Gillard and Brearey back in front
After a night of thunderstorms the skies cleared and it was another warm day on the waters of Comet Bay in Mandurah for day three of the International Fireball World Championship. Two more races were completed in very shifty 10–15 knot ESE offshore breezes. However when the wind gets into this easterly sector the West Australian locals advise there will be big shifts! This was definitely the case resulting in some very tactical racing.
With six races completed, competitors are able to discard their worst score, resulting in two leaders making a breakaway going into the business end of the championship. The British pair, Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey drop a sixth to lead on 10 points, two in front of Australians Robin Inns and Joel Coultas. There are then three boats chasing on 24 points.
Race 5 of the championship begun in a gentle 10–12 knots but the majority of the 63 boat fleet were over eager crowding the pin end and forcing a general recall. The following restart was far more civilised with the British pair Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey sailing North Meets South (probably named as Tom sails from Sheffield Vikings and Sam from Fishers Green in the UK.), surging away at the committee boat end. Several big shifts later and it was a Brit pack rounding the windward mark first time around. Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend from Gillard/Brearey and yesterdays race winners, Martyn Lewis and Richard Byne.
The now familiar ‘whisky’ course involving a ‘triangle/sausage/triangle’ provided some difficult reaches for the fleet. The wind was in between ‘crouching trapezing’ and ‘full trapezing’ and the bullets blowing across the course area created a ‘snakes and ladders’ situation. The outstanding performer of the day, Martin Korbovy and Pavel Winkler from the Czech Republic read the shifts as good as any top crew starting the second lap with a few boat lengths lead.
By the downwind leg on the sausage however, the young British crew of Gillard/Brearey were back in front. Howarth and Townend got caught by a big gust, capsizing on the gybe allowing Lewis/Byne and the Czechs to squeeze in at the bottom mark. Also making a move up the fleet was the other member of the British contingent, Dave Wade and Tim Saxton of the Zhik/PB Race Team.
Gillard and Brearey sped away opening up a sizeable lead whilst Howarth and Townend made up the lost ground to challenge Korbovy and Winkler for second place. The final reach was a bit of a luffing match but once the former world champions had gassed the Czechs there was no way back.
The breeze dropped off a little to the low teens, (in knots) but the shifts continued to play a part. There were also some awkward bullets of breeze causing the odd capsize. Race six was also started under a black flag after one mass general recall.
The second start was very conservative but a big knock down at the committee boat end forced a number of the fleet to tack off to the unfavoured side of the course.
Around the top mark it was the Czechs again, Korbovy and Winkler showing their pace. Wade and Saxton (GBR) and a gaggle of the Australian armada followed. Two large packs ganged up on the wing mark resulting in a lot of shouting and bumper car action. Lewis and Byne got a march on current regatta leaders Robin Inns and Joel Coultas (AUS) sailing ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ and the Czechs.
On the final leg of the triangle and the short hitch to the finish line, Inns and Coultas (AUS) sailed through to take the gun ahead of the charging Brits Gillard and Brearey who made several places on the final round. Third was Pavel and Winkler and fourth, a slightly disappointed Lewis and Byne sailing Mutleys Revenge.
One competitor punching above his weight today was the Canadian team of Joe Jospe and Tom Egli scoring two 12s in difficult conditions. Joe and Tom were awarded the handicap prize win for race five and Peter Allison and Ian Nadebaum from South Australia the handicap win for race six.
The now familiar routine of free beer when you sign off coming ashore, was followed by a dinner and presentation by hosts of the 2013 Fireball Worlds, Slovenia.
Tomorrow (Thursday) is a layday before racing resumes with races 7 and 8 on Friday.
Full results here