by Sue Neales
The Sabot National Championship saw calmer sailing condition on second day of competition, enabling young sailors from NSW and Queensland to outrace their rivals in light winds off Brighton.
Sabot nationals: Queueing to round the first mark - 49th Sabot Nationals, Brighton
After a wild day of racing in big seas and winds on Sunday favoured competitors from Victoria and Tasmania, the calmer conditions and 9 knot winds of New Year’s Eve saw young sailoros from Queensland and NSW make their mark.
Both races in the senior fleet this afternoon were won by dynamic young sailor Finn Gilbert from southern NSW, deftly racing 'Predator' in light winds.
A shortened race course after a postponed first start due to shifting winds caused a traffic jam worthy of rush hour on Melbourne’s Westgate Bridge at the first upwind mark, leaving young sailors jostled and queued for buoy room.
Sabot nationals: two up fun - 49th Sabot Nationals, Brighton
But Finn Gilbert, fellow northern NSW competitor Jordan Makin and southern Queensland sailor Hunter Vercoe slipped past the mark at the front of the fleet, opening up an early lead which they held through most of the first race.
'Predator' eventually crossed the finish line 200 metres ahead of the rest of the fleet, with Jordan Makin in 'Need for Speed' in second place and Hunter Vercoe in 'Duck Hunter' third.
The second race – over a lengthened course - was also won by Finn Gilbert in 'Predator.'
He now heads the overnight leader board for the Sabot senior titles, having won three of the first four races held in the 10-race series which finishes on Friday.
Tight racing in sabot nationals - 49th Sabot Nationals, Brighton
Victorians Daniel Quinlan and Josh Galland, who had been leading the battle for the Sabot National title after the first day of racing, slipped back today in the lighter winds.
In the second senior solo race held at 4pm this afternoon, Hunter Vercoe from southern Queensland racing in 'Duck Hunter' came second after a tight fight to the finish line with Finn Gilbert in 'Predator.'
Third placegetter in the second race was Jed Fatches from northern NSW in 'Black Pearl', with his fellow team mate Tom Stivano in 'Slippery Little Sucker' fourth.
Results from the two-up Sabot Nationals racing this afternoon had not been released yet by the race office, but will be available later this evening along with all other Sabot Nationals results on the Royal Brighton Yacht Club website at Sabot National Championship
Double winner Finn Gilbert in senior sabot title races 3 and 4 - 49th Sabot Nationals, Brighton
In the morning racing for novice and beginner sailing in the parallel Sabot Week event, the two races for skipper-only boats were won by Tanika Robba from the Southern Queensland team sailing 'Midas Touch' and fellow competitor Maggie Bowden in Airwave.
Novice two -up races in Sabot week today (Monday) were both won by undefeated young Tasmanian pair Daniel Ragg and Charlie Rooks in 'Frantic.'