The 2016 Hansa Class World and International Championships have concluded in Medemblik, with the final day providing perfect weather with a nice breeze.
In the Hansa 2.3 International Championship Malaysia’s Al Mustakin Matrim, had the perfect scorecard, being undefeated all week. “I’m going for that gold medal” he said early in the week. In second and third place were the Potuguese sailors Fernando Pinto and Luisa Graca.
In the 303 singles – Chris Symonds has sailed consistently this week, winning 8 races and finishing the event 19 points in front of Willi Lutz of Switzerland. Symonds was crowned World Champion in the Hansa 303 single: “I’ve had an amazing week. We’ve worked really hard to get to this result.”
Willi Lutz came in second: “Happily, it’s been a good week. In April we’ve trained in Medemblik for a week, there was a lot of wind and cold weather. But it was a good experience for this week, and the weather was perfect now so I’m really happy.” For Pedro Reis it has been a difficult week, he sailed in both the single and double 303 classes and ended up with a sprained hand. He remarked “It was a great week and I didn’t even expect a prize anymore!”
In the Hansa 303 double the Australian Symonds was in second place this time with Mike Darby: “Normally we compete against each other; here we sailed together for the first time, which was great. Today we had a good day with a first and second place.” It wasn’t enough to gain the overall first place.
The Swiss team with Patrick Maurer and Christian Hiller did a great job and take the Championship. “We’ve done good with our whole Swiss team, very proud of what we achieved this week.”
Sarah Dunckley surprised herself by winning the Liberty Championship – on her birthday. “I didn’t expect it, my practice race was really bad and the first day my nervousness got to me. Gerard from Netherlands has been my main rival since he was in first position the first days.” Azmi Ani, from Malaysia, ended up in a second place after a week of strong sailing.
The third place is for a local sailor, Gerard Beens. He started really well and was leading the Liberty class for the first days. “Before the event started, I didn’t expect to end up with this bronze medal. But after the first days I realized there was something to win here.”
The SKUD18 class had a really exciting championship. The British, Polish, Dutch and Italian team were competing close to each other all week. Eventually it was the Polish who took the lead. Piotr Cickocki said: “We’ve done some sailing this year in Medemblik already, but this was a real great week with good wind. This is a good preparation for the Paralympics in Rio.” GBR finished in second place, with the Dutch go home with a bronze medal.
In the Liberty Servo division, Vera Voorbach took out the prize, despite not having sailed her Liberty for some time. “I’m really happy with my results, I really improved steadily all week. Today I even sailed in the lead after a good start and some good tacks, ended up on a third place this race. A fourth place overall in the Liberty class is fantastic, and even gold in the Servo class!”
President of the International Hansa Class, Russell Phillips presented the Encouragement Award: “Every Worlds we give an encouragement prize, which is not only to do with the sailing. This year we award it to sailors from Greece, they have made a great effort to come here without much support, despite the financial troubles in their country”. The Greek team were heartily congratulated by the audience, and are already planning their next campaign.
This year, the IHCAintroduced a new prize this event, the Worlds Teams Trophy. The two best scores of the sailors from each nation in each division are combined, with the lowest points scored being declared the winner. With the success of their teams in the Hansa 303’s and consistent results in other divisions, the winner was Australia. The International Hansa Class hopes this prize will encourage other nations to build bigger fleets in every class for future World Championships.
The Chris Mitchell award for Excellence in Inclusive Sailing looks for a group or programme with a philosophy which promotes Inclusion. Sailability Switzerland not only run extensive disability service programmes, but also introduce sailing for mainstream schools using their 16 boats. Chris Mitchell felt that Sailability Switzerland were a great example of the spirit he was fostering.
The IHCA looks forward to seeing sailors in Hiroshima at the next Worlds in October 2018.
Final results are available here.