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Vaikobi 2024 LEADERBOARD

SB20 Australian National Championship at Port Dalrymple Yacht Club - Day 1

by Jane Austin / SB20AUS Media 23 Mar 08:52 PDT 23-25 March 2024
Nutcracker leads from Ares Racing in the first day of racing in the SB20 Australian Championship © Jane Austin / SB20AUS Media

Nutcracker, skippered by Rob Davis from the Sandringham Yacht Club, has delivered a crushing blow to the opposition on Day One of the SB20 Australian Championship under way at Beauty Point in northeast Tasmania.

Davis, sailing with David Chapman and Jock Calvert, is sitting on the top of the leaderboard on seven points, five points ahead of Ares Racing (Paul McCartney), with Karabos (Nick Rogers) one point further back on 13 points.

This is Davis's first time helming an SB20 but with Chapman calling tactics and trimming main, the experience was not dissimilar to sailing his RS21, showcasing this team's prowess in one design racing.

Nutcracker showed great consistency on the race track with one win and three second places and will be hoping to continue this form into Day Two.

"We have had a fantastic day of sailing - beautiful conditions and champagne sailing at a lovely venue. It was very tight and tough racing, you couldn't give an inch anywhere on the course," said Davis.

Race Officer Peter Sluce of the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club was also very happy with the conditions for the start of the championship with 10 to 12 knot north westerly breezes, blue skies and top-class sailors on the course.

As predicted, in an area renowned for strong tides, tacticians had to decide whether to go with the wind shifts or maximise the current and this gave the local boats a bit of a boost, in particular Delphinus, skippered by Nick McElwee, which was in equal third after two races but a broken main halyard saw them miss Races Three and Four.

McElwee, along with Tom Cooper and Josh Jones, is sailing for the first time in an SB20 together but their local knowledge was certainly an advantage in today's racing. They know the winds and the tides like the back of their hands, experience gleaned from sailing together for many years, most recently on the Thomson 8 sportsboat, CuttingEDGE. McElwee is also looking forward to the stronger forecast.

"We prefer the shiftier conditions...there will be bullets of wind coming off the shore - we prefer more of a tactical race rather than a boat speed race. The boat has been sailing really well - it was quick - we were matching pace and height upwind and we were going really well downwind," said Cooper.

The Ares Racing Team was disappointed with their results today but looking forward to the heavier conditions forecast for Sunday and Monday and with one discard after six races, expect to be back in top form.

"It's a very tricky race track - we were in touch with the top end of the fleet so we were pleased with that and came away with a win, but it was easy to lose five places and more difficult to get two or three back...but we are backing ourselves to do well in the breeze [on Sunday and Monday]," said McCartney Karabos had a glammer start to the day winning Race One of the championship, but a couple of deep results compounded by a brush with the top mark forcing them to do a penalty turn, saw them drop down the leaderboard.

Other strong performers on Day One included Wicked, skippered by 2024 Youth World Champion, Paige Caldecoat, who is sitting in fourth place on 15 points and is also lead female team.

"There's tricky conditions here with the tides, some pretty big shifts and some funkiness happening, but I think we managed it pretty well," said Caldecoat.

Caldecoat is usually on the bow but has transitioned seamlessly from bow to helm. "It's definitely interesting being at the back of the boat and not being in control, but it's a good experience, and if anything, it shows you just how much you learn when you are in another position," said Caldecoat.

Racing gets under way at 1030 on Sunday and Monday with a maximum of six races remaining in the regatta and a discard after the sixth race has been sailed.

Follow the action on SB20AUS Facebook and results via the PDYC here.

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