by Gerald New
Flying 15 World Championships day 4 at Hayling Island.
Flying 15 World Championships 2011 Photo: Chris Balshall (copyright)
Now into the end game, the championship has three races left and at one point it looked as if Mike and Gemma McIntyre would make a significant inroad into the lead of Graham Vials and Chris Turner. After two hours they crossed the line for their third victory of the series, only for Vials and Turner to move from fourth to take second place on the final beat and maintain a healthy seven point lead.
The McIntyre’s had started from the committee boat end, avoiding the late header that caught several of the top crews, and went out to sea looking for the sea breeze. Tacked on the header only to see the inshore boats come out with the breeze, led by Russell Peters and Tim Hall. Loosing 200 meters, they rounded 11 or 12. Then in what Mike describes as the race winning move, they gybe-set at the spreader mark and in five minutes went from 12th to first.
Leading from Jeremy Davy and Simon Childs they held a long tack to the RH corner and near the mark were headed, putting those that went to seaward in trouble. On the run they gybe-set again on port gybe and as the sea breeze came in again, onto starboard. On the third beat with the breeze now upto 14 knots they went out to sea, covering Davy and Childs and Australians David Tucker and Matt Summers finishing with a 40 second lead.
For Vials and Turner it was a great recovery performance. Seventh at the first mark, they misjudged the tide and hit the mark, after turns they were in tenth place. Slowly making places they were able to round the final mark in fourth and then took Tucker and Summers, and Andy McKee and Richard Jones to snatch second.
With three races left and a further discard, it is looking like a case of who blinks first for the two leaders. Vials and Turner started with a run of 3,1,1,1, before hitting a 7, DSQ and recovering with Monday's second. Mike and Gemma sarted slower, with a 9, 26, 5, then raised their game with a 1, 5, 1, 1. Time is running out for anyone to challenge the top two.
Quietly going about their business are the Classic and Silver fleets. Racing one race a day, after four races Gavin Cassidy and Lucy Clough in GBR2125, from Dovestone SC lead the 14 strong Classic fleet.
Bobby Salmond and Robert Till in GBR627 from the Holy Loch SC have three victories but also carry a DSQ from race two, when they sailed the wrong course. Closely tracking them with three, second places and a DSQ are David Morgan and Lorena Walden in GBR2663 from Llangorse SC.
In the Silver fleet, Malcolm and Alex Hall, in GBR2864 have a two point lead, with Michel Pelegrin and Erwan Gouriou in FRA3164 in second.
Racing continues with one race per day for the Gold and Blue fleets, finishing on Thursday.