49ers and FXs back out on the water
Early in the morning the wind was blowing 15 knots out of the south but by 1600, it was just less than half that and coming from the east. The sun also returned and pushed the temperature back to a more pleasant 20°C. Sail Melbourne certainly has had a mix of weather that the host city is famous for.
First out on Port Phillip were the Olympic 49er (Male) and FX (Female) taking the invited classes of 29er and Viper catamaran with them. In the case of the skiffs, it has been two days of waiting for the conditions to abate and they got four races completed to take the to seven.
Steven Thomas and Rhys Mara continue to capitalise on their early efforts and now hold a four-point lead over Luke Parkinson and Fang Warren with Will Phillips and Nicolas Brownie now in third place, seven points further back. Of their racing today, Phillips said: “It was not our best day and a few things just did not click for us, but happy to claw back a little after not competing in the last race on Monday. What was really good was to see George Davies and Jack Lloyd win the last race today. Well done to the young ones. For us there’s always tomorrow.”
In the new Olympic class, the 49erFX, New Zealand’s Alex Maloney and Molly Meech put a pair of wins and thirds together for their day’s work to lead overall by four points from Australia’s Tessa Parkinson and Kate Lathouras. Silver medallist, Olivia Price is on equal points, but cannot be considered for a medal as she is sailing with James Sly. In third place is the Norwegian pair of Ragna and Maia Agerup, 10 points behind the Australians.
In the lighter airs, the girls were certainly more competitive, especially at the start. Moloney said: “It was good racing as the fleet was closer - more consistent and more fun as a result. It was a good call to send us out early today.” Meech added: “It is really nice to race against others, instead of being on your own. The FX is so much fun and we like it a lot!”
The Men’s RS:X fleet is only small, due to late inclusion, but they are dedicated and keen. Luke Baillie leads Patrick Vos by two points after seven races, with Sam Treharne in third, a further five points back. Equally, the Paralympic Skud 18 fleet is small, with David Staley and Michael Lewenhagen leading by three points from Alan Merry and Robert Schahiger. A further three points behind are Russell Phillips and Justin Millsom.
Later in the afternoon the breeze remained very soft from the East, maybe holding five knots. This was making it hard going and ultimately, the 470s, Finns and Lasers got just the one race in before it was back to the beach, once more.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan had another win to stay clear of Russia’s Vladimir Chaus and Denis Gribanov, who are now clear in second place, one point ahead of South Africa’s Jim Asenathi and Roger Hudson. The Ryan sisters extend their lead to six points from Lucy Shephard and Aurora Paterson, with Elise Rechichi and former rower, Sarah Cook now in third on 22 points.
In the Finn, overnight leader Brendan Casey had his worst result today, fifth, but holds the lead by five points from Oliver Tweddell and then Jake Lilley a further three points behind. Jake also had his worst day so far and scored a sixth place for Race Six.
The Men’s Laser still has Australia’s Matthew Wearn on top having been second today and he holds a two-point buffer over Tom Burton. Moving in to third place is Ryan Palk, with Ashley Brunning now in fifth place. In the women’s Laser, Kyrstal Weir holds a three-point lead from Ahsley Stoddart after her second place today and Singapore’s Elizabeth Yin is third.
Ultimately the challenge for IRO Ross Wilson and his team may well be to find wind at Sail Melbourne tomorrow, Friday. Sandringham Yacht Club’s world-class facilities are here, the sun looks set to be a starter, but the wind may be less than cooperative, after delivering way too much over the last two preceding days.
Ross said of the challenges faced by Race Management: “It was good to see that the 29ers, who are mainly school aged children, enjoy getting out early today. Maybe they felt skipping school is a good thing. We’re behind schedule now and looking at an extra race tomorrow for everyone and get away from their normal start times. The OK Dinghies will get two races from the normal time. Tomorrow is another day and it presents its own challenges.”
OK Dinghies, Optimists and International Cadets also got their first outing today as part of the invited classes at Sail Melbourne, added even more variety to the extensive program. The corporate guests were also enjoying a sail in the sun aboard many vessels, including the historic Couta boats.