Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships eleventh day of racing proved challenging due to the strong offshore winds.
Big day for Canada on the RSX Course today. Zachary Plavsic finished first in race three today. This is the first time a Canadian has won a race in the RSX class at a World Championship. Way to go Zac!!!
Zac's coach Kevin Stittle was very pleased for Zac. Stittle said ' Zac was in control. It was not just a lucky race. He really worked for it. He did not round the first mark first but just seemed to get on the right side of every shift and catch every puff as it rolled down the course. He just nailed everything.'
He then had an 11th in race four (second race of the day). Zac is sitting in 10th overall. Looks like things are coming together for Zac. 11th and 12th place are very close behind at only one point, but there are still lots of races and Zac should qualify for the championship easily. Finishing the fleet racing in the top 10 will lock in a spot for Zac on the Canadian Olympic Team for London. David Hayes had a decent day with a 26 and 25 today to put him in 32nd overall.
Star: Clarke/Bjorn had a better day today with a seven and a 15 to put them into eighth overall. The big news in this fleet is that Ian Percy of Great Britain retired from the first race today after receiving a DSQ for a Rule 42 violation also known as the kinetics or pumping rule. Depending on the class there are rules about what sort of kinetics you can and cannot use. He then failed to start the second race today, claiming he had a back injury. He was clearly one of the contenders for the World Title so this is a big blow for England. The rumor going around at the Press lounge is that he has retired because he is feeling persecuted for being flagged for a rule 42 violation. No one is sure if he will be back on the water tomorrow.
Richard Clarke explained that it was a very difficult day of sailing. They saw wind speeds through a wide range of 6-20 knots, mostly from a southerly direction that was slightly offshore at times. It fluctuated greatly throughout the day and there were large and often unpredictable wind shifts. Evidently, it was not a day for sailing conservatively. As Richard put it 'you could not even buy a shift out there today'. Still they moved up a little and with six races to go they are certainly within striking distance of the top five. The Top four are starting to extend - barring any further 'boarding party' incidents. Now that the top Brit has injured his back, this seems unlikely. A top 10 finish here would lock in a spot for Clarke/Bjorn for the London Games. Tomorrow looks like the Doctor will return and these conditions will tend to favour the fast and conservative sailors like Clarke/Bjorn.
Lada and Inkpen CAN 1286 on route to second place in Race six - ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011 - John Curtis Click Here to view large photo
49'er: The top ranked Canadian team of Gordon Cook and Hunter Lowden slipped to 33rd overall today with a 17th, sixth and 18th. The big news for Canada was that Johathan Lada and Daniel Inkpen pulled off a second in race four today. Boat teams managed to have their best and worst races so far today. This is a testament to the challenging conditions which saw large shifts and a wide range of wind velocities. The leaders often had enormous leads in the 49'er class from catching the right puff at the right time. This is especially noticeable in the 49'er fleet because the difference between a boat in 10 knots of wind and one in 15 knots can sometimes be more than five knots. This causes the fleet to get quite strung out and can also lead to frequent reshuffling of the fleet.
According to Canadian 49'er coach Jason Rhodes, his teams suffered from trying to be too conservative. This really hurts when the conditions are so wild in terms of wind shifts and isolated puffs of wind. Rhodes just wishes that Gordo could 'figure out the physics behind these conditions.' Gordon Cook is probably one of the smartest sailors on the team. He has an Engineering Physics degree and usually sails by the numbers rather than the 'seat of his pants'. Today was seat of the pants sailing on the 49'er course.
Laser Class: I did not get to the Laser course today. Tom Slingsby of Australia is absolutely dominating with a three first's and a sixth.
Chris Dold repeated his third place in race two yesterday in today's first race. This is a superb result and shows that he does not have far to go before breaking into that top group overall. He now sits 23rd after four races David Wight slipped back to 41st with a 12 and a 22 today. A top 10 would lock in an Olympic berth but it looks like this is not realistic. It does look like Chris will make the Championship fleet and Wright is on the edge. The top 47 move into the Championship fleet after six races. The Championship fleet will sail four more races and the top 10 from that fleet sail the medal race on Sunday. If no Canadian Laser sailor is in the top 10 here the Olympic Trials go to a combination of this overall score and the overall scores from Miami Olympic Classes regatta in January. Lots of time left for Wright to close the gap but Dold will not be easy to beat.
Women's 470: The teams of Dana Archibald and Karen Dexter continued to struggle with speed problems but are in great spirits and seems to be learning lots every day. Today they felt overpowered and will trust this instinct next time and rake their mast back more to compensate.
Wind Athletes Canada website Perth 2011 website
Billy Gooderham and Ian Hogan rounding a mark - ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011 - John Curtis