The Etchells World Championship is being sailed in San Diego. Racing continues until June 11th.
The conditions again on Wednesday for Race Day 3 were excellent for Championship level sailing, with wind along the 245 axis all day and never faltering from the 10 knot average.
Six races make a regatta in this case, so the event is now official and the single throw out score now in effect which draws more clarity when looking for the eventual World Champion.
USA 1152 skippered by Keith Whittemore led the way for a majority of the first race (Race 5) which begun with no boats OCS. USA 979 Hardesty and AUS 1278 Hiatt stayed close by around the course.
At the sole leeward rounding of the race (a W-L-W-F course, two miles long), Whittemore and Hiatt took the right gate while Hardesty went around the left. Despite the left gate, Hardesty turned back to the right and navigated through the oncoming fleet to head up the right side. These three boats rounded the last weather mark in a pack which was 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. It looked like Whittemore hit the mark and did a penalty turn, letting the race slip away (he would still finish second).
On the final downwind leg Hardesty pulled away for the convincing victory, his third bullet of the series which would put him in great position to retake first place from USA 1227 Vince Brun. Brun managed another solid race with a seventh place finish by making up three spots on the second upwind leg of the race. Amazingly the seven for Brun was his worst finish at the time.
With conditions holding up well and the gray skies clearing, PRO Bill Stump and the R/C team quickly put together a second race of the day, Race 6 of the series and away we went on a 245 heading at 1.8 miles (Course 1, W-L-W-L-F).
In Race 6, a few boats were OCS but in general a clean start was had. Each mark rounding had a different set of leaders between the group of 1026 Drennan, 966 Laport, 986 Nelson, 904 Stout and 1281 Laffitte. At the final weather mark, USA 904 Will Stout had taken the lead which he would not give up, getting his first race win of the series. Match that with the fifth place finish for Stout in Race 5 and it was the best day by any team in the fleet on Wednesday. And after two finishes on Day 1 in the 30s, Stout and crew will be happy to find themselves in the top 10 today.
Regatta leaders Hardesty and Brun settled into the 10th / 11th positions around the first mark and played catch up all race. Hardesty made his way through the fleet to finish sixth, while Brun held position for the most part and finished 14th (current throwout score).
On a day similar to a golf tournament's 'moving day', the throwout allowed teams to scrap a bad race and make use of consistent success to solidify their placement amongst the regatta leaders.
AUS 1026 Noel Drennan and crew continued their very solid regatta with an 8 / 3 on the third day of racing to maintain a solid handle on third place overall by ditching their (21) in the first race on Monday, leaving them with no finish higher than nine to date. Fellow Aussie 1278 Michael Hiatt dropped his (36) from Tuesday and compiled a 6 / 8 on Wednesday to settle into fourth place.
In the biggest jump of the series, USA 666 Don Jesberg was able to scrap his (51) from Race 2 and finished in fourth place in both races on Wednesday to jump a dozen positions or so into fifth.
Others with good days on Day 3 were USA 969 Chris Bush with a 3 / 12 (currently sixth overall) and USA 1152 Keith Whittemore with a 2 / 16 (currently seventh overall).
On Thursday the Race Committee will look to get Race 7 complete on what will likely be a single race day as nine races is the maximum allowed for the series.
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