Another semi-overcast afternoon in Napier for the second day of the Lexus Flying Fifteen World Championship. Just one race held in light Easterly breezes between 5 – 8 knots.
After one general recall the PRO Gerry Martin, started race 3 of the championship under the U flag with all 57 competitors spread across the length of the start line. The first upwind leg was well spread but sailors who got off the line cleanly and into clear air, were keen to get to the middle right of the course, to take advantage of the breeze flicking right in Hawkes Bay.
At the top mark, David Mckee & Mal Hartland (GBR) from Dovestone SC led, closely followed by class stalwart Steve Goacher & Tim Harper from Royal Windermere/Southport SC. Local sailors David Zorn & Graeme Robinson from Napier SC, sailed an excellent first work to round in 3rd. Also in the mix were two boats from Western Australia, Philippa Packer, crewed by former world champion, Dean McAullay from Royal Freshwater Bay YC and championship leader David Yu & Chris Nelson, also from RFBYC.
The lead three broke clear to head down the run back to the gate as the breeze softened even more. Slowly the (three time) former world champion, Steve Goacher soaked down inside McKee & Hartland, to round a boat length in the lead at the gate. Kiwis Zorn & Robinson floated round in third as places changed behind them when the fleet converged under collapsing spinnakers.
The second work became a bit of a soldiers course, although picking the way through the shifts and keeping the boat moving in the light airs required a lot of concentration.
The order was the same at the top mark second time around but on the triangle leg via the wing mark the two lead British boats extended in their own private battle, whilst Zorn & Robinson had to work really hard to hold their third place. Other places in the top ten became much more intense as the breeze dropped below 5 knots. New Zealanders, Murray Gilbert & Jonathan Burgess from Royal Akarana YC in Auckland and the Queenslanders, Ashley Smith & Adam Kingston representing Hong Kong, made good gains.
Rounding the bottom gate, the leaders had an agonising 1nm leg back to the finish line. Goacher & Harper extended for a bit more breathing space, crossing the line to win their first race of the 21st Flying Fifteen Worlds. Mckee & Hartland settled for 2nd but the biggest celebration waited for 3rd place as locals Zorn & Robinson punched the air taking an excellent 3rd.
“We got a good clean fast start and sailed a short distance to clear the guys to weather of us and flicked on to port and hit the right hand side and were sitting pretty nicely,” David Zorn said. “It was really tense on the last lap especially with Murray and Johno, they are fast downwind, they were right on our tail at the bottom mark last time. But we knew where we wanted to go and knew the line we wanted to take and just stuck with it.”
Smith & Kingston (HKG) had a much better day crossing in 4th and Rob Ward & Bruce Yovich (NZL) from Onerahi YC a very respectable 5th. Overall scores after 3 races leaves David Yu & Chris Nelson (AUS) and Matthew Owen & Andrew Reed tied on 13pts with the ever consistent West Australian former world champions, Nick & Janet Jerwood (SoPYC) in 3rd.
Steve Goacher explains his race: “We had not such a bad start and a good clean first beat, we rounded the windward mark in second and managed to pass the leader downwind on the first run. I don’t mind the light conditions, they are enjoyable when you are in the front! I grew up sailing on Lake Windermere and we get a lot of light and fluky sailing conditions there.”
And on sailing in Napier for the first time: “I have been sailing 15’s since 1991 and won three world championships on the trot, 1995, 1997 & 1999 but I have never sailed in Napier. It has been very testing conditions, last week we had quite big seas and not a massive amount of wind.”
Race 4 of the championship is scheduled for a start time of 1300hrs (local time) with a similar forecast of light winds.
Provisional Results (Top 10 of 57 entries, after 3 races)
1 AUS 3859 David Yu / Chris Nelson – 3,1,9 = 13pts
2 AUS 3684 Matthew Owen / Andrew Reed – 2,4,7 = 13pts
3 AUS 3986 Nick Jerwood / Janet Jerwood – 5,2,8 – 15pts
4 GBR 4005 David McKee / Mal Hartland – 7,10,2 = 19pts
5 GBR 3760 Jeremy Davy / Martin Huett – 9,5,10 = 24pts
6 GBR 4021 Steve Goacher / Tim Harper – 19,8,1 = 28pts
7 NZL 3091 Hayden Percy / Scott Pedersen – 1,6,22 = 29pts
8 GBR 4030 Greg Wells / Richard Rigg – 4,14,15 = 33pts
9 NZL 3739 Aaron Goodmanson / Alister Rowlands – 18,3,13 = 34pts
10 NZL 3542 Rob Ward / Bruce Yovich – 11,29,5 = 45pts
For full results and more information visit: www.napiersailingclub.org.nz
The 21st Flying Fifteen World Championship host club is Napier Sailing Club.
by Jonny Fullerton, on behalf of the International Flying Fifteen Class