by Paul Manning
Fleet downwind - 2011 Broo Premium Lager Musto Performance Skiff World Championships - day 3
Racing continued in the Musto Performance Skiff World Championships 2011 with three races being sailed on Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay. As is usual in eastern Australia at this time, racing was once again held in almost continual rain. Conditions are expected to improve during the weekend for the final two days of the world championship.
Following a short postponement, race 5 of the Broo Beer Musto Performance Skiff World Championships started at 11:05 with the breeze at between 010 and 020 and 10-12knots.
The majority of the fleet headed left initially, with a small group including Matt Hollis GBR 356, David Annan GBR 169 and overall event leader Daniel Henderson GBR 409 starting beside the committee boat and immediately tacking right.
At the windward mark first time around, Henderson had opened a good lead on the fleet and rounded clear from Mark Haine GBR 248 and David Annan with the rest of the leading pack very close behind.
Julian Ramm - Broo Premium Lager Musto Performance Skiff World Championships - day 3
Henderson held the lead at the final top mark, with Annan pulling through to second and Julian Ramm GER 443 into third.
At the finish, Henderson had extended on the fleet to take a comfortable win from Ramm with Dan Ward GBR 286 pulling through to third and Tim Hill AUS 424 just beating Annan to fourth.
Following a general recall at 14:40, the wind shifted to 060 at 10knots the fleet got away at 15:05 under black flag.
There was a noticeable even split between the port and starboard sides of the course on the first upwind leg, with the port side coming out in front.
At the first windward mark Nigel Walbank GBR 394 led followed by Jonathon Newman AUS425, Matt Hosie AUS 413 and Bruce Keen 441.
The wind began to move further East to 080 and Dan Ward GBR 286 had taken the lead from Keen with Hamilton moving up to third.
Tom Wright - Broo Premium Lager Musto Performance Skiff World Championships - day 3
Dan Ward maintained his lead to take the win from Tom Wright GBR 432 and Marcus Hamilton securing second place.
A initial general recall led to a black flag start as the breeze had settled at 090, and the fleet were too eager in the gradually increasing breeze...
At the leeward mark Tom Wright GBR 432 had taken hold of the race with Dave Poston GBR 324, Marcus Hamilton AUS 453 and Jono Neate AUS 440 close behind.
The leaders all headed left up the final beat, with Daniel Henderson GBR 409 being the first to take the right side of the course. The breeze favoured the right, and Henderson gained to round fourth at the top mari for the final time.
Wright took a well deserved win and was followed home by Ian Renilson GBR 449 and Hamilton AUS 453.
The drama had not finished here, as Daniel Henderson slipped mid gybe only 50m from the finish and capsized dropping a number of places from his fourth at that point.
Close finish - Broo Premium Lager Musto Performance Skiff World Championships - day 3
Tomorrow is a lay day with many sailors going off to visit Melbourne or the local Nature reserve on a tour.
Racing will re-commence on Saturday at 11:00 local time.
Current overall standings
Marcus Hamilton AUS 453
Daniel Henderson GBR 409
Jonathon Newman AUS 425
Full results can be viewed at the event results page here