French Sonars out to make it three in a row at Para World
French Sonar Team
More than 140 sailors from 31
nations will sail across the three Paralympic sailing events at the 2015 Para
World Sailing Championships set to be held in Williamstown, Melbourne,
Australia from 27 November through to 3 December.
As the final qualification regatta for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing
Competition the stakes could not be higher across the 2.4mR, SKUD18 and Sonar
fleets sailing in Melbourne. If that was not enough to increase the
intensity, the quest for World Championship glory and bragging rights heading
into the Paralympic year ensures the pressure cooker is turned up another
Sonar teams from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece
and Norway will enter the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships without the
stress of having to qualify for Rio 2016. However, within the 18-boat fleet,
their tension lies in the battle for the Sonar Para World Sailing title.
Each team, minus Greece, will be on the Melbourne startline and each team has
the capabilities and experience to put together a good series of races to
claim the title.
France's Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary come into the
event with the favourites tag well and truly pinned on them after they won
the 2013 and 2014 world championship titles.
Within French culture there is a saying, "Jamais Deux, Sans Trois”,
which directly translates to 'never two without three'. If that is the case then
expect the French trio to be victorious in Melbourne but they won't be
resting on their laurels as Vimont-Vicary explained, "We are the world
champions so of course we want to keep our title, but even though we are
world champions and respected by the others, of course they want to fight us.
"For the moment we are focused on the World Championships but we know in
the months ahead that Rio is the most important competition, although we have
to be in the moment.”
Canada's Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes finished second to the
French team at the 2014 Worlds and will be strong contenders in 2015. Helm
Tingley is one of the most successful Paralympic sailors competing in any
Melbourne fleet. He won bronze at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games in the
Sonar before taking the Sonar IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship title
a year later. He finished seventh in the Sonar at Athens 2004 before
progressing into the 2.4mR.
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games gold followed and two years later, racing against
able-bodied sailors, won the Open 2.4mR World Championship. He continued in
the 2.4mR through to London 2012 where he finished fifth before moving back
into the Sonar.
With Campbell and Lutes, Tingley's progression has been gradual. Bronze at
the 2013 and 2015 Sailing World Cup Miami regattas and a second at the
world's last year show their steadiness but in a field of Paralympic
hopefuls, they have an opportunity to lay down an indicator with less than
one year until Rio 2016.
Australia's Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden finished third
at the 2014 Worlds. Racing on their home waters, they have the ideal
opportunity to make their mark and confidence could not be higher for the
Australians. They took gold at the 2015 Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, The
Netherlands in a fleet that included the French world champions before
following it up with further victory at Sailing World Cup Weymouth and
Further contention for the top spots will come from London 2012 silver
medallists Jens Kroker, Siegmund Mainka and Robert Prem (GER), bronze
medallists Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Kristiansen (NOR) as
well as the experienced British team of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and
Steve Thomas (GBR).
Six Rio 2016 Paralympic Games places are available at the 2015 Para World
Sailing Championships with nine teams vying for one of those spots.
Teams from Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Spain, USA and
the US Virgin Islands will be on the start line aiming to reach Rio.
Racing in the Sonar is scheduled to commence at 13:00 on Saturday 28