The Doctor doesn't call

Lighter conditions for 505 Worlds reports class chairman Ali Meller

Monday December 9th 2002, Author: Ali Meller, Location: Australasia
Another warm sunny day in Fremantle. It blew overnight, and the morning offshore breeze was very well established and quite strong. The Fremantle Doctor never did fill in and both of today's races were sailed in a shifty, puffy easterly. The wind range was probably something like 6 or 7 knots to 20 knots, and the shifts were probably 30 degrees. With the offshore breeze, the waves/chop were not as large as yesterday, though the race course was a considerable distance downwind of the shore, so we still had a noticeable chop. It was another fabulous day to be racing 505s.

Race 2:
C’mon Hughie
The left looked good early, but it all depended on who was in the puff and sailing the lifted tack, so a number of teams had their moments up the first beat. There were LOTS of place changes up the first beat, and then down the run; it was very easy to lose a bunch of boats as they went down the run wire running in a puff while you sat in a hole calling for "Hughie" (apparently Australians encourage a puff by yelling C'mon Hughie!"). There were more place changes down the beat, and even the reaches were a good opportunity to pass or be passed, as some teams would go high looking for a puff and then come screaming down in one.

At the finish it was Ian Barker/Dan Cripps 1st, Simon Payne/Bill Masterman 2nd, Howard Hamlin/Mike Martin 3rd, Krister Bergstrom/Thomas Moss 4th and probably Danny Thompson/Andy Zinn 5th. Second through fourth were within five meters at the downwind finish.

Race 3:
Today was a scheduled two race day, so after the stragglers had finished, we had another go. The first gate start attempt ended quickly when the pathfinder tacked to avoid several teams trying to gate early (the offenders may have gotten away with it as the race officer in the gate launch tried to inform the RC who the offenders were, but apparently there was so much background noise over the radio that he was not heard). The start was recalled, which happens quite rarely in gate starts.

The next attempt also had some issues as the pathfinder had to take evasive action (the offending team was DSQ'd) and may be filing for redress. Pip and I had already gated and did not see the incident, but it seems to me that if the pathfinder feels they deserve redress, anyone who gated after the incident might choose to see. There are people rapidly filling out forms as I write this report. We'll have to see what the jury decides on these.

Once again it was a shifty, puffy race, with place changes all around the course. The difference in speed between a 505 wire running in a puff and a 505 forced to go low in a lull is substantial; finding and staying in the puffs makes for HUGE gains.

Ian Barker/Dan Cripps gated early, punched out on the boats near them and then tacked to cross. Since Pip and I were below them in the gate and kept going for awhile, we were able to seem them cross at least the first 10 or 20 starboard tackers who had gated after them. We had a good start and worked the left, but even though it was shifting back and forth, the trend was going right, so we were looking terrible.

1992 and 1993 505 World Champions Chris and Darren Nicholson led at the windward mark. We ended up nearly on the port tack lay line early, and then in a "Hail Mary" back and puff we pulled through to round 6th and then noticed that we were ahead of Barker/Cripps, Hamlin/Martin and number of the favored teams. Thompson/Zinn apparently caught Nicholsons at one point, but Nicholsons (AUS) led for most of the race and were in the lead when it counted, at the downwind finish. Barker/Cripps (GBR) pulled through from a first mark rounding in the teens to finish second (apparently Barker/Cripps were forced to capsize the boat at one point during the race to fix something and still manged to pull through to second!).

Andy Beeckman/Ben Benjamin (USA-Team Tuesday) were third, Thompson/Zinn (USA-Team Tuesday) were 4th, Hugh Stodart/Peter Holden (AUS) were 5th, Malcolm Higgins/Andrew Chisholm (AUS) 6th and Bergstrom/Moss (SWE) 7th. After fighting a battle for much of the race with 505 Class Vice President Tom Bojland -- racing with Philip Christran -- we lost them on the third beat. Though we were quite close at the last windward mark, they finished 12th, Peter Chappell/Ian Davidson crossed 13th, and Pip and I were 14th, about one boat length behind Chappell, our best finish so far.

It was a long day. It is now almost dark and we are about to have the daily prize presentations. I need a quick shower and a shirt! No time for a swim today.

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