August 31 – September 6, 2014: Issue 178

 Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch Win IFDS World Championships 2014

Liesl and Dan at Halifax - image courtesy Australian Sailing Team, 2014. 

 Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch Win IFDS World Championships 2014

London 2012 Paralympic Gold medallists Daniel Fitzgibbon (NSW) and Liesl Tesch won the 2014 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on Sunday 24th of August (Monday morning; 25th our time).  The Australian Sonar Team of Paralympians Russell Boaden (WA), Jonathan Harris (NSW) and Colin Harrison (WA) came third, taking home a bronze medal, while London Paralympian Matt Bugg finished fifth.

These results have secured Australia an early qualification of all three Paralympic Boat Classes for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and ensured they topped the Nations Cup Scoring.  The IFDS Worlds 2014 regatta was held at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada August 19-24th, 2014.

This was the start of their Rio 2016 Paralympic campaign for Paralympic Champions Liesl Tesch and Daniel Fitzgibbon.  Winning the SKUD-18 World Champion title for 2014 also meant the first World Championship win for the duo. 

This week we spoke to both Dan and Liesl to congratulate them and find out what’s next for this sailing super-duo:


What was the hardest challenge of racing in Halifax? 

In Halifax, the weather was challenging for everybody because it was very light and fickle. But it was same for everyone. We have never won a World Championship and the Great Britain Team had won 5 in a row. So breaking their stranglehold on the trophy was a great challenge for us.

What training will you be focusing on now?

Now we start training for the world cup events in Melbourne, Miami and Europe. These regattas will be leading up to next year’s World Championships which are being held in Melbourne 2015.

Dan, what's next for 'Another Challenge'?

The Another Challenge program is great because it integrates what I am doing with the paralympic sailing with mainstream sailing in Australia. I love sailing with and against all the other sailors down at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. 

It is also creating a platform that will allow other disabled people to follow my footsteps and come out sailing with us too! Our next big regatta will be the Sydney38 nationals to be held at the RPAYC in February next year.

Sailing Season is about to officially open here - what are you looking forward to on home waters this season?

I love sailing back in my home waters of Pittwater. Even though I do a lot of my training and racing overseas, I love to come back home and go out on beautiful Pittwater. We will be sailing the yacht as much as we can in the RPAYC sailing program.


What was the hardest challenge of racing in Halifax? 

Great Britian were always our tough test competitors - they are full time athletes (I work full time as a high school teacher on the Central Coast and Dan and I only train together on weekends and school hols) - and they are training regularly with Italy, who are improving quickly.

These teams regularly race in all the big regattas in Europe, so they have lots of race practice under their belts too.

The light winds in Halifax were tough - as we are used to training in a good sea-breeze out of RPA on Pittwater and our of Middle Harbour Yacht Club - but reinforced the importance of doing more sailing in light wind in preparation for what could be in Rio.

What training will you be focusing on ?

Light wind training. Time together on the water.

Sailing Season is about to officially open here - what are you looking forward to on home waters this season?

As much time as possible on the SKUD, and any opportunity that arises to go sailing. Perhaps another Sydney to Hobart...?


Final Results for Australian Sailing Team & Squad:

Skud 18

Daniel Fitzgibbon (AST/NSW) / Liesl Tesch (AST/NSW) – 1st

Ame Barnbrook (ASS/NSW) / Brett Pearce (ASS/NSW) – 6th

Non-AST/ASS entry: Peter Beard/Rachael Cox – 12th

World Champions! - Image courtesy Australian Sailing Team.


Matt Bugg (AST/TAS) – 5th

Neil Patterson (ASS/TAS) – 35th 


Russell Boaden (AST/WA), Jon Harris (AST/NSW) and Colin Harrison (AST/WA) – 3rd

Non AST/ASS entry: Jamie Dunross, Robert Cridge, Francis Gaudin - 12th

For further updates on the #RoadToRio follow the Australian Sailing Team on Facebook and on Twitter.

Ame Barnbrook - Image courtesy Australian Sailing Team.

Nations qualifying country places for the Rio 2016 Paralympics:

2.4 mR: Germany, Great Britain, France, Australia, USA, Norway, Canada, Finland

SKUD-16: Australia, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, USA 

Sonar: France, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Greece, Germany, Norway