The largest Hansa Class Worlds has been run and won in Portimao.
Sailors from 17 countries took part, with 10 competitors in the Hansa 2.3 division, 87 in the 303 singles, 75 in the 303 doubles and 17 in the Liberty – with 7 of those sailors using servo.
The Organising Authority had their work cut out coordinating such a large group of sailors and supporters but did a sterling job with the support of hundreds of volunteers and a large number of sponsors. On the water was also a challenge with the large 303 divisions both being split into two fleets before coming together for medal racing for the first time in a Hansa Worlds.
Previous Hansa World Champions were in attendance in every division, with 9 races scheduled across the regatta. The weather was kind initially, with light winds allowing the sailors to sail in the open ocean which provided great spectator views for the beach goers at Praia De Rocha. The weather turned on the 4th day with gale force winds and storms forcing racing to be cancelled for the day. The storm passed, and racing resumed the following days behind the sea wall.
Aside from the racing, the organisers put together a great range of social events, with the sailors and their supporters enjoying local delicacies such as oysters whilst embracing the local culture with singing and live music. The OA also had their eye on the environment, encouraging the competitors to reduce the use of single-use plastics with water filling stations and reusable branded cups for the social events.
On the water the racing was close in all divisions. In the 2.3 division, Polish sailor Andrzej Bury had a perfect regatta, winning all 9 races in his division. It was a welcome return to the Worlds for the original boat of the Hansa fleet, following the COVID travel restrictions of 2021 causing the division not being contested at the previous Worlds. The fleet featured seasoned campaigners in this division, along with the Hansa boat designer, Australia’s Chris Mitchell. Japan’s Yui Fujimoto improved her 2018 position of fourth to come 2nd to Bury, with a second placing in each race. Portugal’s António Nobrega sailed consistently to take 3rd place in a close battle with Japanese 2.3 legend Koji Harada.
The 303 singles World title in recent years has been a battle between Poland’s Piotr Chiocki and Australia’s Chris Symonds. Symonds had a less than perfect preparation to this event, breaking his shoulder earlier in the year. The large sailor group of the regatta was split into blue and yellow fleets for racing.
Across the 6 races and 3 final races, Chiocki’s consistent sailing – including five 1st placings – saw him take home the title in his 3rd consecutive Hansa Worlds. Portugal’s João Pinto, initially sailing in the separate fleet to Chiocki, sailed consistently well to take out second place, in front of GBR’s Rory McKinna. Symonds finished in 12th place.
Many sailors in the 303 singles backed up their singles campaigns by partnering up to contest the 303 doubles. The racing with closer in this division, with 5 pairs taking out at least one race. However, the Polish pair of Chiocki and Joanna Chichocka lead the fleet and even a disqualification in the last race wasn’t enough to lose them the title. The all-female French team of Anne Marteau and Martine Guyon took out second place, in front of Australia’s Symonds and Manuela Klinger in third.
The Hansa Liberty division again saw previous champions taking part with current World Overall and Servo Champion from the Netherlands Vera Voorbach returning to defend her title alongside current Asia Pacific and former World Liberty Champion Australia’s Bob Schahinger. The silver and bronze medallist from the 2021 Worlds – France’s Gérard Eychenne and GBR’s Paul Phillips – were also amongst the fleet, which included 7 sailors using full servo-electric equipment.
The racing was close in this division, with the exception of 2 races, all the top 3 finishes were shared between three competitors – the three placegetters from the 2021 Worlds – Voorbach, Phillips and Eychenne. In the end, it was French sailor Gérard Eychenne who triumphed, with Phillips in second place and Voorbach in third. In the Servo division, it was a clean sweep by the female Dutch sailors with Voorbach defending her title, ahead of countrywomen Hanneke Deenen and Wilma van den Broek, in an exact repeat of the 2021 Worlds Servo results.
At the prizegiving ceremony, along with other trophies, perpetual Hansa Class trophies were presented to the winners. Hansa designer Chris Mitchells’ Inclusion award went to the team from France. Mitchell praised the French for embracing the meaning of inclusion: ‘What began in France as Handivoile, a short form for Handicap Sailing, has grown to include all levels of wheelchair users, people with intellectual and mental disability, vision impaired, deaf people, European, Asian and African people, equal numbers of women as men. But it has now evolved to include all their carers and their able-bodied friends, all Sailing Together.” The French team consisted of over 80 sailors.
The venue for the 2025 Worlds will be announced by the IHCA shortly.
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