Adelaide, Australia – As the 2024 ILCA Masters Worlds gets closer to completion, it was a chance to take a closer look at some of the more senior members of the fleet, specifically the ILCA 6 Legends division, made up of sailors more than 75 years old.
There are 20 Legends in Adelaide competing this week, 19 of them battling it out in the ILCA 6 division – and a sole ILCA 7 sailor bravely competing alongside the Great Grand Masters (65-74 years old) on the other course.
The two oldest Legends here are both 86 years old and will turn 87 later this year, just a month on either side of each other. While sailing may not be a sport for everyone, it is undoubtedly a sport for anyone.
ILCA class veteran and multiple ILCA Masters world champion Peter Seidenberg made the trip to Adelaide from Newport, Rhode Island in the United States and said he had been to the last 40 ILCA Masters Worlds.
“I got my first (ILCA) in 1973, so that is now 51 years since I’ve sailed (ILCAs) pretty well exclusively. I just love the boat, it’s a truly one-design boat. We’re sailing man against man, not boat against boat,” he said.
“I just love the Masters World Championships! It has taken me around the world, to different places that I would probably have never gone to before. I love sailing, and I love the camaraderie, I like to meet people again, over and over again, so it’s a great sport.”
Australian Peter Craig, also 86 years old, took some time off from sailing but has returned the last few years and thought a Masters Worlds in his home country was a great opportunity to get back into some high-level racing.
“I hadn’t sailed for 30 years and decided to take it up again. I live in Brisbane and I sail in the river, which is really flat water and not conducive to what we’re seeing here in Adelaide, but we’re up to the challenge,” he said.
Paying tribute to his opponent, Craig said Seidenberg was probably one of the “best Masters sailors ever.”
“I think he’s won 13 Worlds and got a second in the first race – I know my capabilities, I’m here for the good fellas to have somebody to beat. So I’m where I should be and enjoying it,” he said.
After eight races, American William Symes is leading the way in the ILCA 6 Legends fleet with a near-perfect scorecard of six race wins. He was bested by Australian Tim Alexander, who took both race wins today and sits second overall.
In the Great Grand Master fleets, Australian Steve Gunther has been dominating in the ILCA 7s with six wins from eight races, while in the ILCA 6s Australian James Mitchell has edged out a four-point lead to Great Britain’s Terry Scutcher after a good day today.
In the Grand Masters, Brett Beyer (AUS) continued his strong lead with two more wins today to sit clear in the top spot of the ILCA 7s, while Mark Tonner-Joyce (AUS) maintains a comfortable seven-point lead in the ILCA 6s.
In the Masters fleets, Brendan Casey (AUS) has created a fairly safe five-point buffer over Christoph Bottoni (AUS), while Simon Small (AUS) has increased his lead over Jon Emmett (GBR) in the ILCA 6s after a strong day today.
Lastly, in the Apprentice fleets, New Zealand’s Luke Deegan has a very good lead in the ILCA 7s. Meanwhile, Argentina’s Franco Riquelme Antonetti put two more wins on the board in the ILCA 6s to move two points clear of Adil Khalid from the United Arab Emirates.
Tomorrow looks like more champagne sea breezes off the coast of the Adelaide Sailing Club as we head into the final two days of sailing.
Text by: Harry Fisher, Down Under Sail / Edited by ILCA
Photos by: Jack Fletcher, Down Under Sail