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SB3 Australian National Championship – Light winds disrupt racing

by Peter Campbell on 19 Feb 2012
Day 2 - SB3 Australian National Championship 2012 Jane Austin
SB3 Australian National Championship is being hosted by Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania from Saturday 18th to Monday 20th February 2012.

Light winds on the River Derwent today again plagued race officials and competitors in the Australian championship for the SB3 sports boat class, with only six boats finishing in race one and race four abandoned.

With all racing abandoned on Saturday and only three races completed today, principal race officer Nick Hutton is looking to run at least four more races tomorrow to produce a fair result for the 21 competitors.

If seven races are completed, this would allow one discard race, certainly a fairer outcome for the 15 boats that did not finish within the time limit in race one.

After three races, five of the six boats that finished race one are at the top of the scoreboard with the two most consistent, Queenslander Philip Gray sailing Dulon Polish, and Victorian Stephen Fries helming Wysiwyg-V, equal first on nine points. Third overall is Sydney yachtsman Roger Hickman, sailing Sun Tzu, on 15 points.

However, if seven races are completed and a discard comes into effect, the overall results could change significantly, bringing into the championship equation helmsman such as Glenn Bourke, sailing Club Marine Hamilton Island, and Victorian Mark Wolfenden, helming Still Out of Control.

Bourke and Wolfenden were among the 15 boats that failed to finish race one. Bourke was level with the finish line, but beyond its extremities, when the wind died away and the tide carried him beyond the line. He was unable to sail back to finish and was recorded DNF.

Nevertheless, the current top four boats after the second day of the championship have continued to sail consistently following the first race.

Dulon Polish followed a race one fourth with another fourth and first for nine points Wysiwyg-V notched up a second and a fourth after a first race third, also for nine points, while Sun Tzu had a first and a ninth following its first race fifth to be on 15 points.

Top placed of the Tasmanians is Nick Rogers, sailing Toll Shipping, to a first place in race one, a 13th in race two and sixth in race three. He is fourth overall on 20 points

David Graney, steering Wedgewood, began with a second in race one and followed by a 12th and 13th to be fifth overall on 27 points, one point ahead of Glenn Bourke, sailing Club Marine

After Saturday’s abandoned racing, Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania race officers took the fleet out on the river early, but the first race did not start until 11.55am and ended with the wind fading away on the final run to the finish.

So much so, that only six of the 21-boat fleet finished within the time limit of 20 minutes after the first boat finished.

Nick Rogers, fresh from his victory in the Prince Philip Cup for the International Dragon class, picked the right angle as the leaders gybed downwind in light of breezes and managed to steer Toll Shipping to victory, just over one minute ahead of another local boat, Wedgewood (David Graney) who crossed 14 seconds ahead of Victorian Stephen Fries, sailing Wysiwyg-V.

International yachtsman Glenn Bourke, sailing Club Marine Hamilton Island, had a luckless race, being swept outside and past the finish line by the tide and unable to get back and finish before the time limit ran out.

The breeze did not settle down until after 3pm, by which time it had changed direction by 180 degrees and freshened to eight knots from the south.

Race two was a fascinating contest in which the lead changed several times as skippers tried to find the most favourable side of the course; generally tacking up the middle or the western shore of the Derwent paid off.

Victory went to Roger Hickman, one of Australia’s best known ocean racing yachtsmen, helming an SB3 for the first time in a regatta, named Sun Tzu, the same name of his International Etchells that he races with the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

Sun Tzu won by just 24 seconds from Wysiwyg-V, with Glenn Bourke getting some runs on the board with a third place. Toll Shipping had a mediocre race, slipping back to 13th place.

Fourth place in both races went to Dulon Polish, helmed by Queenslander Phillip Gray, representing the International SB3 fleet rather than a specific club.

Race three saw the fleet start in an eight knot south-westerly breeze and while the direction was fairly constant, conditions were marred by a mid-race rain shower.

In a close downwind finish Dulon Polish won from the Victorian boat Still Out of Control, skippered by Mark Wolfenden, with Glenn Bourke again third in Club Marine Hamilton Island.

Race officer Nick Hutton got the fleet away for a fourth race but was forced to abandon because of a major wind change, followed by no wind, after one-and-a-half laps had been sailed. 'It would have been unfair to continue racing,' said Hutton, who will attempt to start racing tomorrow from 10am.

'We will endeavour to get as many races in as possible; another four would allow for a discard race which would make the scoring fairer for those who missed out on a finish in the first race,' he added.

Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania website

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