Ingrid Abery Photography / www.ingridabery.com

Jockeying for the lead

Today's news from the Etchells World Championship in Sydney

Thursday February 23rd 2012, Author: Tracey Johnstone, Location: Australia

At the end of day four of the Etchells World Championship 2012 the overall leader name may have changed, but the racing is far from complete. The top of the 74-boat scoreboard is very tight after six races and one drop.

Roulette (Jud Smith, Mark Johnson and Nik Burfoot) now holds the lead on 13 points. The Roulette team is a coalition of talented sailors. On the helm is 2006 Etchells World Champion and American sailor, 54-year-old Jud Smith. On the sheets and braces is Australian Mark Johnson and on the foredeck, New Zealander Nik Burfoot. And the team’s coach is former Australian Olympic and America’s Cup coach, Mike Fletcher.

Moving back into second place is Australian team Iron Lotus (Tom King, Ivan Wheen, David Edwards and Owen McMahon) on 15 points. Then in third place are the Australian all-stars aboard Triad (John Bertrand, David Giles and Tom Slingsby) on 26 points. An Australian team also fills fourth place; Magpie (Graeme Taylor, Grant Simmer and Steve Jarvin).

With the next two boats sitting just another two points behind and two more days of racing and three more races, the podium that can filled by one of these teams.

Two races were conducted today, both of them on the Manly Circle. The northeasterly had arrived, the current was minimal, the sea swell had lessened considerably and the breeze eased to about eight knots.

On the first race start the fleet were ready for battle; no holding back as they charged for the start line and into a general recall. PRO Ross Wilson was clearly still of the opinion that one chance of a start was enough so the call went out for the Black Flag to be raised.

Luckily the second start was called all clear as the fleet headed off on a 025°, two nautical mile beat to the top mark.

Current Australian Champion, Fifteen (David Clark, Andrew Smith and Alan Smith), torched the fleet in the first race leading from the start, seemingly in control of every leg.

At the top mark Clark was being chased by Menace (Vince Brun), Iris III (Peter McNeil) and Triad. Down the run the breeze was swinging between 50 and 35°. It finally settled and course change to the top mark was made for 35°. Clark’s crew called the shifts and took distance out of the fleet by the bottom mark. Tom King was next around, then Bertrand, McNeill, Brun and Jud Smith.

But then Clark’s lead was in danger. “We had a failure on our jib halyard as we were coming into the bottom mark for the first time. We went to hoist the jib and the halyard blew off so we had to run with one halyard for half the race which meant when we got to the top mark next time round we did a bare-headed change," he explained. “What was a pretty comfortable lead then became quite tight.”

The breeze kicked over 10 knots and the boats headed back down the course to the finish. Clark battled to hold first, catching a wave and holding off King and then Bertrand by just half a boatlength. Brun was next then Smith and a disappointed McNeill.

The second race was set-up quickly for 030°, 2.2 nautical mile first beat for Course 1 with the boats finishing upwind.

It was another case of general recall for the first start, the Black Flag for the second start and an all clear at the gun.

Are We There Yet? (Mark Richards) started closest to the leeward pin and then tacked to port and weaved his way safetly, luckily, across the fleet to head to the right.

King was seen bearing away and heading back across the line to complete a 720° turn. “We got lee-bowed by Ante (Swedish Blue) then tried to duck his transom. We surged forward on a wave and stuck our nose into the back of his boat, through his transom. There was a little bit of bark off. It didn’t slow him down; it probably sped him up,” King said.

The leaders worked across to the left hand side of the line looking to pick the lifts. Smith was quickly in the lead. His boat speed was good on the left hand side of the course. Clark followed closely then the young team of Gen XY (Matthew Chew), Southern Light (John Savage) and The Croc (Michael Manford). Smith gybed quickly after the turn then Magpie (Graeme Taylor) and Clark and The Hole Way (Cameron Miles) followed.

Smith’s voiced uncertainty about how his team would fare in an easterly breeze was not necessary. They coped well and more: “We were surprised by the breeze. None of the forecasts had it being that strong that early. They had it moving left, which it did, but not that strong.”

As the race progressed the and the crews tired, the fleet separated in the 12 to 14 knots. The last beat to the finish the top boats headed out left, hit the corner and then tacked to work the left shifts to lay the finish line with little effort.

Smith’s Roulette got the gun, then Chew’s GEN XY finished in second.

