Reports by Brian Todd
Canadian Paralympic Team Coach

September 13 - Qingdao

Qingdao China,

Final day of racing for the Paralympic medals in the 2.4, Skud 18 and Sonar classes. It was a perfect sailing day in Qingdao, winds were 9-12 from about 120 on the compass with a pretty good sea running and bright sunshine. Everyone brought their A game and there were plenty of positions up for grabs. There were 2 races today, making that 10 for the series and bringing on the second drop. After the first race in the 2.4 class things got tighter as Damien Seguin from France won and Paul Tingley from Canada finished 5th. So the final race had all the marbles on the line and Paul Tingley (Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron) put the hammer down and delivered a first place finish to win the “GOLD MEDAL”! Damien Sequin finished in Silver and John Ruf from USA sailed a hot series and took the Bronze. There were a lot of lead changes in this fleet over the week and today any one of 6 people could have won, good to see such tight racing.

The Skud 18 class was won yesterday by Nick Scandone and Maureen McKinnon Tucker but the race for the silver and bronze was a showdown between Canada and Australia, In the first race today Canada thought they would practice 360’s following a few incidents but came back to be competitive in the second. In the end it was Daniel Fitzgibbon and Rachael Cox AUS that took the Silver, John McRoberts and Stacie Louttit (Royal Victoria Yacht Club) took the Bronze.

The Sonar fleet was also very tight and the French were in the power position in the last race but their jib blew up at the bottom mark and they had to sail in, Germany won the Gold, France won the Silver and Australia won the bronze. Our Canadian team of Ken Kelly, Don Terlson and Marc Shaw (Royal Victoria Yacht Club) finished 11th overall, they had many bright moments but the level of experience in the Sonar fleet right now is very tough with many full time athletes.

Our coaches have done a great job in working to keep the athletes focused and race ready, Craig Guthrie, Steve McBride and Don Martin worked 7 days a week from early AM to late in the evening and gave their all to ensure our athletes could be the best at this event. Congrate to them!!

While I am at it the people of Qingdao, all the volunteers, committees were amazing, I have been to many international events including Worlds, Olympics Pan Ams and so on but I have never experienced the level of organization as this event, they have certainly made an impression on the World!

Now it is container packing time, we will get that done tomorrow then off to Beijing for the closing ceremonies.

Brian Todd
Canadian Sailing Team

September 12 - Qingdao

Races 7 and 8 of the Paralympic Games Qingdao

With only 2 races left to go and a 9th race setting a 2nd drop in motion Nick Scandone an Maureen McKinnon Tucker USA have essentially won the Gold medal in the Skud 18 class! All week long Nick and Maureen sailed an excellent series with no race worst than 3rd and plenty of bullets, he sure was the class of the fleet. But there is still a big duel for second place, John McRoberts and Stacie Louttit CAN hold a 1 point lead going into the last day over Daniel Fitzgibbons and Rachael Cox AUS It will be an exciting finish to the Skud 18 class’s first time in the Paralympic Games.

The 2.4 is where the real close action is, Paul Tingley CAN is sitting in first place but there are still a number of sailors that are within distance to make for a dogfight especially after a second drop kicks in. Second place is held by John Ruf USA while Heiko Kroger GER is in third. The depth in the top 10 of the 2.4 class is adding to the drama as there are places changing all the time, as they say “it ain’t over till it’s over!”

The Sonar class tightened up today and they got the 9th race in to get a 2nd drop. FRA is still leading, AUS is second and GER is third and there is only a 7 point spread between first and 5th! Ken Kelly, Don Terlson and Marc Shaw CAN had an 8 and 11 today and sit in 11th place overall.

So it is all down to tomorrow for the Canadians , looks like we have 1 medal in the bag and in very good position for the second, right now it is a matter of colour, in the best case scenario we have Silver and Gold! The wind tomorrow is supposed to be a little better which bodes very well for our sailors.

The real race begins following the last finish – the one to get the containers packed!

Brian Todd
Canadian Sailing Team

September 11 - Qingdao

Day 4 Qingdao Paralympics

Light air and long waits were the order of the day in Qingdao. Racing was postponed for several hours on land while the race committee waited for a bit of wind. To their credit they took a chance and sent every one out at around 3:00 pm with the velocity only in the 2-3 range. The wind did come up though to about 6kts at 110 (with some 120’s and some 95’s) and it was looking pretty solid for a while but then started to wane as the races neared the finish leg. It was supposed to be a 3 race day but we were lucky to get one in, so tomorrow is scheduled to be a 3 race day again.

