Nick Craig extended his lead on the third day of the OK Dinghy Autumn Trophy in Bandol, France after three more races were sailed in 15-25 knots, huge waves and brilliant sunshine.
It was an epic day on the water but also a day of attrition as the fleet numbers diminished after each race in the testing conditions. Less than half the fleet started the final race.
Coming ashore after three tough races, the sailors were exhausted, with many a tall tale of survival, but were revived with the copious free beer on the awesome sandy beach outside the club.
Keeping the boat upright was the order of the day with many capsizes and retirements. Greg Wilcox led most of the first race, only losing out to Laurent Hay on the final downwind. Then Craig dominated the next two races for two more bullets, but was pushed hard by Wilcox and Hay.
Sailing near the front and showing some great improvement was Tim Petetin, the highest place sailor from the club. He moved up to fourth overall after a 5,5,3.
Most of the fleet attended a dinner at the Societe Nautique de Bandol tonight where a delicious homemade bouillabaisse was cooked and served at the clubhouse overlooking the bay.
Even though the fleet is relatively small, the welcome from the club has been fantastic and they are already looking forward to hosting the 2022 edition, slightly later in the calendar, when hopefully more sailors will be able, and feel more comfortable, to travel.
Liquid refreshment after racing has been in ample supply, with the club members genuinely happy to see sailors from across Europe traveling to Bandol, to enjoy sailing in what is a fantastic venue. Sailors from seven nations are taking part, making it is truly international regatta.
Leading the regatta by just four points, Craig still has to finish the job on Saturday to win the inaugural OKDIA Autumn Trophy, which was postponed from 2020. Wilcox is close enough to take advantage of any mistakes, while Hay and Petetin will have some work to do to take the event.
Saturday is the final day of the regatta and the forecast is for a return to more gentle conditions, which will no doubt please those competitors with a long drive north after racing.
Results after 5 races
1 GBR 233 Nick Craig 4
2 NZL 599 Greg Wilcox 8
3 FRA 75 Laurent Hay 15
4 FRA 8 Timothe Petetin 17
5 GBR 1 Andy Dalby 20
6 DEN 1407 Malte Pedersen 24
7 FRA 2814 Floria Faucheux 25
9 FRA 1836 Gilles Berenger 28
9 GBR 4 Simon Cox 29
10 GER 66 Christian Kirchner 55