After a 35th in the first race of the day, this second was a welcome relief for the Gen XY team and for their tactician, Darren Jones. “We went left in both races. The left was good on the second race and bad in the first race," he said. “There was a bit of head scratching after the first race, but quietly he (the tactician) went for the same strategy on the second race and it worked. Then we went left on every other windward and it worked.”

Clark finally moved up in third on the finish. “It was really tricky on the first run. We knew we wanted the left looking up, but there were a lot of boats reaching so made a bit of a call to gybe out which was the wrong thing to do so the Gen XY team got around us. Then at the bottom they won the right hand mark and that was the winning mark. We quite a bit of pace so we relieved to come back and recover to come third."

Racing continues tomorrow with two races scheduled for Manly Circle.

Top 50 results: 

Pos Nat Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Tot
1 AUS * Tom King 2 6 3 2 2 14 29
2 AUS Jud Smith 3 19 1 3 5 1 32
3 AUS Graeme Taylor 4 1 12 10 7 10 44
4 AUS John Bertrand 5 21 4 6 3 8 47
5 AUS Peter McNeill 11 rdg 9 10 14 6 13 63
6 AUS Cameron Miles 12 8 2 7 rdg 33 7 69
7 AUS David Clark 27 20 15 8 1 3 74
8 NZL Alastair Gair 6 30 5 12 12 11 76
9 USA Vincent Brun 7 2 6 46 4 15 80
10 AUS Noel Drennan 30 10 9 1 10 21 81
11 AUS Matthew Chew 21 11 18 4 35 2 91
12 AUS Michael Manford 15 4 27 7 45 6 104
13 AUS * Murray Gordon 1 15 13 16 40 24 109
14 AUS Brett Ellis 20 12 14 22 15 40 123
15 AUS * Rupert Henry 36 18 7 32 23 25 141
16 AUS * Mark Langford 22 13 75 dsq 5 25 4 144
17 AUS Peter Merrington 34 3 23 51 13 22 146
18 AUS John Savage 44 33 8 9 51 5 150
19 AUS Mark Tonner-Joyce 29 5 75 dsq 15 9 17 150
20 AUS * Dirk Van Der Struyf 47 27 21 13 18 26 152
21 AUS * Mark Bulka 31 43 17 23 22 19 155
22 HKG Mark Thornburrow 13 23 75 bfd 17 16 18 162
23 AUS Chris Hampton 11 58 29 21 19 30 168
24 AUS Douglas McGain 8 22 11 54 39 35 169
25 AUS Vaughan Prentice 10 34 48 30 27 20 169
26 SIN * Jervis Tilly 32 16 60 44 8 12 172
27 HKG Ante Razmilovic 16 29 37 53 20 23 178
28 AUS Steve OÕRourke 56 37 28 19 11 29 180
29 AUS Tom Braidwood 19 28 56 11 30 38 182
30 AUS Mark Richards 23 7 35 50 31 37 183
31 AUS * Ross Lloyd 38 25 26 26 37 32 184
32 USA * Scott Kaufman 39 rdg 32 40 43 17 34 205
33 AUS * Richard Hammond 14 60 59 38 28 9 208
34 AUS David Rose 39 26 46 20 49 33 213
35 BER Tim Patton 41 44 33 34 14 56 222
36 AUS Chris Rabbidge 26 35 36 52 24 49 222
37 AUS Brendon Jukes 52 17 31 28 53 48 229
38 AUS Grantham Kitto 18 75 dnf 22 31 41 42 229
39 AUS * Damien King 42 31 75 dsq 24 47 16 235
40 AUS * Jamie Woods 61 24 16 75 dsq 26 36 238
41 AUS * Matt Whitnall 46 45 20 48 44 47 250
42 BER Mark Watson 24 66 38 64 21 41 254
43 GBR Robert Elliott 25 61 24 41 60 43 254
44 GBR James Howells 9 75 ocs 50 39 56 27 256
45 AUS Shane Deussen 17 52 62 33 38 55 257
46 AUS * Gordon Hinds 45 41 42 35 46 53 262
47 GBR David Franks 50 36 32 40 42 67 267
48 AUS Ed McCarthy 60 57 34 37 32 51 271
49 AUS Robert Weir 51 42 30 29 68 52 272
50 SUI James McHugh 62 14 75 bfd 18 43 61 273
 

 

 

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