XVI th International Canoe World Championships in Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy 5-12 august 2005.

The World Championships in International 10 sqm Canoe were recently completed on the premises for the future Olympic Games for sailing 2012. Concurrently the unofficial World Championships for the asymmetric class with 23 sqm genacker took place.

Three competitors from Sweden – Kalle Jonasson, Ola Barthelsson and Max Tollqvist were among the 30 participants in the IC class. In the AC class Anders Pettersson participated, competing for the US .

Four days before the World Championships the Swedish sailors arrived to Weymouth-Portland National Sailing Academy with a fully loaded trailer. The time before the races was spent learning to master the local currents and training in hard winds on the race area. Ola took the opportunity to change the mast curve on his sail at the local sailmaker in Weymouth . Those days were much needed as they allowed us to focus on the sailing in peace. On some occasions, however, we felt the lack of a team leader who could have supported us with practical things, interpreted information for us and given us feedback after the sailings.

The inauguration on Saturday 5 August was formal with the hoisting of the flag and the ICF song in the best of opera stiles, as well as a few well chosen words from the Mayor of Weymouth-Portland.

The races began on Sunday with a practice race in weak winds where Ola and Max placed in 3rd and  4th, respectively, and Kalle somewhere in the twenties.

The first real race was started in the afternoon in a week sea breeze. Mark Goodchild from the UK locked his first win, with best Swede Ola in 4th place. Max and Kalle finished in 10th and 20th place, respectively.

Race number 2 the following day, also in week winds, again saw Mark Goodchild at the top while none of the Swedes placed near the top. Race number 3 immediately thereafter saw the arrival of the sea breeze and the competitors hade a full hang on the slide. Kalle chocked the others by taking a 4th position after the first tack leg but ended up in 12th place - Kalle was however very pleased and flashed a big grin on his arrival in the marina. Max and Ola finished 5th and 8th, respectively.

On Tuesday the race course was in the marina itself, inside the gigantic breakwater. Light winds in the morning gave no top places and best Swede Ola finished in 13th place. Just before the next start the sea breeze came in, reaching 5 m/s. Ola had a false start without restarting and received an OCS in the protocol. Max in 6 th and Kalle in 20 th place.

The next day the race course was at sea outside the breakwater. The winds were again very light and on top of that twisting for a total of 720 degrees – a nightmare for the organisers. Ola had a decent start and had good winds on the port side. He were among the first at the rounding point and overtook his competitors on the free wind leg.  A shortening of the course was signalled and Ola who successfully had maneuvered the many wind shifts locked in a first place. Not bad for a hard wind fella. Kalle, who at this point had come down with an annoying cold, finished in 15th place while Max dropped to 21st place. Another go was attempted but the race was called off after another 180 degree wind shift. Extremely well sailing Mark Goodchild had at this point accumulated four wins, a 3rd and a 4th place. The closest threat to him was his countryman John Ellis.

Thursday with three races on the programme began with winds around 3-4 m/s. The course this day was inside the breakwater. Ola in 4th place, Max in 8th and Kalle in 20th.

For the next race, a good sea breeze arrived and we almost had our hard wind race – finally. Decent starts and finishes, with Ola, Max and Kalle in 6th, 7th and 24th place, respectively.

The last race, immediately following, saw further increasing wind speeds and now we were hanging by our toes. As in earlier races this day it was to our advantage to steer close to land on the right side, but one also had to look out for the current. The Swedish sailors Max, Ola and Kalle in the places 4, 5 and 16.

Mark Goodchild (in the middle), new World Champion! Silver medallist John Ellis (on the left) and bronze medallist Simon Allen (on the right)

Reported by Max, Ola and Kalle!

Pictures of the new World Champion: