Suspended first day of racing at Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing Worlds causes frustration for VI’s 49ers



Alec Anderson and Chris Brockbank at Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds Championships. Photo: Provided

Alec Anderson and Chris Brockbank at Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds Championships. Photo: Provided

Virgin Islands’ Sailors and Olympic hopefuls, Alec Andersen and Chris Brockbank, had a frustrating start to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Championships in Santander, Spain, today, Monday September 15, 2014, as light or no winds caused the opening day to be suspended.

Brockbank and Andersen, sailing the 49er class boat, have been traversing Europe in their bid to not only qualify for the Olympics in Rio, 2016, but also to make sure they are as competitive as possible and as the pair commented on the latest stop off in Spain.

“We will officially begin the quest to earn a berth at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games! It will be a long week, but we are ready for the challenge!” they said.

A large crowd gathered to witness the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing Worlds Championships Opening Ceremony, which took place 48 hours before Brockbank and Andersen take to the water in the 49er class.

“We are very excited to represent the flag! With over 20 thousand people in attendance at the opening ceremony it was hard not to get pumped.”

The World Championship will also be a first chance for the pairs new Coach Robby Bisi from Argentina to see his charges in competitive race conditions, although he has seen them in action during the first week of his new role.

“We got out for a session and are very much looking forward to working with Robby for the Worlds. We did 3 races in a light sea breeze with a fleet of about 20 boats and, with continuous improvement throughout the day, took a 1st (by a solid margin) in the final race!” said the pair.

Brockbank and Andersen face 13 races over the next couple of days, once racing gets underway and the final Medal series is scheduled for Saturday 20th September.

The 49er is one of the newer one-design small sailing dinghies based on the Aussie 18s. The 49er was designed by Julian Bethwaite (son of Frank Bethwaite) who made several changes to add to the evolution of high performance sailing.

This is a double-handed twin trapeze boat sailed by a helm and a crew. The 49er is slightly unusual as crew does most of the sail control.

In September 1996, a group of top sailors traveled from around the world to Lake Garda, Italy for a trial of many different classes to see which would go forward as the new twin-trapeze skiff for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. After an intensive week of trialing various designs, the 49er proved to be the clear favourite with the sailors and by November 1996 it had been ratified as the new Olympic skiff.

The 49er made its debut at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and since its inclusion in the Olympic Games sailing programme, is experiencing ever increasing popularity worldwide.