Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00

The World Is Coming to Nova Scotia

Sailors from all over the world will converge on the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron August 19-24th for the High Liner Foods IFDS Worlds 2014. Registration closes August 1st and already it is clear this will be a highly competitive week of sailing, right on our doorstep. There will be three racing circles based on the Paralympic competition boats. They are the single-person 2.4mR sailboats, the two-person keelboat SKUD-18 and the three-person Sonars. Top competitors will pre-qualify for the 2016 Rio Paralympics at this regatta.
The world champions crowned in Kinsale, Ireland last summer will all return to the competition to defend their titles. The 2.4mR class winner was Heiko Kroger from Germany. Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell from Great Britain hold the SKUD-18 championship, and the French team of Bruno Jourdren with crew Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary are the Sonar champs to beat.Kroger was actually ranked 4thin by IFDS for the 2.4 mR in rankings issued in 
January 2014. And he will face all three sailors ahead of him in the rankings in Halifax - #1 Helena Lucas (GBR), #2 Bjonar Erikstad (NOR) and #3 Megan Pascoe (GBR).
Kroger placed first in the most recent ISAF Sailing World Cup event in Hyeres, France in April. The competition history is strong among this group. Lucas beat out Kroger for the gold medal at the 2012 Paralympics in London. The highest ranking Canadian competitor is Bruce Miller of British Columbia, who is #10 in the IFDS rankings.
The winner of the Canadian disabled sailing championship, the Mobility Cup held at the RNSYS last August, will compete in a 2.4 mR. Christine Lavallee is not ranked internationally by IFDS. Siobhan MacDonald of Mabou, who placed 4th in the 2013 Canada Games, is the lone Nova Scotian sailing in the 2.4 mR class.
Rickham and Birrell from Great Britain were bronze medal winners at the London games. The team is current world champion and is ranked number one by the IFDS, just ahead of Canadian John Mcroberts and Italian Marco Gualandris. Both those teams are registered to compete in Halifax. The gold medal winner from London is also in the hunt for the world championship – Dan Fitzgibbon of Australia.
Among the Sonar sailors, the Jourdren team from France is ranked #1 by the IFDS. Neither the #2 ranked John Robertson (GBR) nor #3 Aleksander Wang-hansen (NOR) is registered yet to compete in Halifax. But also in the field will be hometown hero Paul Tingley whose Sonar team is sailing out of his home club for this World Championship. And the silver medalist from the London Paralympics, Jens Kroker of Germany, is coming to Halifax as well. All of these competitions will make for tight racing at the top of the groups. Teams are also coming from Austria, Japan, Korea, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, 
and Spain.
Spectator information:
Racing will take place in Halifax harbour, and off Herring Cove from Tuesday, August 19th to Sunday, August 24th depending on weather conditions. There will be a spectator fleet providing viewing of the race courses on a first-come, first-served basis, with signup at the Regatta Information Desk located in the Marine Activity Centre at RNSYS each day. First warning signals on each course are scheduled for 1300 Tuesday to Saturday, with two races scheduled each afternoon. An 1100 warning signal is scheduled for the championship races on Sunday. 

Help still needed:
Qualified race officials and mark boat operators and helpers are still needed for some positions. You should contact Daniel Conrod at the RNSYS Race Office or by email: mailto:[email protected] if you want to volunteer to participate. 
Also, some of the international teams are still trying to locate appropriate coach boats to lease for the regatta. Inflatable boats in the 14’ and up size range are 
preferable. Daily rental rates could be $150 and up.

A shout–out is warranted to the major sponsors who have made it possible for this international sporting event to come to the Squadron this summer. Funding has come from High Liner Foods as title sponsor, CN, CIBC Wood Gundy and Scotiabank. Other supporters include The Atlantica Hotel and the Binnacle. Multi-year funding has also been provided by governments, notably Sport Canada, Halifax Regional Municipality, the Province of Nova Scotia, and important support has come from Sail Nova Scotia and Sail Canada.