In the results column things are getting very tight - in the 2.4 John Ruf USA has moved up to first place with a tenuous 1 point lead, following closely behind I Paul Yingley CAN, Thierry Schmitter NED and Heiko Kroger GER all have 18 points so it will be a fight to the finish in this class.

The Skud 18 class provided the most exciting racing today with many changes in position and a “nail biter” of a finish in 3-4 kts of air and 6 boats converging on the finish line. In the end, Niki Birrell/Alex Rickham GBR won the race, Nick Scandone/Maureen McKinnon Tucker USA came from 5th at the previous mark to finish second. John McRoberts/Stacie Louttit continued their third place parade of results but they gained a point on the Aussies today.

The Sonar Class also had big changes over the course Ken Kelly, Marc Shaw and Don Terlson CAN went from 13th to 4th on the last leg to the finish, of course that is the one that counts! Winning the Sonar class is FRA with AUS in second and GER in third.

Racing continues tomorrow but the forecast is for light wind again, however if this cloud line can pass by this evening we might just get a better shot at a sea breeze. It did clear up a great deal later this afternoon so I guess we will have to just wait and see.

We’ll keep you posted!

Brian Todd
Canadian Sailing Team

September 9 - Qingdao

Day 2 Qingdao Paralympics

Another long day on the water, three races in 4 to 6kts from the compass bearing of 145 to 175. The 175 was a little earlier on then it settled in the 160 range. There were pressure bands that worked for some but the current in the first 2 races was not as much of a factor as in the last one.

Paul Tingley sailing out of (RNSYS) still tops the leaderboard in the 2.4 class but USA, John Ruf made some gains today with 2 good races, Heiko Kroger from Germany is in third. The racing was again very tight in this class with lead changes and people moving up and down the fleet.

The Skud 18 class leader Is Nick Scandone and Maureen McKinnon Tucker from USA sailing very well and have accumulated only 5 points. Second place is Australia with Dan Fitzgibbons and Rachael Cox have 8 points and Canadians John McRoberts and Stacie Louttit are in third with 10 points, as they say plenty of racing left!

In the Sonar, France is in first place on the day but there are some protests pending. Australia is in second and third place Germany. The Canadian team of Ken Kelly, Don Terlson, Marc Shaw had a 10-11 - 14 and are in 13 place overall, again it is very tight in that fleet and anything could happen with less than half the regatta completed.

Best race of the day went to Louttit and McRoberts, they won the last race convincingly leading from start to finish, they played the current very well and covered every move of the fleet!

Tomorrow is a lay day and it his much deserved and need by the racers and I am sure the committee. The Canadian team will be checking out the area as it is our first day off since we arrived here, who said there was no wind in Qingdao – sometimes not much but enough to sail, race and train for sure. Qingdao is definitely challenging place to sail so the winners here will certainly be well deserved.

Brian Todd
Canadian Sailing Team

September 8 - Qingdao

Day 1 Qingdao Paralympics

Racing today was a mixed bag of wind, the forecasts were for good winds around midday but they were well off the mark as the 2.4 and Skud 18 fleets were sent back in as the wind was not enough to start a race, By 3:00pm the AP went down, so out the fleets went again for 2 races in 6-9kts of wind from 110 in the first race and 120 on the compass in the second race. Over on the Sonar course they did not go in but their races were held up for some time. When the competitors finally did get in it was well past six o’clock and the sun was going down, definitely a long day on the water but excellent racing.

On the 2.4 Meter Course Paul Tingley from (RNSYS) had 2 first place finishes, he felt that the wind was pretty steady in both races and he was happy with his pace. To quote Paul and his coach Craig Guthrie, “ it is just the beginning of a long series but it is nice to get a few good races on the scoreboard”.

This was the first start for the Skud 18 class in the Paralympic Games, with the country coded spinnakers they were exciting to watch downwind. Nick Scandone and Maureen MacKinnon Tucker (USA) led the day with a 1 and 2 but following very closely are Team China them Team Australia. Out Canadian sailors John McRoberts and Stacie Louttit (RVicYC) are a very close 4th (actually tied for third) They sailed two very solid races and had good speed all around the course but got on a few bad shifts in each race.

I did not get out to the Sonar course today but from what I could see the racing was extremely close, when you look at the mark roundings you have Ken Kelly , Don Terlson and Marc Shaw (RVicYC) in top 5 and one mark then 10th at the next, they are in 12th place at the moment.

Tomorrow is one of the long days, with 3 races scheduled and a 12:00 start, it will be a workout for the sailors, coaches and race committee!

Pictures at
#1940 – McRoberts and Louttit passing the Paralympic flame in Qingdao #1944 – Picture as we are hauling last boats in the dark!

Brian Todd
Canadian Sailing Team