Flying Fifteen Nationals - Champions set the pace
by Bernie Kaaks on 10 Jan 2012
50th Anniversary Flying Fifteen Nationals - In south westerly conditions just a little lighter than yesterday the first two races were completed today and the big names all performed up to expectations, with some surprises thrown into the mix.
Mark roundings were crowded and at times, fierce - 50th Anniversary Flying Fifteen Nationals Bernie Kaaks
Greg Leaversuch and Peter Barblett set the early pace in race one, setting up a big lead at the end of the first beat after an excellent start. Like the majority of the fleet, they favoured the south side of the course and with the breeze still swinging slightly to the left, it was the right choice for them. On the second work however, they chose the north side, only to meet Goacher, Hart and Hawkins who played the south, at the top mark. Although they maintained their lead at that point, the final work saw Leaversuch swamped by Steve Goacher/Matt Owen, then Adam Hawkins and Ben Jones (who also finished second in yesterday’s invitation race but were premature starters) and Englishmen Mike Hart and Richard Rigg.
Alan Bax and Simon Childs were fifth, just ahead of State S80 champion David Yu and former world champion Graeme Lillingstone, now into his seventies and still supremely fit and competitive.
In the second race of the day, the leaders after the first beat were Chris Paterson and Rupert Leslie, backing up their sixth place in yesterday’s invitation race, but they were hotly pursued by Adele Jackson and Dean McAullay, who are starting to realise their potential, and the Andrew Grist/Ian Johnston combination. Steve Goacher was menacing in fourth place, ahead of John Wilson and Nick Hancock.
During the second lap, Paterson/Leslie slipped back several places to round fourth, surrendering the lead to Jackson/McAullay, who by this stage had opened up a gap of around 100 metres on Steve Goacher, who had moved up to second. Mike Hart was next and the crowd behind him were all baying for buoy room as they converged on the top mark.
But there was no way that Adele Jackson was going to allow Goacher to run her down as he was able to do in the previous race, and she and Dean McAullay finished the race with a lead of one minute and 15 seconds. The crew’s preparation received a serious set-back during the recent ISAF Worlds in Fremantle, where Jackson played a significant role in the organisational side of the women’s match racing. For two weeks the team was unable to continue its training program, hardly an ideal preparation for a national championship.
So after two races, it’s all Great Britain! Goacher/Owen lead the tally board with four points, ahead of Bax/Childs with seven and Hart/Rigg with eight. The best of the locals are now the Jackson/McAullay combination with 10 points, Leaversuch/Barblett with 12 and Yu/Nelson with 13.
Tomorrow’s race is scheduled for the morning, which should see it run in an easterly breeze on flat water – a pleasant change from the blustery south westerly that has characterised racing to date.
Flying Fifteen National Championship website
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