The first race on day 3 of the 2012 John Cootes Furniture A Class Australian Championships, being hosted by the Wangi Amateur Sailing Club was delayed until 2pm, by which time Australia's cricket captain Michael Clarke had reached 300 runs. It was coincidence but by then the east south easterly had lifted to six knots.
After a two hour delay and a general recall, PRO Tony Outteridge hoisted a black flag. A clear start for most of the fleet but not for Dirk de Ridder. His ‘need for speed’ was too great and he was black flagged.
James Spithill was the clear leader at the top mark with Glenn Ashby second. Next time around it was Stephen Brayshaw in the lead from Grant Pellew, Tom Slingsby, Jack Benson, Pieter-Jan Postman, Chris Cairns and Steve Brewin.
On the next top rounding Spithill sailed in on a long starboard lay line approach while Ashby came in fast on the port lay line and he grabbed the lead before the clearing mark. Behind them came Brayshaw, Nathan Outteridge and Brewin.
At the top mark for the final time Ashby led Brewin and Spithill. They finished in that order, ahead of Outteridge.
The wind had built to 11 knots by the start of the second race of the day, Race 6 of the series.
Ashby was on the pin. Outteridge just squeezed in one up from the pin, while Darren Bundock was four up the line. Ashby missed the first shift and at the top mark for the first time Lucas McDonald led Pellew, Outteridge, Jack Benson and Postman, ahead of Cairns. The second time round Brewin was leading veteran Scott Anderson, Chris Batenberg and Ashby.
At the top of the third beat it was Brewin ahead of Anderson, Spithill and Ashby. Down the final run Outteridge sailed through Ashby and Spithill to take third place.
First into the boat park was Steve Brewin and he was smiling. ’Happy to go 2, 1 today. Glenn had a brilliant first race; I guess I learned a bit watching how he sailed.
'In the second race I got out pretty well, with Outteridge and Spithill. Glenn was back a little, which made my life easier. I had a good first run and got the lead and disappeared.
‘I will have to win the last three races to have a chance of winning the 2012 title. One bad move, like I did yesterday, and the regatta is over.’
Glenn Ashby said ‘In the first race I managed to sneak away after two good beats and managed to consolidate downwind. In the second race I started at the pin and I had a beautiful start, but it went down about 10 degrees. Everyone got in a 15 degree lift and speared off. I took my medicine and was deep at the top. I finished fourth.
‘You needed to be much more aggressive and I was not, I should have gone for the corners. But I will take a four any day of the week in this high quality fleet.
‘Stevie (Brewin) and I always have a good tussle, let’s hope we can get some decent breeze tomorrow that we can sink our teeth into. It will be a lot of fun.’
Darren Bundock explained ‘It was a hard day. In the second race around the top mark I think I was back in the 40’s. On the first downwind I took 20 boats, in the next downwind another five and then slowly got up there. It was very patchy. You would just be sailing along and then completely stop and someone 50 metres above you was fully stretched on the wire.’
James Spithill agreed. ‘It was very shifty and pretty tactical. I wasn’t as fast as the other guys downwind but I was able to find a couple of shifts and just hang in there up the top.
‘For a while I didn’t even know if we would get a race in but I reckon Tony (PRO Tony Outteridge) is doing a great job. We got some great races and I am looking forward to tomorrow.’
Pieter-Jan Postman was second at the Finn Worlds at Perth 2011 and is enjoying his A-Cat experience. ‘I am new in the class and I’m a bit heavier at 103 kilos, about 20 or so more than Nathan (Outteridge).
‘The A-Cat is a great boat. It’s a totally different game (to the Finn) and you make different angles. Every day I learn a lot so I am really keen to get this boat under control. I only sailed it the first time six days ago.
‘I am having a lot of fun. It’s a great venue with good hosts. It’s fantastic and a really friendly atmosphere.’
Seven times A-Cat World Champion Glenn Ashby, dropping his last race fourth place, currently leads the series from 2011 A-Cat World Champion Steve Brewin. In third place is Darren Bundock, leading Nathan Outteridge on a count back.
Place Ties Sail No Bow No Skipper Div Sers Score Race 6 Race 5 Race 4 Race 3 Race 2 Race 1
1 AUS111 01 Glenn Ashby 6.0 [4.0] 1.0 1.0 2.0 1.0 1.0
2 AUS4 04 Steve Brewin 11.0 1.0 2.0 [6.0] 1.0 3.0 4.0
3 2.0S AUS888 88 Darren Bundock 19.0 8.0 [20.0] 2.0 4.0 2.0 3.0
4 AUS973 15 Nathan Outteridge 19.0 3.0 5.0 3.0 [7.0] 6.0 2.0
5 AUS975 12 James Spithill 27.0 5.0 3.0 4.0 6.0 9.0 [10.0]
6 AUS902 02 Scott Anderson GM 39.0 2.0 [25.0] 10.0 10.0 10.0 7.0
7 AUS308 03 Andrew Landenberger 46.0 [24.0] 12.0 13.0 8.0 7.0 6.0
8 AUS25 25 Stephen Brayshaw 55.0 16.0 10.0 7.0 13.0 [17.0] 9.0
9 5.0S AUS972 16 Tom Slingsby 56.0 23.0 [24.0] 8.0 5.0 5.0 15.0
10 AUS10 10 Brad Collett 56.0 [25.0] 11.0 15.0 14.0 8.0 8.0
Racing in the 2012 John Cootes Furniture A Class Australian Championships continues Friday January 6. Two races are scheduled with the final race on Saturday 7 January. www.a-cat.org.au