British and Canadian teams booked their spot in the RS Venture Connect winner-takes-all final on Saturday (September 22) as the Para World Sailing Championships continued in Sheboygan in Wisconsin.
The qualification stage in the RS Venture Connect saw Alexandra Rickham and Hannah Stodel of Britain and John McRoberts and Scott Lutes of Canada finish top of their groups.
The 2.4 Norlin OD, men’s Hansa 303 and women’s Hansa 303 competition, meanwhile, continued in a 6-11 knot north easterly on Lake Michigan.
Rickham and Stodel won nine of 12 races to finish 13 points clear of fellow Britons Will Street and Jonathan Currell in Group A.
In Group B, the Canadians won all six races, finishing 11 points ahead of Gian Bachisio Pira and Gianluca Raggi of Italy.
Victories in their respective groups means that both the British and Canadians advance to the final.
The remaining six teams will sail a knock-out stage, with the winner going to the final before the final five are due to go again on Friday (September 21).
"We had good communication on the boat today, that’s what we were looking for," said Lutes.
"We’ve accomplished all of our goals and the results are showing that, so we’re very happy."
Lake Michigan has provided a stern tactical test for the competitors with plenty of waves and a moderate breeze.
The RS Venture Connect is making its debut at the Para World Sailing Championships and the eight teams are assigned different boats each evening.
As it is a relatively new boat, the teams have had limited time sailing it but after two days and 12 races, the standard is increasing,
"It was super light wind when we got here but the last couple of days it’s been a bit more and these boats behave completely different in an extra two knots," said Lutes.
"It was shocking how much of a difference an extra two knots makes but we got to work, figured it out and found out more about the boat and its performance.
"They’re all new boats for everyone and we’re all getting better every day.”
While racing continues for six of the eight remaining teams, the British and Canadian leading crews can enjoy two days of rest ahead of Saturday.
The women’s Hansa 303 fleet had only managed one previous race, having had to wait for the conclusion of the men’s event, and Olda Gornas-Grudzien of Poland took the victory in a dying evening breeze.
The next day saw six races being completed by the nine-boat fleet.
Gornas-Grudzien took four more wins and has a healthy lead on 11 points over Marina Perterer of Austria, second with 20 after winning the emaining two races on the day, and Violeta del Reino of Spain, who has 22 points..
Consistency was hard to come by for most in the 2.4 Norlin OD but Matt Bugg of Australia was in outstanding form, winning two races and taking a second to move into the overall lead.
Damien Seguin of France is a point off the Australian and Dee Smith of the United States is third.