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Tornado Worlds: Two wins all but secure World title

by Richard Gladwell 9 Jan 02:40 PST 9 January 2019

A late arriving seabreeze was a surprise visitor on the penultimate day of the 2019 Int Tornado Worlds presented by Candida.

It arrived just before 4.00pm - the race start time set by 2021 America's Cup organisers. Today's conditions vindicated that decision.

The Australian crew of Brett Burvill and Max Puttman made short work of the 23 boat fleet on Day 4, scoring two wins from the two races sailed.

After a delay of two and a half hours waiting for a sea breeze that strangely would not fill in, racing got underway in a 5-6kt Northerly breeze, which swung and freshened as the day wore out. Racing was shortened to just two rounds of the windward leeward course in order to get Race 8 away - which happened just before 5.00pm in a freshening breeze of 12-15kts with plenty of sheep in the paddock (whitecaps).

Two competitors received alphabet scores from the second start of Race 7 after the "U" flag was flown by the race committee, aware that time was of the essence if two races were to be held. While ebbing tide could be partially blamed for the sailors starting enthusiasm, it was in its dying stage of outflow. The record for starting attempts off Takapuna in conditions that prevailed today - outgoing tide and a seabreeze - is 15, set in an OK Dinghy Worlds in 1977, before the race officials gave up and headed home.

With two wins from the racing today, Burvill and Puttman (AUS) have five wins from eight races sailed, and have an 11pt lead over second placed Jorg Steiner and Michael Gloor (SUI).

Normally that would have been sufficient for the Australian crew to have the series all but sewn up, needing to only sail one of the two races scheduled for the final day on Thursday. However being DSQ'd as a result of a port and starboard incident in Race 4 means they have to sail both races in the series and mathematically at least have a chance they will not secure their first world championship title in the former Olympic catamaran.

The defending champions Iordanis Paschalidis and Konstantinos Trigkonis (GRE) who have won the last seven world titles in the class are not sailing in Auckland. Burvill and Puttman placed second overall in the 2018 World Championships sailed in La Grande Motte, France, and have so dominated the 2019 Worlds that, barring mishaps, they should be crowned new world champions on Thursday afternoon.

The second placed crew of Jorg Steiner and Michael Gloor (SUI) are a comfortable 11pts behind the series leaders and 13pts ahead of the Mixed Youth crew of Estela Jentsch and Daniel Brown (GER). They started the day with a second place in the general recalled Race 7 but returned a 15th place in the fresh breeze that prevailed for Race 8. That chopped their lead to just 6pts over the menacing double Olympic medalist Rex Sellers sailing with son Brett. After recovering from two alphabet scores on Day 2 of the worlds, the now top Kiwi crew finished a very countable sixth and third in today's racing.

With the forecast for the Final day picked to be a 10-15kts NE seabreeze, the Kiwi father and son team must be a good chance, barring mishaps, of being on the medal podium on Thursday.

The previously leading New Zealand crew of Julian Tankard and Simon Cooke had the misfortune to attempt to sail astern of a classic yacht under motor, towing a second classic yacht - a 26ft long traditional mullet boat - which was on a long submerged tow line, that was invisible to those on the water. Neither vessel was displaying signals that the second vessel was in fact under tow, and not as appeared, to be motoring in convoy behind the larger.

Tankard and Cooke could not race as a result of the mishap and received two alphabet scores for the day. A later redress claim to the International Jury was unsuccessful.

For the provisional results and points click here

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