After an hiatus of two years due his Team New Zealand America's Cup commitments, Glenn Ashby has returned to sail in A Class Catamarans. After six races, he leads the Australian National Championship, by one point, from Steve Brewin, his perennial sparing partner.
Steve Brewin and Glenn Ashby cross tacks, resuming their traditional competition.
Sailing conditions have been in the light to moderate spectrum on the flat waters of Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, as guests of the St Leonards Yacht and Motor Club.
The 39 boat fleet features many talented sailors, including some very athletic and fit lads still to complete their third decade, through to those around 70 years of age , those peak physical endurance was perhaps a little while ago. Ashby and Brewin blend comparative youth, with plenty of hard fought years of experience.
Ashby has ten Australian and seven World A Cat Titles to his credit. Brewin has won two World A Cat Titles, and is the current European Champion.
The racing has been very close, and as is the way in this very high performance boat, fast and furious.
After six races and one drop, Ashby leads on seven points, from Brewin on eight points. There is a bit of a gap back to Jack Benson on 19 points in third overall, Stephen Brayshaw forth on 21, then Adam Beatie 27, and Dave Brewer sixth on 29 points.
No particular boat, mast, or sail has dominated. Indeed, Chris Cairns sailing an older 'Tool ' design with straight centreboards, and no winglets on his rudder has been putting in some excellent performances in the winds of up the 10 knots that have prevailed during this regatta. The performances have been an accurate reflection of the sailor's respective skills.
Whilst Glenn Ashby dominated on day 1, it was Steve Brewin's turn on day 2, notching up two wins and a third.
Race 4 started in 6 knots of wind , and finished in 10 knots. Glenn Ashby led for most of the race to win from Chris Cairns , and Brewin third.
By Race 5, Brewin had found top gear . With the wind now settled at a lovely 10 knots, Brewin went on to win from Brayshaw ,with Ashby third.
Race 6 was sailed in a consistent 10 knots,which enabled some high speed downwind trapeze assisted sailing. Brayshaw led from Brewin and Ashby at the first gate. Brewin soon moved through to first, and Ashby latter made his way into second by the time of the finish line.
Tomorrow, coincidently being New Year's Day, will be a lay day. Three more races will be held over the following two days, with stronger winds being forecast.