by Sue Neales
The Sabot National Championship 2013 presented a hot and an unpredictably light weather sailing condition on Thursday, giving leaders more challenges going into the final stretches of the competition on Port Philip.
sabot natonals: light winds and flat seas saw some walking of boats close to the start! - 49th sabot Nationals
Hot temperatures, silky seas and light shifting breezes tested the all-round skills of the established leadership group in the 49th Sabot national championships being held on Port Phillip Bay this afternoon (Thursday).
Leading young Sydney sailor Finn Gilbert won the second race this afternoon in fading four to five knot winds, and took third place in the first race, fixing his hands firmly on the championship trophy in an unbeatable position.
In both this afternoon’s races – the first was won by third leadership contender Tasmanian Sam King - Gilbert from Drummoyne Yacht Club secured vital higher placings than his closest rival, Victorian team captain Daniel Quinlan, from Black Rock Yacht Club.
The results after nine races – with just one race left to be sailed tomorrow (Friday) - leaves Finn Gilbert in 'Predator' in an unassailable position heading the national senior Sabot title leaderboard with a nett score (after two race drops) of 10, well clear of Daniel Quinlan sailing 'Tiger Bite' with a net score of 19.
Quinlan now looks set to be anointed Australia’s second best sabot sailor, although after winning race 8 today and race seven vesterday, Tasmanian young gun Sam King racing 'Red Herring' is nipping at his heels.
Sabot natonals: race 8 winner today, tasmanian Sam King in Red Herring - 49th sabot Nationals
In the first senior race of the afternoon, sailed in six t eight knot winds, King was placed first, with northern NSW sailor Jordan Makin in 'Need for Speed' second, and Finn Gilbert third.
A popular fourth place-winner was Tasmanian Josh Harriss in 'Guided Missile', who on Tuesday was rushed to hospital after being knocked out at the start of race four by a fellow competitor’s boom.
Other top sailors to also fill the top seven spots in the first race this afternoon – all in the leading pack of young Australian sabot racers at this championship regardless of weather conditions - included Victorian Josh Galland in 'Whisper', Brisbane sailor Hunter Vercoe in 'Duck Hunter' and northern NSW sailor Tom Stivano in 'Slippery Little Sucker'.
As winds died even further, the second race was sailed in flat sea conditions akin to river-like, favouring light Sabot sailors from Brisbane and Sydney well-used to racing on the Brisbane and Parramatta rivers.
The eighth race of the 10-race series in the senior nationals class was won by Gilbert from Drummoyne, with Jed Fatches in 'Black Pearl' second and James Pagett in 'Stinger' third. Daniel Quinlan came in fourth.
In the double-handed Nationals class, Brisbane pair Carlton Smith and Will Bridges racing 'Swordfish' are locked in a tight tussle to win the series 'two-up' crown, after not being placed in either race today.
Snapper at their rudder is Tommy Larkings and Eve Peel in Tommygun, just behind Smith and Bridges’ nett score of 18, with their own tally of 19.
The first two-up race this afternoon was won by Tasmanian brother-and-sister pair, Ruby and Max Edmunds, sailing 'Starter Kit'.
In second place were the duo from Mackay, North Queensland, youngsters Daniel Moran and Maya Turnball sailing 'Not another Menace', with Brisbane siblings, William and Madeline Power in 'Snapper' third.
The second two-up nationals race was won by Patrick Lambourne and Laura Mckay in 'Bullet Proof.'
Second place went to the Power family in 'Snapper' with 'Tommygun' in third position.
Sabot nationals: leading girl sabot racer, Natalie Bridge in The Wobbly Boot from southern Queensland - 49th sabot Nationals
In the beginner Sabot Week races sailed in light air this morning, the two one-up races were won by Maggie Bowden in 'Airwave' and team-mate Helena Lambourne in 'Blitz', both sailing for southern Queensland.
Deklan Bulder from north Queensland in 'Robin Hood' and Bailey Edmunds from Tasmania in 'Cool Change' came second in each race, while Edmunds also took out a third place. Christine Bowden in 'Think’n Pink' was another third place winner.
In the Sabot Week two-up races, the light conditions saw dominant pair Daniel Ragg and Charlie Rooks sailing in combined Victoria-Tasmanian boat 'Frantic' win one race, with the other one by NSW duo, Rhiannan Brown and Mark Murray racing in 'Rippa.'