Harken Derm

Etchells Nationals: A small shift in top placings

Published on November 13th, 2013

(November 13, 2013) – The second day of racing in the Etchells Australian Championship, being hosted by Southport Yacht Club on Queensland’s Gold Coast, saw the top two teams trade places overall in another day of perfect Etchells weather.

Going into the start of the day John Bertrand’s Triad was on equal first with David Clark’s Fifteen. Peter McNeill’s Iris III and Cameron Miles’s The Hole Way were in equal points, fighting for third.

A day of relatively steady breezes, good tactical calls and a poor start by Miles, shook the top three branches of the pointscore tree with Miles falling down and Matthew Chew’s GenXY climbing up.

Race 1 of the day was set up in 10 to 12 knots with the top mark at 030 degrees. PRO Kevin Wilson reported that at the start, like yesterday’s first race, he had only two boats over. “Miles was one and the other was Peter Hollis’s Heaven Can Wait. They both came back and then had to fight their way through the traffic. Cameron got some way into the fleet, but was still a fair way back and wasn’t a happy boy when he went through the finish line,” Wilson said. Miles finished that race in a costly 16th place.

A jovial Bertrand handed this afternoon’s race commentary over to his middle-man, Grant Simmer. “It was a good day. In Race 1 we had a good race with Polly O’Neill. We led most of the race, then he just got inside of us at the last time at the top mark. We were having a bit of a battle with Noel Drennan and so he (McNeill) pipped us at the top mark and led to the finish.”

With the finish being downhill, Simmer said everyone was using the ocean swell, working the waves as best they could, in some cases picking up three or four places on their rivals.

The honours in Race 1 went to McNeill, with Bertrand in second, Clark quietly holding his own to slip into third and Chew in fourth, all within 23 seconds of each other.

Race 2 was away in more pressure, gusting to 16 knots with the swell and white caps challenging the 30-boat fleet. This time Bertrand wasn’t going to let anyone in on his lane as he led the fleet around the track to finish some 25 seconds ahead of young Chew with Clark again holding onto a third place.

“We just got ahead of Matthew Chew on the first beat and we were able to extend quietly as the race went on. Tactically it was a bit of an easier race for us. David Clark was also going well in both races.

“It’s good racing. There is a group of about eight or 10 boats that could easily win any of the races so is really close racing,” Simmer said.

Chew finished the day with second and a fourth moving him up to equal fourth with Noel Drennan. “We had a great day, playing the game with the top boats. It was very close racing on a short course.

”We have got better every race so far. We have had better starts. The first race we were over and the second race we had a bad start and then we had two good starts today. Our boat speed has been good in all races, but it is really our starting that has improved the most.

“Tomorrow, if we keep our current trend, hopefully we will win a race,” Chew said.

Simmer expects the conditions tomorrow to be a bit lighter than today. “Today was just perfect sailing, between 14 and 18 knots. There was only small wind shifts. Tomorrow we expect it to be between eight and 12 knots.”

Day three of the National Championship starts tomorrow at about 1100 hours.

For full results, go http://www.southportyachtclub.com.au/page122.html

For more event information, go http://www.southportyachtclub.com.au/page115.html

Tracey Johnstone reporting

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