'Ray Smith's St John's Dance going great guns before coming to grief - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals'
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There were no complaints about lack of breeze for the first day of the Etchells Nationals today as the Fremantle Doctor kicked in early at 18 – 22 knots. One yacht sank in the second race of the day.
Only one competitor elected to stay in the harbour after viewing conditions outside, and several succumbed to minor damage in the first race, but the serious action happened in the last downwind leg of race 2.
Raymond Smith’s St John’s Dance was well placed midway through the final downwind leg when the boat lost control on a wave, broached wildly and snapped the spinnaker pole. Now totally out of control, the spinnaker pulled the yacht down sideways, it filled with water and slowly, painfully slowly, sank to the bottom, leaving just the top half of the mast visible. All three crew emerged unscathed, but the yacht will spend the night on the bottom of Cockburn Sound, forcing a day’s rest on the crew, and effectively snuffing out any chance they had at the national title.
Michael Manford, Dean McAullay and Nicholas Gray set the pace in The Croc rounded the top mark marginally behind Mark Thornburrow, but in the shakeout that followed, The Croc was chased home by John Bertrand’s Triad and Queensland’s Gen XY, sailed by Matthew Chew. Thornburrow slipped back to finish fifth, just behind Torvar Mirsky.
In the second race, Mark Thornburrow was first to the top mark for the first time, extended his lead on the downwind leg, and finished well ahead to record an excellent win. Mike Manford was next to finish, picking up places on the last downwind leg to relegate Gen XY (Chew) to third place, and Chilli Plum (Mirsky) to another fourth place. They would have been disappointed after rounding the top mark in second place for the run home.
So at the end of an eventful first day of competition, The Croc heads the leader board with a win and a second, followed by Racer X on six points, Gen XY also on six points, Chilli Plum on eight and Triad (John Bertrand) on nine. These five hold a substantial lead on the rest of the field at this early stage of the regatta.
Tomorrow’s racing will face similar conditions, according to weather forecasts.
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St John's Dance going down. The sails were removed and the yacht was left for retrieval tomorrow. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals - Ron Jensen Click Here to view large photo
The Croc (Manford) shows the way to Triad (Bertrand) and Gen XY (Chew) - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals - Ron Jensen Click Here to view large photo
Racer X round the top mark clear of Tango, Chilli Plumb and Triad - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals - Ron Jensen Click Here to view large photo
by Bernie Kaaks
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9:25 AM Thu 10 Jan 2013GMT
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