by Clare Murray
Australian 29er National Championships third day of racing at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and the overall standings remain tight with just three points separating second and sixth places. Felix Grech and Jack Hubbard have maintained their lead over second place by four points.
Series leaders Felix Grech and Jack Hubbard - Australian 29er National Championships 2012
Grech and Hubbard sailed their discard today placing 16th in the first of two races followed by a second. 'We didn’t have a great start to the day,' Grech said. 'We were leading around the top mark then we capsized downwind. We jibed and I lost my crew!'
'I missed my trap wire and was in the water,' Hubbard admits.
Racing between Grech and Hubbard on Charlie the Pelican and Tom Siganto and Joel Turner on Seriously Guided was stiffly competitive. After trailing Grech and Hubbard for most of the second race the two boats chose different sides of the course on the last work. Siganto and Turner came out a boat length in front of their competitors and managed to hold their lead, winning the race.
Tom Siganto and Joel Turner - Australian 29er National Championships 2012
Siganto and Turner are now sitting in fourth place but are feeling confident about the rest of the series. 'Hopefully there will be a bit more breeze, that’s our strong suit,' Turner said.
Harry Price and Nathan Edwards kept hold of their second place overall placing eighth and first today in the blue fleet. They are followed by local boat Unwanted sailed by Josh Franklin and Alex Gough in third place. Today Franklin and Gough made the jump from 19th overall after discarding a black flag result from the first day.
After tomorrow’s lay day the fleet will be split for the finals. 'Gold fleet’s like the start of another regatta I guess. You just have to look at it that way. It will be a lot harder racing,' Gough said. The boys from Unwanted may not be able to finish the series pending a flight change to New Zealand for another regatta.
Leading female skipper Jacqui Gurr and her crew Steven Thomas were involved in a collision with another boat and will be seeking redress at a protest to be held Monday morning.
'At the last minute we saw them and neither boat could avoid enough so we ended up colliding and we capsized. Jacqui hurt her leg somewhere in the process. It wasn’t ideal but we got the boat up,' Thomas said. Gurr and Thomas ended the race in 11th and are currently placed fifth overall.
After easterly 14 to 18 knots for most of the afternoon, a planned third race wasn’t sailed when a short period of 20 to 25 knots blew through Waterloo Bay and caused a bit of damage to some of the boats.
To view the race results click here.
The breeze increased late afternoon at the 29er Nationals - Australian 29er National Championships 2012