by Craig Heydon
On the final day of the IFDS World Championships in Florida, Australia’s Skud 18 crew of Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch will be racing for a medal.
Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch - Skud 18
Trailing their British and American competitors, Fitzgibbon and Tesch went into the penultimate day of racing third overall and had their strongest day on the water, finishing with a first and a second.
The Australian duo now trail defending World Champions Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell by four points heading into the final race of the regatta.
'Today was a good day with a first and a second putting us back in the boat race,' said Fitzgibbon. 'The conditions were really shifty with variable pressure so it was quite tricky but we just kept in front and maintained our lead which was great.
'We’re now setting in second and a couple of points behind the British so it’s all to play for tomorrow on the last day of racing,' he said.
Fellow Skud 18 sailors Ame Barnbrook and Lindsay Mason remain in eighth overall. 'Today was pretty productive for us,' said Barnbrook.
'The wind conditions were pretty steady for us today so it was just a matter of putting yourself in the right place at the right time. 'The second race we managed to do that but in the first one we took a chance and it didn’t really pay off,' she said. 'We have one race left so hopefully we will end the regatta on a good note tomorrow.'
Colin Harrison, Stephen Churm and Jonathan Harris have held onto their fifth position in the Sonar fleet following a fifth and a sixth in Saturday’s two races. Heading into the final day of the regatta Harrison, Churm and Harris are just three points off the podium.
'Today we were met with a 12 degree, cool northerly wind, which made for a very uncomfortable 45 minute tow out to the race area,' said Harrison.
'The wind was steady enough to get the two scheduled races in, though there were plenty of gains or losses to be made in the shifts.
'We are still fifth overall after finishing fifth and sixth in the two races and are now only three points off third place,' he said.
'However, there are five or six teams within reach of the podium, so tomorrow is going to be very challenging.
'There are too many boats to try and cover to protect our position, so it will have to be a 'sail your own race' situation and take some risks,' said Harrison.
'Anyway, tomorrow will be the last race of our debut regatta and our results amongst a quality fleet have been very respectable.'
The 2.4mR class completed one race on Saturday with Australian Matt Bugg crossing the line 12th. Bugg is now in 11th overall heading into the final race of the 2012 World Championships. Racing in the 2.4mR class was again incredibly close with just 10 boat lengths between first and 12th at the end of the race.
'It was very shifty today with 30 degree shifts from one side to the other,' said Bugg. 'We unfortunately went to the right hand side and the breeze came to the left and that was on the first beat and from them on I tried as hard as I could to make up the points that I could but I ended up coming 11th.
'I’m currently sitting in 11th overall and 12 points off 10 so tomorrow I’ll try as hard as I can to get back into the top 10,' he said.
Full results at IFDS Worlds website
Australian Sailing Team visit website