate spectators and visitors to the event.
The final entry tally totals twenty teams. Twelve participate the Open World Championship and eight in the Youth Worlds.Of the Open Championship twelve teams vying for the title favourites will be the United States, winners of the last four consecutive World Championships. Their number one team boasts an impressive profile: it consists of Stu McNay, Michael Hession, Pete Levesque, Marla Menninger, Zach Brown and Emmet Smith. Each member of the team has won at least two of the triple crown trophies in team racing: the USA’s Hinman Trophy, the UK’s Wilson Trophy and the World Championship title. Pete Levesque, the most winning team race skipper at this year’s Worlds, has won 2 Team Race World Championships, 2 Wilson Trophy Championships and 5 Hinman Trophy Championships.
The UK first team, West Kirby Hawks, featuring Andy Cornah, Hamish Walker, Ben Field, Tom Foster, Dom Johnson and Deborah Steele come with an equally impressive CV of winning experience ranging across national, international and world events.
The Australian team arrives early to the event, intent on getting acclimatised to the venue and conditions. They bring some high achievers in Christopher Jones, current Tasmania Laser Champion and Australia 4.7 Champion in 2007, Rohan Langford, current Tasmania Laser Radial Champion and Australia Laser 4.7 Champion in 2008. Elliot Noye was a 2010 Australia Youth Match Racing Champion and previously a winner of the Australian Youth Championships in the Laser Radial class. Anna Vaughan recently won a heat at the Laser 4.7 World Championships in San Francisco, while Lucy Shephard has won Australian Championships in International Cadets and in 420s and was part of the Australian team at the Team Racing Worlds in Gandia, Spain in 2007. Amelia Catt, sailed with Lucy when they won the Australian 420 Women’s Championship.
On previous form and experience the US No 1 team should be favourites to take the title with the US having won five of the nine World Team Racing Championships sailed to date. However, the strength of the sport in the UK and Australia also augurs well for keen competition at the top. From an experience viewpoint, other competing nations are on a learning curve but, with team racing becoming rapidly more popular in the sailing world, are still capable of producing a few surprises!
The Youth Championship consists of eight teams representing Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Thailand and Ireland competing for the honours. British team, West Kirby Youth, multiple winners of the Royal Yachting Association Eric Twiname Team Racing Championships and boasting bronze medal winner in the 2009 event, Cameron Douglas, in their lineup, would look to have the edge in experience. However, the second British team, Sevenoaks, has a long tradition in competitive team racing also. The Spanish, Italian and Thai teams have, up to now, not revealed the extent of their team racing experience and achievements so we await their performances on the water when they arrive. Good performances are expected from the home youth teams and we especially look forward to seeing in action the Schull Community College combination of Connor Miller, Oisin O’ Driscoll, Jay Stacey, Ellen O’ Regan, Katie Moynihan and Kasper Snashall, current holders of the Irish Youth Team Racing title and recent runners up in the British Schools International Team Racing Finals which they also won in 2010.'