Flying Fifteen National Championship - Elder statesman leads the way

With a black flag for the second attempt, boats started conservatively for a clean getaway from a good line. - Flying Fifteen 50 th Anniversary Nationals
Bernie Kaaks - copyright
Graeme Lillingstone, the Flying Fifteen World Champion way back in 1982, relished the light conditions in today’s third heat of the Gemmill Homes Golden Anniversary Flying Fifteen National Championship.

A general recall at the first attempt saw a black flag controlled second start, which Lillingstone and crew Ed Repsevicius read beautifully to get away in clean air.

As expected, the race began with a light easterly breeze at around 110 degrees in bright sunshine and flat water.
At the top mark for the first time, Lillingstone held a handy lead over David Tucker and Matt Summers, with the ever-menacing Steve Goacher well positioned in third place as he edged out Queensland’s Ashley Smith right on the buoy.

A big wind shift to the left during the second beat (at one stage it went to 095 degrees) was anticipated by the observant crews, who tacked to the left early to take full advantage of it. Lillingstone was at this stage heading to the right until he saw the moves behind him, and quickly reacted to cover the trailing pack, tacking back onto port as he hit the layline, which by this time was not far from the centreline of the course!

It was a beautiful move, creating a good 200 metre buffer over Adele Jackson and Dean McAullay, who headed out to the north immediately after threading their way through the leeward gate, pushing Tucker back to third, with Ashley Smith and Steve Goacher still fighting over fourth place, just ahead of Adam Hawkins.

Race officer Les Swinton re-aligned the course as the fleet headed downwind to wipe out the 40 degree swing, but the running order remained unchanged, with Lillingstone claiming his first win of the championship and Adele Jackson following up yesterday’s win with a solid second place today, so finally the British stranglehold on the top placings was broken, with all three podium finishes going to Australian crews, as David Tucker held on to claim third today.

All that action has tightened up the leaderboard considerably. With Alan Bax finishing fourth and Steve Goacher relegated to sixth in today’s race, Goacher still leads with 10 points, one ahead of Bax on 11 and Jackson on 12. Lillingstone’s win elevates him to fourth place overall.

Tomorrow promises more light breezes and two afternoon races are scheduled.

Top Placings:
1. 3988 Goacher/Owen
2. 3987 Bax/Childs
3. 3933 Jackson/McAullay
4. 3670 Lillingstone/Repsevicius
5. 3881 Hawkins/Jones
6. 3775 Hart/Rigg
7. 3859 Yu/Nelson
8. 3743 Tonnison/Roberts
9. 3717 Leaversuch/Barblett
10. 3781 Tucker/Summers