At the Australian Etchells Championship today, the Triad team of John Bertrand, Andrew Palfrey and Grant Simmer continued their dominance, winning their second consecutive race.
Under the management of Southport Yacht Club and on the waters offshore of the Gold Coast, Queensland, Day three of the championship was held in overcast, shifty conditions.
PRO Kevin Wilson started off trying to lay a course for about 340 degrees. The breeze then swung to 300, then 0 degrees before going right. Finally as the breeze seemed to settle at about 020, the race committee got the fleet away.
PRO Kevin Wilson then signaled a change of course as the breeze swung left back to 010 in eight to 12 knots.
Peter McNeill’s Iris III team went into today’s race with a comfortable set of results for the first four races – 6/1/1/5 – totalling 13 points. He had everything to gain and a lot to lose today as he looked at John Bertrand’s Triad team holding a strong overall lead and David Clark’s Fifteen team in second on 11 points, before any drops. It was going to be a day where mistakes were going to be costly
'We got a really good start down at the pin. It wasn’t very crowded down there. When we noticed there wasn’t going to be many boats around and we felt the wind might, probably, do a bit of a left, so the left hand side of the track would be a better side to be.
'We nailed the start and then headed right out, close to the lay line on the port hand side. John Bertrand started maybe mid-line. Apparently he got a really good start as well. Then he tacked before the lay line. We proceeded to spend a fair bit of time getting out to the mark on port tack.
'He came back at us right at the top mark. We had to tack to because he was on starboard, but we were on lay so we got around the mark first. He was pretty close to us.
Etchells Nationals Championship 2013, lined up on the run on day three. Peter McNeill’s Iris III (1325), Matthew Chews’ Gen XY (864) and John Bertrand’s Triad (1383). - Michael Jennings Click Here to view large photo
'We were going down the run and we were hoping we would skip away from him, but he came back at us and just held us out on the starboard gybe. He overlayed the rounding mark so he could just get a nice angle and break the over-lap. Then it was a case of us getting our kite down too late, mainsail not coming and jib not coming on. He got in front of us.
'We then decided to focus on covering our third place boat which was Chewie (Matthew Chew). We had a good little tussle up the next beat to stay in front of him then and down the run,' McNeill said.
The first five across the line in today’s only race was Bertrand, McNeill, Chew, Clark and Cameron Miles’s The Hole Way.
Just after Race one was finished the breeze went around to the north and then went north-west with lightning and thunder over hinterland. Next it came out of about due west and died. The frustrated PRO said; 'we sat around with nothing for an hour and a half. I told them that if there was no breeze by 2.30pm, I would have them all heading home. Most of them were sitting at the breakwater ready to go home.'
At 2.30pm the Wilson called it quits for the day. Just as he was making the radio call to postpone Race six, Wilson said: 'Murphy came along. A nice little northerly started to fill in of about 10 or 11 knots.'
McNeill said the racing is not over yet with three races to go. 'He (Bertrand) is looking stronger by the minute with a win today. We need to get him to fall back a bit and get a few boats between us for the next couple of races. Hopefully that will happen so we can have a go at him on the last day.'
On the overall pointscore and with one drop, Bertrand leads with six points, McNeill is on nine, Clark is on 11, Chew is on 14 and in fifth is Miles on 17 points.
At mid-fleet, the Funky Gold Medina Gold Coast team of Kelvin Holdt, Matthew Percy and youth sailor Sophie Lahey had a great race today. 'We’re pretty happy with 14th. We have had a couple of really bad races so to come eighth around the top mark and in with Peter McNeill and Bertrand was pretty good. The difference today was we had a glamour start,' Holdt said.
OD results Start : 11:31
||Peter Mc Neill
||THE HOLE WAY
||SHOULD'A GONE LEFT
||FUNKY COLD MEDINA
||THE BOAT THAT ROCKED
||1278 HEAVEN CAN WAIT
||TOUCH PAUSE ENGAGE
||WALK ON WATER
Two races have been scheduled for tomorrow with the Warning Signal at 1100 hours.
by Tracey Johnstone
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8:16 AM Thu 14 Nov 2013GMT
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