Mark Foy Trophy day four started early, the race committee opting for an early start after the previous day was lost due to lack of wind. Four races were scheduled and as the sailors arrived at the beach they were greated with the welcome sight of sunny skies and white horses on the waters off Sonderborg. With the shifty and gusty westerly wind blowing between 16 and 20 knots all but one team opted for the small rigs.
Race 3 got off to a prompt start. With the course set parallel and close to the Sonderborg shoreline, there was a battle between the pressure and windshift of the left side offshore versus the land effects on the wind near the beach on the right. What was clear, however is that the middle of the course was not the place to be and with half of the fleet opting for the left and half for the right, not everyone would be rewarded. Asko, helmed by Marcus Ashley-Jones, showed a clean pair of heels to the fleet leading up the left side of the course and sailing cleanly to take the win. Yandoo helmed by class chairman John 'Woody' Winning chased hard and finished in second just in front of Investec. This was the start of spectacular day for Yandoo, with overnight leaders Pica helmed by Jamie Mears falling victim to the fickle conditions to finish eighth.
Race 4 looked like a carbon copy of race one with early leaders favouring the left side. After action packed run that included capsises and collisions leaders split at the gate mark, mosty opting for the left hand side once more. With Yandoo and Pica both buried in the fleet this looked like the chance for the local heroes and event hosts Flemming and Soren Clausen on Original Chia to turn in a great result in conditions they love. American Howie Hamlin on CST Composites was also looking for his chance to make up places after a tough first day. But the viking weather gods had other ideas. Yandoo and Pica race off to the right and must have plucked some roses from one of the lovely gardens in the picutresque town of Sonderborg because they certainly came out smelling of them! A huge right shift launched them into the lead and they were not challenged. Investec managed to squeeze up the middle to round the top mark just in front of The Black Dog of Jarrod Simpson. A fast run to the finish saw Investec take third on the line. With the huge windshift accompanied by a moderating breeze some boats even found themselves outside the 15 minute time to finish, including previous race winners, Asko. Tricky conditions indeed.
Race 5 started as the breeze began to decrease. Liberty Team from hungary, who would be the only team drinking the big beers that night having selected the larger number 1 rig were clearly excited by the prospect. With the right side now paying, Yandoo took a clean start at the boat and turned it into a huge lead showing the previous race might not have been all luck. With a 2, 1,1 for the day and into the lead for the event the clearly marked a wonderful day in Denmark for the 50-something Australian. Back in the fleet there was a huge tussle for second to fifth with Mounts Bay skippered by Grant Rollerson coming through in to take second just ahead of CST Composites and CT Sailbattens who both pipped Pica on the line. Sadly for Liberty, although showing mastery of controlling the big rig power, they could only, manage eighth, showing clearly that it was the day of the little rigs to show their efficiency.
With the wind fading and three fast paced races counted, the race committee sent the fleet home for the day to enjoy once again the comfort and hospitality of the Sonderborg Yacht Club.
*The Mark Foy Trophy for 18ft skiffs is being hosted by the Sonderborg Yacht Club and sailed on the bay of Sonderborg, Denmark. Racing concludes 11th of June 2011.