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Fitzgibbon and Tesch clean up at Macquarie 2012 Access World Championships
Australian sailors Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch have dominated the Macquarie 2012 Access World Championships, hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club on Sydney Harbour, winning all 10 races in the Skud 18 class.
Although second placed Ame Barnbrook/Lindsay Mason (AUS) and third placed Tim Dempsey/Jan Apel (NZL) threw everything they could at Fitzgibbon/Tesch, it was to no avail.
Tesch, a high school teacher on the NSW Central Coast, said, “Ame and Lindsay have helped make us better sailors and get us to where we’re going.”
Barnbrook and Mason came into the final day of the regatta in third place overall, but got closer to their New Zealand competitors yesterday after scoring a pair of second places.
Today, Barnbrook, who is renowned for her starting skills, steered the pair to a further pair of second places to overtake the Kiwis, who are also likely to represent at the London Paralympics.
“We were so close to beating them (Dan and Liesl) at times. One day…. If anyone has a hope of winning for Australia at the Paralympics it’s them,” Barnbrook graciously said.
Of the variable conditions this week, Barnbrook, from Narooma on the NSW south coast, said: “We thrive in 5-15 knots, so it was perfect conditions for us yesterday and today.
“The event has been run really well and the volunteers have been amazing,” she added.
Dempsey and Apel finished third overall. “We know Dan and Liesl are good; we tried to beat them here, believe me,” Apel stated ahead of being announced into the New Zealand team for London.
The Malaysian crew of Al Mustakim Martine and Nurul Amliln Balwi (MAL), also looking to represent at the London Paralympics finished fourth. The skipper said it was important for them to be here and experience the variable conditions. In their own country, they are used to very light breeze.
In the Access 303 two-person class, able-bodied sailors Patricia Ennis and Michael Leydon, a former Paralympic Games coach, were in the enviable position of being unbeatable yesterday and a further second and a win consolidated their new status as world champions.
Defending champions, Zoltan Pegan and his wife Eva MIrcsev (HUN) finished second overall. The harsh conditions of Tuesday were too much for them and many others, and they failed to finish Race 4, which pretty much sealed their fate.
Pegan was also nursing a nasty virus, but with physio from local volunteer, Kate Hogan, Pegan was feeling a little better yesterday and back capitalising on the lighter breezes he and Mircsev excel in.
Today was the same, Pegan and Mircsev revelled in light and shifty breezes, but did not have enough in the tank to overcome the winners.
“I’ve always liked the light conditions, - it’s when I’m at my best,” the former military pilot and expatriate Aussie acknowledged.
The Hungarians, who started the Championship with two victories, also notched up another three, in Races 7, 8 and 9, and finished off the regatta with a second, to leap-frog from third overall to second.
“This was a typical Easter weather regatta and today was such a beautiful day,” he said wistfully.
Mark Thorpe and Bruce James (AUS), who were sitting in second place until today, were pushed back to third overall.
Fujio Unuki and Naoki Maruyama (JPN) were the best placed internationals in fifth overall in this hot fleet.
For full results, photos and more, go to the official website: