by Rob Burn
To almost paraphrase MeatLoaf, 'three outta four ain't bad'. The Kiwi 420 Team of Taylor Burn and Henry Gibbs started the day with a slim one point lead at the GBR 420 Nationals in Pwllheli.
Homeward bound, Gbr Nats Wales - Final series,day two, GBr 420 Nationals.
It was a day of big wind shifts and lots of luck for some. Three good races and one midfleet saw them retain their lead by a slightly better three points.
Much colder today and the wind off the land, the locals saying this was the unstable wind direction and things were going to be tricky. As always, local knowledge is best and many sailors at the top end of the fleet struggled to get the first beat right as the shifts came down the left of the course but the big ones always seemed on the right ....always the opposite from our Kiwi sailors...
Race one was a good start, good off the Line, seventh to the Top mark and finishing third, again a good confidence builder. The Aussies ahead of the Kiwis though and comparisons being made of the Bledisloe Cup next weekend, the major Rugby Competition between the All Blacks and the Wallabies, for those of you who are not followers of the one true religion.
Race two was more tricky, another great start and expectations of a top position mark rounding but surprise at a 14th. A good downwind had them rounding in 10th, back to third by the last downwind and staying there for the Finish ...but in front of the Aussies.
Race 10, GBR Nats, Wales - Final series,day two, GBr 420 Nationals.
Race three almost a repeat, great start. up the left hand side, big shift to the right, round the top mark in 18th, us spectators scratching our heads. Taylor and Henry went really low on the down wind, caught the shift, rounded the gate mark in eighth, a great last beat upwind to round the Top mark in second but no quite enough to catch the leader .....got within a boat length or two on the finish line.
Two 'get out of Jails' already, we all were looking for a better last race but with lots of waiting around and a few General recalls, even on a Black Flag, the focus was becoming more difficult to maintain.
A great start, best so far, but true to form, deep at the Top mark, around 22nd. The only consolation was that the others at the top of the Leader board were in the same position. The GBR lead boat around the top mark was about 200 -300 metres ahead of the rest and by their second Top mark rounding had established a two minute lead to the finish ...... some radio chatter mentioning a 'lap of honour'.
Our sailors made a few places up to finish 18th. Their only race outside of the top three and with two drops available, still in front. The Aussies had faded somewhat with a couple of indifferent races but the top GBR boat still right up there.
A tow home, rain threatening, a promise of a roast dinner, tomorrow is another day.