Royal Geelong Yacht Club’s brother and sister Thomas and Sophie Alexander have opened up a narrow lead after two days of racing in the International Cadet World Championship being sailed from the UK’s Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.
After a first race fourth, Thomas (16) and Sophie (13) have scored three straight wins, revelling in the freshening winds on Weymouth Bay.
After four races, they are two points clear of the consistent German crew of Julian Mathwig and Mattias Henning who have notched up three seconds and a third.
These two crews have a 12 point margin to the next crew, from Great Britain, on 21 points, with Australia’s Louis Schofield and Peter Allen (RYCV) fourth overall on 29 points after placings of 8-9-3-9.
Of the Australian team, six are in the top 20 of the fleet of 48 crews from countries around the world, three of the crews represent RGYC, and two are from Sandy Bay Sailing Club in Hobart, the other from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.
After their fourth in race one, Thomas and Sophie Alexander returned to their dominant form of last week where they won four straight races at the British National Championships, missing the first three races.
They stormed away to a big lead that they held to the end of the race, winning from the German crew of Mathwig and Henning, holding them off in the subsequent races on day two.
Day two produced the forecast 25 knots out on the bay, although this moderated to 15-20 knots by race time. The race officer set a course inside the harbour and went straight for the black flag, getting the fleet away to a prompt start to race three of the championship.
With many boats going wide to either the left or right, it was inevitable that a conservative course up the middle would pay, and sure enough the stars of the show so far, AUS9616, emerged from the pack with a clear lead at the windward mark, extending their lead on the spinnaker run.
The second Australian crew, AUS9931, Louis Schofield and Peter Allen, flew down the run to move into second place, ending up third at the finish. With placings of 8-9-3-9, the RYCV crew is fourth overall on 29 points.
Race four saw a fierce battle between the top Australian and German crews, with the Germans slightly in front at the first windward mark. The two boats raced neck and neck down the runs, swapping tacks up the beats with Thomas and Sophie Alexander just getting ahead at the end of the final spinnaker run.
The race officer again went for the black flag in race four and one to suffer was the Tasmanian crew of Silas Hamilton and Ethan Galbraith from Sandy Bay Sailing Club. Their earlier placings had been a 26th and an 18th on day one, but they had started day two well with a sixth. However, the BFD has dropped them to 20th overall on 99 points – but that is before any discards!
In 13th place overall are another RGYC crew, Emily Goodfellow and Ethan Kelly, with placings of 27-20-10-6, 63 points; in 16th place are Jasmin Galbraith and Matilda O’Donoghue from SBSC, on 75 points (32-14-7-22).
In 17th place overall is the third RGYC crew of Olivia Neilson and Gabriel Nolan, with 76 points (18-19-19-25).
From Peter Campbell
Coach of the Australian team is well-known Geelong sail maker and yachtsman Tony Bull, who is a regular columnist in Australian Sailing + Yachting. Tony has provided the following blog prior to the main event:
Looking forward it all means little with the worlds starting in 24 hours, despite how well we are placed, a bad day is only a loose shackle pin, a poor knot, a capsize or a judgement error away. Plus we haven't really tasted the full gamut of conditions yet. We have only sailed in heavy breezes and on the inside course.
All in all very content with the team situation.