New Champions crowned in Hiroshima

by IHCA

The 2018 Combined Hansa Class World and International Championships have come to an end in Hiroshima.

Racing across the 4 divisions was completed over 5 days, with light winds during some sessions.

The sailors, their friends and supporters have unanimously declared the regatta to be a great success, thanks to the efforts of the Organizing Authority. Interpreters were on hand for each team, volunteers wore different coloured jackets to identify their roles, an athletes tent village for the teams to relax in between races, an amazing viewing platform for spectators, on-site shops, accessible shuttle buses and the warmth of the Japanese people have made this a regatta to remember.

This World Championship was the largest Hansa Class Worlds ever held, with 191 competitors from 24 Nations. Each fleet boasted record numbers of entrants, with 52 entrants in the 303 doubles alone.

In the 2.3 singles, it was Australia’s Chris Ruston who took home the gold medal in front of GBR’s Lindsay Burns, who improved on her 5th place from 2016. 3rd place was Chris’ fellow Queenslander, Neil Rowsthorn, making his Hansa Worlds debut.

The 303 singles was a closely fought contest, with the reigning Hansa World and current Para World Champion, Australia’s Chris Symonds battling it out with his friend and rival Poland’s Piotr Cichocki. This time, the Pole took the gold – one point in front of Symonds. Japan sailor Takumi Niwa was a popular winner of the bronze.

The largest division was the 303 doubles, with experienced and novice teams taking to the course. In another closely fought contest, young Japanese sailors Yuna Nakayama and Sarina Shibata had the home crowd on their feet when they took out the division. Medemblik silver medalists, Australia’s Chris Symonds and Mike Darby again took home the silver, in front of Medemblik gold medalists, Switzerland’s Patrick Maurer and Christian Hiller who claimed the bronze.

The Liberty fleet saw none of the Medemblik placegetters returning, so a new page was to be written for the Liberty sailors. IHCA President Bob Schahinger’s consistent performance saw him crowned the 2018 Champion, in front of France’s Gerard Eychenne. In third place -improving from her 4th placing in Medemblik – was Dutch sailor Vera Voorbach.

Vera was also crowned the Servo Champion – defending her title from 2016. Fellow Dutch sailor Hanneke Deenan took the silver medal with Japan’s Takaya Aono in third place.

Placegetters received a trophy in the shape of a crane, which is a symbol of peace in Hiroshima. The trophies contained the burnt remains of thousands of paper cranes which are sent to Hiroshima from around the world each year. The ashes are mixed with a glaze, which was used to coat the trophies. All competitors also received a coffee mug which had been through the same process.

During the closing ceremony dignitaries and Hansa officials thanked the competitors, their friends and supporters, the hard working volunteers and organisers for making this event the one to remember.

The Chris Mitchell award for Excellence in Inclusive Sailing looks for a group or program with a philosophy which promotes Inclusion. This year, the award went to 2 Japanese Sailability programs, which were born from Chris’ meeting with Nobi Nishii 20 years ago.

The World Teams trophy was not presented, as the trophy was not available to present. However, due to the strong results of their sailors, and with multiple competitors in every division, the winner of the trophy was Team Australia.

The Encouragement Award was not presented this year.

The IHCA flag was handed to Steve Bender, who is the Chairman of the Organising Commitee for the 2020 Hansa Class World and International Championship, which will be held in Newport Beach, California in 2020. More details will be available on this website as they come to hand.

More information and final results can be found at the regatta website – www.2018hansaworlds.com

Photos from the regatta are available (with due credit to the photographer, Adamo Aono) via this link