by Bob Griffits
A Class Nationals - Glenn Ashby is relentlessly tightening his grip on yet another major A Class event. After six races, Glenn has a solid overall lead, having won five of the six races, whilst capsizing when leading in other remaining race. A formidable record.
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Today he added another two bullets .
Analysis shows that whilst he may not always be first to the top mark, he has the ability to make his way to the front somewhere during the course of a race, with the skills to assume the lead either on a downwind or an upwind leg. His boat-handling skills are a joy to watch both in grace and efficiency, sail trim is superb, he has obvious ability to steer the boat.
Sailing conditions today were again ideal, with the weather gods one again smiling on the fleet, and providing winds in range of 10 to 14 knots.
The first race of the day was underway in the shadow of another black flag , in a 10 knot breeze from the east, a little lighter than conditions experienced on the first 2 days. Dean Barker once again put on a command performance on the first windward leg to round the top mark in first place. The downwind whizz Steve Brewin assumed the lead on the first downwind leg, but Ashby exploited a shift on the second upwind leg to pass both, to assume the lead.
By the time of the last downwind mark rounding, Ashby and Brewin were together. However, on the next windward leg,Ashby worked out to establish a 100 metre lead at the rounding of the last upwind mark.Downwind Brewin was faster, closing to within 4 boat lengths of Ashby by the finish. third place went to Australia's 2008 Tornado Olympic silver medalist Darren Bundock, fourth to Team New Zealand's Dean Barker, fifth to British Olympian Will Howden, and sixth place to Australia's Olympic bronze medallist, Scott Anderson.
By the time of the start of the second race, the wind had strengthened to 13 to 14 knots, and had shifted to the northeast. The Queensland sea breeze had made its way across the sand hills and had arrived on the lake. Steve Brewin who is currently in second place overall in this regatta , with a score card that includes four second places, did not enjoy good boatsspeed upwind due to a broken cunningham eye system, and rounded the first winward mark somewhere in the mid 20's.
The upwind ace this race was Andrew Landenberger, rounding the windward mark ahead of Dean Barker, Ashby then Scott Anderson. By the first leeward mark it was Barker leading Landenberg, ahead of Ashby.
Positions amongst the leading boths went through a number of changes of permutations during the remainder of the race, but the seemingly inevitable happened with Ashby once again assuming the lead.
The other performance of this race of note was that of Scott Anderson. Scott sailed very well upwind in the race, and moved into third place up the last windward leg. Scott's performance in this race and over the regatta has been remarkable,He has been sailing one of the older boats with straight rather than curved centreboards.
He has always rounded the first winward mark somewhere in the top ten, but he has been unable to hold onto the most recent designed boats fitted with the curved centreboards. The curved centrboards are clearly faster downwind in the conditions experienced so far in this regatta.
The final positions for this race were Ashby first, Landenberger second, Anderson third, Barker fourth, Bundock fifth, with Brewin largely overcoming his upwind speed difficulties with excellent downwind speed.
Three races remain in this regatta. Ashby is looking solid for first place, and I think that we can pencil in Brewin.
Tomorrows forecast is for moderate winds, the return of the rain, and thunderstorms late in the day.
click here for the 2011 A Division Catamaran National Title Results