by Craig Heydon
2011 IFDS World Championships in Weymouth, England- Heavy winds have tested crews with competition heating up on the water as the regatta reaches the business end.
Amethyst Barnbrook,SKUD,AUS 44
In the Skud 18 class Australian sailors Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch are chasing down regatta leaders Alexandra Rickham and Nikki Birrell and as they head into the final two races of the regatta will be fighting hard to close the six point gap.
On the penultimate day of racing Fitzgibbon and Tesch won the opening race before finishing fifth, leaving them on 19 points, while their British competition had a third and a first and sit on 13 points.
'It was very windy day today which challenged everybody,' said Fitzgibbon. 'We won the first race which was awesome but then struggled in the second race as the conditions were very difficult.
'We’ll regroup tomorrow and come out firing on the last day of the regatta,' he said.
Ame Barnbrook and Lindsay Mason are fifth overall, following an eighth and a sixth in the day’s two races on Portland Harbour.
'Today was a hard day at the office,' said Mason. 'The wind was at the top end of the class wind range and everyone in the fleet struggled but we continued on and did our best.
'Tomorrow we’ll go out there and hopefully put some more good results on the board to finish the regatta,' he said.
Jame Dunross and Rachael Cox worked their way up to seventh on Wednesday with a pair of seventh place finishes.
'It was a pretty extreme Skud sailing day for us today considering one of our seats failed to cant but we held in there and tried to cope the best we could with the conditions we had,' said Cox.
West Australian Sonar sailors Colin Harrison, Russell Boaden and Rod Angwin have moved into 10th overall in the competitive 23 boat fleet.
'Today was a hard day for everybody because of the winds,' Boaden. 'We just fought our way through the fleet and ended up with a seventh in the first race and an eighth in the second race.
'The final day is going to be pretty heavy again so we will hang in there and try to get up with the top guys again,' he said.
Fellow Australian Sonar sailors Stephen Churm, Jonathan Harris and Jason Elwes sit in 16th following a 12th and a 14th on Wednesday.
In the 2.4mR class Matt Bugg is 16th after finishing seventh in race one and then receiving re-dress for race two after a port starboard incident two minutes prior to the start which saw him unable to compete in the race due to a broken boom, and will be keen to push his way up the leaderboard on the final day of competition
Racing continues in Weymouth on Wednesday with the 2011 IFDS World Championship continuing until Friday July 8.
More information on the Australian Sailing Team here
Full results here