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Bugg in top six at Para Sailing Worlds

Tasmanian sailor Matt Bugg is sixth overall in a fleet of 48 boats in the single-handed 2.4mR class after day one of the Para Sailing World Championships on Melbourne’s Port Phillip.

More than 130 skilled sailors from 31 nations, who suffer from a range of disabilities, have entered for what is the final qualification event for the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

In an excellent day for the nation’s prospects for the Rio Paralympics, Australian sailors are heading the leader board in the other Paralympic classes, the two-crew, skiff-style Skud 18 and the three-crew Sonar.

“I think this is best first day of a world championship that Matt has had and that augers well for another top placing overall,” his coach Richard Scarr said at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria after yesterday’s racing in what he described as “perfect sea breeze conditions for Matt.”

Bugg placed ninth in race one; eighth in race two to be sixth overall.

Sharing the lead in the 2.4mR class are British woman sailor Megan Pascoe who is entered the 2.4mR open world championships (for able-bodied and disabled sailors) to be held in Hobart in January, and German world champion Heiko Kroeger.

Pascoe had a first and third, Kroeger two second placings in intense competition in the big flee which saw two general recalls, with the race officers then introducing strict starting rules.

“Matt got pushed out by the Greek sailor at the start of race one and could not tack back to the line as the starting signal went….but he showed he was very quick once he got clear, rounding the windward mark in 13th, then dropping back to 10th and finally ninth,” Scarr explained.

“In race two he got one of his worst starts ever, but again sailed through the fleet to finish in eighth place.”

British gold medallist at the London Paralympics, Helena Lucas, and Neil Patterson, Tasmania’s other sailor in the 2.4mR class both got disqualified from race two under a UFD starting line breach in race two, as did New Zealand’s top sailor, Paul Francis.

Australia’s London 2012 Paralympic gold medallists in the Skud 18, Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch heading the Skud class with a win and second while in the Sonar class, Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russel Boaden scored two straight wins to be well clear of the New Zealand crew.

Peter Campbell
29 November 2015

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