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Festival of Sails Day 2 - Boats capsize in challenging conditions

by Danielle McKay on 25 Jan 2013
Festival of Sails 2013 day 2 © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
On the Festival of Sails 2013 second day of racing sailors fell overboard, boats capsized and sails blew-up among the Sports Boats and Melges 24 fleets, in the challenging conditions.

South-west winds gusting more than 30 knots proved a more formidable foe than actual competitors for some on the Corio Bay courses.

Reigning Melges 24 national champion Bandit was looking to make amends from an out-of-character first day when they finished sixth in the overall tally.

Owner/skipper Warwick Rooklyn is on the hunt for a national title hat-trick, and today came a step closer by winning all three races.

'The quality of the fleet has risen enormously in the past 12 months,' Rooklyn said. 'We didn’t have it our own way, OK, the score line was three wins, but these guys were really quick today, it wasn’t easy.'

Northshore Marine is in second place on count-back in the Parks Victoria Melges 24 National Championships. Skipper Chris Links said it’s been tough one-design racing.

'It was actually harder sailing upwind today than it was sailing downwind,' he said. 'We had the crew totally underwater on maybe four or five occasions today, you literally couldn’t see a thing.

'It’s going to take a lot of effort to unseat Warwick, we’ve got to stay consistent. It’s not down to the wire yet and we just have to get the best results we can.'

Bandit and Northshore Marine both have 12 points, with Accru in third place on 18 points.

For Bundaberg Rum Sports Boats race winner, Circus School crew, it was as much an achievement to finish as it was to win, crossing the line ahead of Monkey Business in second place and Vivace in third.

The Viper 640’s rig started to slacken just 30 minutes into the near 18 nautical mile race. Bowman Tom Brewer saved the day by replacing a popped-pin with a screwdriver.

'I got a couple of big mouthful of salt water,’’ said the young hero. 'We were sailing away from the course while we were fixing it, so I wanted to be quick. We did lose quite a bit of ground but just managed to make it up.'

Skipper Mark Griffith was ecstatic with the result, having only made the move from racing a Sydney 38 two months ago.

'They’re a lot of hard work, but they’re rewarding,’’ he said. 'We hit 16 knots today, you don’t see speeds like that in a Sydney 38. We’ve got a lot more to learn, so lots of room for improvement too.'

Overall, Foamfast is leading the Sports Boat series on six points, followed by Monkey Business on eight and Game On three points behind on Full results available here.

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