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Sail Melbourne- Southerly change causes abandonment in Invited classes

by Richard Gladwell on 2 Dec 2013
Sail Melbourne 2013 - Invited classes get ready to race. Richard Gladwell

Racing got under way in the Invited Classes at Sail Melbourne 2013, in a moderate northerly breeze, and very warm temperatures making an excellent start to the regatta. But a southerly change late in the afternoon, created mayhem in the fleets and racing was eventually abandoned for the day.

A total of ten classes are competing in Sail Melbourne, which is sailed in conjunction with the ISAF Sailing World Cup for the Olympic classes.

On the course today off Sandringham Yacht Club, just south of Port Melbourne, with the cityscape providing a distant backdrop.

Two of the Invited Classes raced today, with the Laser 4.7 sailing in the first and second sessions, and the Laser Radial Men sailing in the afternoon.

Lachie Dare sailing in the Laser Radial 4.7, placed third in the first race of the day for the Laser 4.7’s, and was lying in the same place in the second race of the day when the predicted southerly change came through blowing at 15-20kts.

'We had a really tricky day,' explained Laser Radial Mens’ competitor Cullen Le Roy (NZL). 'We had really shift conditions. 'I was happy enough with my third in the first race, but the second was abandoned with after 180 degree windshift.'

West Australian, Tristan Brown was a clear winner of the first race, and was also leading the second race when the shift came through.

Race official Kevin Wilson takes up the story: 'We started in a beautiful northerly, and when setting up for the second session in the afternoon it came out of the south. The Laser Radial Mens were abandoned after the race started, but the competitors mis-read the committee boat signals and headed for the shore, thinking the day was abandoned. The ISAF IRO then decided that discretion was the order of the day, and that we weren’t going to get the competitors back for more racing, and so he abandoned for the day.'

The 15kt southerly change was predicted for 6.00pm but came in 30 minutes early, causing a significant and very welcome temperature drop to the late teens from the mid-thirties.

The Laser Radial Men and Laser 4.7 classes will have to sail three races tomorrow, Tuesday.
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