International 420 Australian Championships 2012 are currently underway on Hobart's River Derwent. Yesterday heatwave northerly winds brought capsizes, broken masts and rigging, and post race protests.
While the Lasers were scheduled to sail on the eastern and more exposed side of the Derwent, the 420 class managed to complete two races south of Sullivans Cove. One day remains to complete the scheduled 12 races.
However the winds took their toll, at one stage nine boats had retired from the fleet and a further four were upside down on the course in the fleet of 22 boats.
After a mid-series slump in form, Tasmanians Alec Bailey and Doug Shephard bounced back with a first and a second, handling the heavy weather with great skill.
Sailing VMG, they have moved up the leader board to be fourth going into today’s planned final three races, with race officers scheduling the first race for 10am to hopefully beat the forecast afternoon gale.
The Tasmanians have a task ahead of them to overtake overall leaders, Lachlan Gilmour and Thomas Blaauw from Perth’s Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, who also had a first and a second yesterday.
Results of the second race yesterday, race ten, are provisional because of protests.
The West Australians have sailed consistently and are still provision leaders from Xavier Winston-Smith and Joshua Dawson from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Sydney who slipped back with a seventh and a ninth.
Third overall is another WA crew, Carrie Smith and Ella Clark from Fremantle Sailing Club, yesterday handling the conditions well for two thirds. Bailey and Shephard are a close fourth overall but they cannot afford another mediocre race.
While there many spectacular capsizes and retirements yesterday, it was noticeable that none of top ten crews experienced any real problems with the conditions.
by Peter Campbell
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11:34 AM Thu 3 Jan 2013GMT
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