Reigning 49er World Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have had a strong run on day three of the 2010 49er World Championship, consolidating their fifth position to be just eight points off the lead at the completion of the qualification races.
The Australian Sailing Team crew now head into the Gold fleet within striking distance of Spanish pair Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez who lead the regatta by just two points from Italian brothers Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello. Outteridge and Jensen finished the day with a ninth, second and third placing.
'We’re really happy with how we went today, we could quite easily have had two seconds and a third and be right up there at the front but that’s sailing for you,' said Outteridge.
The day was not without controversy for the Australian pair who were involved in two protests with fourth placed John Pink and Rick Peacock of Great Britain.
'In the first race we were ahead of Pink and Peacock heading upwind when they tacked port to starboard and didn’t complete the tack, leaving them head to win,' said Outteridge. 'We had to tack around them and ended up capsizing which cost us a lot of places, but we were successful in our protest and moved up a spot, with them being disqualified from the race.'
The opening race was an up and down one for the Australians who fought back after the run in with the Great Britain crew only to capsize again, this time when in second place, with their mast becoming stuck in sand.
'The second capsize would have looked pretty spectacular, we did a complete flip and went in mast first, but we got things back on track for the final two races and finished strongly,' said Outteridge.
'Before we came into this regatta Iain and I had only had two capsizes in a year, one in Weymouth and one in Melbourne, and so far we’ve had five this regatta, if we stop swimming I’m sure we’ll keep moving up,' he said.
'But saying that we’re still happy with where we are placed, we’re in a better position at this stage of the regatta than we were at last year’s Worlds in Italy and as we head into the Gold fleet tomorrow the racing will be more intense and standard is really going to lift,' said Outteridge.
Racing was held in wind between eight and 18 knots with the temperature much cooler than expected, just 16 degrees, with Outteridge commenting that Tuesday was the coldest day in the Bahamas for 25 years.
Victorian brothers Will and Sam Phillips have moved up to tenth overall after receiving redress for their three races today. In the opening race of the day the pair had a major collision with the French crew of Julien d’Ortoli and Noe Delpech with Will Phillips sustaining a back injury and the French being disqualified.
The Australian’s boat survived the impact and they now head into day four in a good position.
Four Australian crews will feature in the highly competitive Gold fleet, with Euan McNicol and Tim Austin finishing the day in 20th position, ahead of Steven Thomas and Luke Parkinson in 23rd.
Andrew Chapman and Peter Kendall are currently 42nd and will race in the Silver fleet, along with Sean O’Rourke and Harry Bethwaite who are 54th.