The steak houses of Hong Kong were doing a brisk trade last night with Etchells sailors feeding up after yesterday’s post-race re-weigh and energy levels were clearly high as the fleet took to the water early this morning to check the breeze and recce the right and left of the likely course and check in with the Signal boat.
With everyone present and correct, PRO Kevin Wilson wasted no time in dropping anchor and setting a 1.8nm course at 065° with a 0.32nm start line. With 8 to 12kts the fleet succeeded in starting cleanly and split evenly up the course on the first beat.
Marvin Beckmann sailed The Martian round the first windward mark at the head of the fleet and maintained his position through to the downwind gates, with Swedish Blue and and Phan on his tail, but with some big shifts at the windward end of the track, which necessitated the deployment of the change marks, the second beat belonged to Aretas who then led the fleet into the finish ahead of The Martian andSwedish Blue.
With a short break to allow the tail enders to re-organise themselves, Wilson once again sent the fleet off on two laps of a 1.8nm course, this time at 075°. An individual recall was signaled for Michael Haehnel’sFuzzy Duck and Jeanne-Claude Strong’s Yandoo XX, with the fleet splitting right and left as before on the first beat.
At the windward mark, Scimitar was leading Gen XY and Aretas around the mark, with Aretas pulling up to second by the leeward gate, with Kiwi entry The Horn holding third position. On the second beat, the left paid big dividends, even as the breeze shifted right, with Magpie pulling up to 5th around the mark behindAretas, Scimitar, The Horn and No Dramas.
Surfing into the finish, Aretas took their second gun of the day, 33 seconds ahead of Scimitar with The Horn in third place. Helm, Skip Dieball, was delighted with Aretas’ performance, saying “it’s a day that we always dream of … yesterday we weren’t connecting so we almost took a step back and said ‘let’s have a fun day and see what comes our way’. We didn’t have great starts, but we implemented our game plan which was to play the right side of the course a little bit harder … we didn’t go very far to the right, but we made huge gains – it was pretty cool! It’s so nice when it all comes together, when you got your homework and you do all the stuff you need to do.”
After “an up and down day” Steve Hunt from The Martian noted that “there’s great depth in the fleet – if you ever get a single digit finish you’re happy.”
Going forward, Wilson’s intentions are to run one long race on each of the remaining days of the Etchells World Championships and with six boats in the running for third place, 10 points behind Scimitar and nearly 20 behind Arteas after one discard, those two remaining races leave it all to play for.