Bullets for Ashby and Tuke
To the relief of many, after Wednesday and Thursday’s heavy slog, today's two races were sailed in excellent conditions with flat water and steady breeze.
With light airs predicted for the day, sailors spent the morning changing the set-up of their boats. But once they left the beach, the conditions changed, and by the time they made it to the start line the wind was between eight and 10 knots with puffs a little higher. With about 15 minutes to go, many elected to modify the settings back to somewhere halfway back to where they’d been yesterday.
The first race got away with most of the fleet favouring the pin. Glenn Ashby and Chris Nicholson made a break for the front. Blair Tuke found a hold in the middle of the line following left. By the top mark Andrew Landenberger had pulled into the lead followed closely by Glenn Ashby, Brad Collett and Scott Anderson.
By the race end Glenn Ashby crossed ahead of Andrew Landenberger, with Brad Collett taking third from Blair Tuke, Blair Tuke, who'd worked his way up from tenth at the second bottom mark, and Scott Anderson.
Aussie Chris Cairns (AUS 980) had a tough day when he hit the top mark buoy which settled in between his cat's hulls (see below), jamming up against the forward beam. He got off after walking the hull back off the buoy, finally floating clear and sailing to a clear space where he duly completed his penalty turn.
The breeze was up and down the whole day and for race two the course was shortened after the first bottom mark. It got off in about eight knots. Glenn Ashby led the pack over the line at the pin, but said later that the puff died after he crossed.
At the first bottom mark rounding, he overtook Peter Burling who was coming through slowly from the right side of the course. Ashby gybed and had enough speed to get ahead, leaving Burling rather flat and slow to respond. They were followed by Blair Tuke and Nathan Outteridge, with Ray Davies and Andrew Landenberger rounding together, close behind.
At the second bottom mark rounding, Ashby still led Burling, followed by Tuke about 200m back. Next was Nathan Outteridge with an even a larger gap back to Ray Davies. There was a tough battle all the way up the course and back down to the finish where Tuke got to the layline earlier than Outteridge, who had to do a final gybe just before the line. Tuke took his first win of the competition with Outteridge second followed by Ashby in a rare third place. Peter Burling finished fourth ahead of Ray Davies, Scott Anderson and Steve Brewin.
Overall Ashby (AUS) now leads on 11 points, with a gap back to Blair Tuke (NZL) on 26 from Andrew Landenberger (AUS) on 33. Peter Burling (NZL) sits on 35 and Ray Davies (NZL) on 46.
Ashby said of his rudder failures: “Downwind, when the boats clearing the water, when you’re steering reasonably aggressively to keep the boat in control and flying, basically the hull is not taking any of the side load like it used to, so its all going through the bottom rudder gudgeon. The load has increased probably fifty to seventy percent compared to what there used to be, so we’re finding that we’re busting things that previously have never broken.”
Outteridge commented on second race: "The second race was good. It was a bit lighter so the boat was going nicely, I was hanging on the tail of the first three and just waiting for a bit of puff to get up and basically ahead of Glenn, and then Blair ripped round the outside of us both just at the finish.”