by Chris Payne
2013-14 Taser Australian Championships Day 4 - After a day off away from sailing, the 67 boats were back at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron for two races in a lively 15-20 knots from the SSW.
Heather Macfarlane / Chris Payne - beating to windward
In race eight Peter Hackett and Chris Dance (VIC) finally let loose and led around all the buoys to be the seventh heat winner and start to put the pressure on the top four. Paul and Bronwyn Ridgway (VIC) took the second to extend their lead overall. Rob and Nicole Douglass (NSW)fought back during the race to finish third.
Race nine was a closer race with more lead changes. Rick Longbottom and Darry Bentley, representing Australia’s Defence Force, had to have a good race to keep the pressure in the leaders. They managed to get in front after the first lap, but a shift to the left put them behind Rob and Nicole Douglass and Peter Ellis and Charlotte Birbeck (VIC). These two fought it out for the next lap with the Douglass’s finishing just ahead of Ellis / Birbeck and a fast finishing Ridgways and Longbottom / Bentley. Heather Macfarlane / Chris Payne rounded out the top five and have now fallen out of contention for the championship.
One race is left to be sailed tomorrow with Paul and Bronwyn Ridgway having a four point lead, which is the biggest lead of anyone for the regatta. Rob and Nicole Douglass and Rick Longbottom and Darryl Bentley are still close behind with strong chances to win overall. All have one world championships before, and are not a stranger to success.
The Tasar class is committed to improving all sailors capabilities and have implemented a buddy system to help people back in the fleet. There is a trophy for the most improved and the heat is now on for the main contenders to keep improving. This includes Cary / Pat Pedicini with their buddy Rob Gilpin/Sarah Dulaney, Conor Byrne / Michelle Mackie with their buddy Alister Danks / Hannah Danks and Tony / Julie Creak with buddy Blaise / Kate Vinot.