Chew takes turn at Etchells Worlds

Published on October 25th, 2018

Brisbane, Australia (October 25, 2018) – The milestone of six races was hit today at the 2018 Etchells World Championship, confirming it as an official series for the 94-boat fleet that collected two more races today. And with big scores littered among the top ten, new leader Matt Chew (above) was the exception after posting a 1-3.

Chew won the 2009 Etchells World Championship as part of Jason Muir’s crew then. These days he skippers Gen XY, with Brian Donovan, Ash Deeks, and Ben Vercoe as crew, and today’s performance has them seven points clear on the overall tally from Racer C out of Hong Kong (Mark Thornburrow, Mike Huang, Alexander Conway, and 470 superstar, Will Ryan.

A further 27 points astern is third place, USA 1464, Skanky Gene, which is Jay Cross, Mike Buckly, George Peet, and Eric Shampain. That might sound like a lot, but not after they discard a 22nd once the seventh race is completed.

While there remain three more races, Chew will embrace the limelight for now. “It is my first bullet (race win) in a World Championship, as the best we did in 2009 was a fourth place. We are not really thinking about what might eventuate just yet. There is still the matter of those potential 300 points to keep us very focussed, and we were just all talking about that on the way back in. Maybe tomorrow night we might just dare to imagine.

“We had a good day out there, and our worst result so far is a 17th, which is not too bad and a keeper normally, so we’ll see how that insurance pans out tomorrow. Hopefully we only score three more points, which will make the calculations a bit easier for us. It is really hard out there, so you have to get everything going correctly. You just have to try and avoid being in gas (disturbed air from other boats), which can dent your prospects pretty quickly.

“It is unbelievable on the downwind leg when you see some of the mega-sailors still coming upwind, and a big reminder that it can easily be you. It is our home club and we know the water pretty well, so we’ll see what happens. Three’s the dream…”

Poised to discard an 18th, Thornburrow is not done yet and won’t bet against his secret weapon, 470 Olympic medalist crew Will Ryan. “We’re relying on Will’s knowledge a lot, as he grew up here, and trained a lot out on Moreton Bay. He knows his way around better than any of us, and he’s calling all the shots. We’re feeling pretty good and reasonably confident, and we’re happy with the situation, overall.”

Local knowledge will be handy tomorrow as a change of scenery arrives. It is going to be hot at 35˚C with 15 knots on offer and 25-30 later in the day, plus the chance of a thunderstorm too.

“It will be nice if the extra wind does arrive tomorrow, and it will be good to get another two races completed,” adds Thornburrow. “We are certainly going to be trying to make them all count. It will also be good to finish earlier, so maybe the Black Flag will appear sooner tomorrow.”

Matching Chew today was Lawrie Smith and his team of Richard Parslow, Goncalo Ribeiro, and Pedro Andrade on Alfie (GBR 1434), posting a 3-1 to rise to fourth overall.

“We’ve been going pretty well downwind for most of the week,” notes Smith. “Today seemed to suit our sailing, I think. Just getting the waves right, in terms of angle and we also seemed to be in the best pressure. Being fast downwind is a good thing to have in your armory.”

In talking about the anticipated stronger breezes tomorrow, Smith just said, “We prefer it to be like today. We’re OK in the heavier stuff, it is just that there are people faster than us in those conditions. We did a lot of training in the UK this year, and unusually there were very light or non-existent winds all season. The long, hot summer meant we had three weekends of no sailing.

“We thought when we came here it was going to be big breezes, but it has not been as much as a lot of people probably thought. Certainly getting to know the tides has been a big part of it all. I think we may really only be getting to grips with it now. If we could have done a few more regattas here, then it would have helped.

“Of course, having to do penalty turns is never going to help either, and we did have to do that on one of the earlier days. All in all, it is nice to win a race. Get a bad start and it is hard to get in the top 20, let alone the top 10, so we’ll just have to see. It is a very tough fleet and there are no slow boats. You just have to stay right on it.”

Racing continues tomorrow where it is hoped that two additional races will be completed. In the process, not only will the overall result become clearer, but also that for the other divisions, namely Masters, Grand Masters, Female Helm, Youth and Corinthian, with the latter all having amateur status.

The 9-race World Championship, which provides a discard after race 7, will be held October 22-27.

Event detailsResultsFacebook

Day Four Results (Top 10 of 94; 6 races)

Source: John Curnow

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