by Clare Murray
Australian Laser National Championship 2012 day five, in Manly, was held in tricky conditions which lead to exciting racing.
Laser Radials - Australian Laser National Championship 2012
The top three places in the Laser Standard are heating up after a shifty and unpredictable day on the water at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. The wind from the south east was eight to 12 knots shifting through 40 degrees.
Ashley Brunning is making a comeback after a few disastrous races earlier in the series with two race wins today. 'Patience was really important today,' Brunning said of the conditions. 'I think I just found a little bit of mojo. Sometimes you find a little bit of it and you get a good feel for the equipment and what’s around. When I found it I was as good in terms of speed as Tom Burton and we had some pretty tight races. I got back to that really good confident feeling I had on day one.'
Tom Burton sailed one of his drops today with a seventh and second which was enough to keep him in first place overall for now. 'With the second drop coming in tomorrow I think Ash has got another big one to discard. When he drops that he may take the lead. Ryan Palk is there as well so it will be a three way battle for the top spot.'
'My starts weren’t good, that’s what killed me. It was tricky out there. You had to be at the right spot at the right time,' Burton said.
In the Radial Gold Fleet overall standings were turned upside down with some of the leaders dropping back and some new boats entering the top five spots. Tristan Brown continues to lead the fleet, even with a 13th and second place, after closest competitor Jeremy O’Connell had a terrible day scoring 21st and ninth (O’Connell is carrying a DNF from the second day).
'The first race was really tough, there was two really big wind shifts,' Brown said.
'The first upwind there was one to the right then later in the race there was a massive one to the left. I was stuck on the wrong side of both of them and was buried in the pack but luckily most of the other tops guys except Mark Spearman were behind me so that turned out alright in the end. I was constantly catching up but there wasn’t enough race to catch up anymore. It’s all pretty close still. I just have to try to sail two good ones so I can get rid of the 13th.'
O’Connell was disappointed about his day but is hoping tomorrow will be more successful. 'Pretty tough day. I ended up with two really deep scores. I couldn’t figure out a pattern out there. I’ll see what I can do tomorrow. Just have to go out there and sail my best.'
Mark Spearman moved into second place overall by continuing his consistent sailing with two fifth places. 'It’s much harder now we’re into Gold Fleet.' Spearman is looking good to win the Junior division in the Radials.
Australian Sailing Team member Krystal Weir had a good and bad day with a 19th and a first moving her up to third overall. 'It’s all open now because the racing was so tricky and difficult. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.' Weir said.
Jack Felsenthal feels he has the Laser 4.7 National Championship won with 16 points separating him and second place Benjamin Knoop. After dominating the fleet again with two first places, Felsenthal is looking forward to next week’s OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship also being held at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.
'I’ve pretty well got it wrapped up,' Felsenthal said. 'I don’t think I have to sail tomorrow so I am pretty happy about that. It’s been a good regatta. I’ve worked pretty hard to get this far and it’s great to win it. I’m having fun out there.'
Knoop hopes to maintain his second spot with eight places separating him from Megan Darby in third.