Family ties proved too strong for defending Melges 24 champion Bandit, with a husband and wife duo aboard Accru claiming two wins from three races at the Festival of Sails today.
Accru - 2013 Festival of Sails
Accru skipper Kevin Nixon, his wife Glenda, along with their two children Bonnie and Daniel and niece Grace, have catapulted to pole position on 15 points with just one day’s racing remaining.
But, with formidable foe Northshore Marine also on 15 points, it’s going to be a sleepless night for the Nixon family.
'There’s some very good sailors on these boats, Olympians and national champions,’’ Nixon said this evening. 'It’s definitely great to come together as a family and be competitive.
'Tomorrow we’ve just got to keep our rig set up right and stay consistent, it’s going to be tough.'
The Parks Victoria Melges 24 National Championship fleet competed in relatively sheltered waters off Clifton Springs in Corio Bay’s outer harbor. Organisers, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, made the move in a bid to test the waters ahead of the Melges 24 worlds next year.
Northshore Marine skipper Chris Links said racing had taken a physical and mental toll on the sailors. He reckons tomorrow’s going to be a case of survival of the fittest.
'Some of us old guys are really struggling, but this is what it’s all about; the tougher teams pull through in the end,' he said.
'You need plenty of fitness, match fitness. There’s some big loads on the spinnakers down wind, so you’ve got be in shape.'
Links admits that he needs eyes in the back of his head, having to keep watch on both the Accru crew and Bandit, in third place with 17 points.
'We love the Bandits, but we’d love to see them not on top of the podium,’’ he said. 'They’re world class, and if one of us can beat them it really shows the calibre of the fleet, and I’d love it to be us.'
Royal Geelong Yacht Club’s Shaw 650 Monkey Business proved to be hometown heroes, taking the lead in the Bundaberg Rum Sports Boat series today.
Skipper Cam Rae steered his crew to their first win of the series, and two second places to take the lead from Foamfast, skippered by Paul Heyes.
Rae reckons a bit of home-water advantage came into play, along with the help of ideal racing conditions.
'Fifteen to 18 knots is fantastic for sports boats, we were doing up to 20 knots downwind,’’ he said.
With one day’s racing remaining Rae hopes that his team’s experience will prove too hard to beat.
'We’ve been sailing together now for five-plus years, we know each other and the boat really well,’’ he said. 'We just have to keep working really hard.'
Monkey Business leads on nine points; six points clear of Noel Leigh-Smith’s Vivace. Foamfast has dropped to third place on 16 points.
It was all about speed for the International A-Class fleet that reached more than 18 knots of boat speed downwind in the sheltered waters of Corio Bay today.
In a bid to make up for a day’s racing that was lost because of blustery conditions yesterday, racing started an hour early and the 20 competing sailors completed four grueling windward-leeward courses.
There were four winners, but it was consistency that proved key for divisional leader Stuart Scott who finished first, fourth, fifth and fourth with Livewire2 to take the lead with two races remaining.
Scott leads on 16 points, four points clear of second placed David Parker’s Demons New A which is tied with David Brewer’s Brew on 20 points.
In the Maui Jim SB20 Victorian Championship, Chris Dare’s Flirtatious continues to dominate.
Dare and his crew have won five of six races, and with one race drop coming into the mix he has a perfect score of five to lead the fleet by a six point margin.
Dare is regatta ready given he’s just come off the back of competing at the SB20 world championship at Hamilton Island last December.
Dean Joel’s A-Play is in second place with 11 points, having stolen a victory from Flirtatious in the final race of the day. Still Out of Control, skippered by Mark Wolfenden, is in third place on 12 points.
Full Results here