Day two of racing at the Petuna Bell Bay Aluminium B14 Australian Championships got underway in an easing moderate northerly breeze of around 5-10 knots. Leaders from yesterdays racing Nick Richardson and Adrian Beswick were wearing the Suenami Leaders Jersey after winning the last race of day one. Photos: Jack Wells
Race Officer, Peter Sluce set an ambitiously long course and despite waiting for the breeze to settle a significant shift forced him to put out the green change of course mark for lap two and back to the main top mark for the final lap to shorten things up in a softening breeze. The fleet split left and right in the first race once things got under way and out the front at the top mark after hitting the hard right was Isaac Mearns and Tom Killalea on their boat Miss Conduct. Mearns usually has his feet on two hulled boats called catamarans but couldn’t resist the urge to jump into the B14 class to compete in a World Championships, both him and Tom have had a haphazard training regime in the lead up to the championships which consisted of cancelled training due to wind, a delaminated hull and to top it off a broken boom. Despite all this they managed to hold onto 12th position at the finish which is a solid effort considering the time they have had in the boat. Mearns was closely followed by Simon and Josh Baker in their boat Power Play, only one of two boats in the fleet with a carbon mast. The Bakers are brothers who sail out of the Deviot Sailing Club.
Fast behind these guys was the front bunch in the regatta after day one mixed in with a combination of light weight combinations ready to strike when conditions eased. By the second lap and following the wind shift to the North, the British champion combination of Nick Craig and Toby Lewis sailing Harken Sandline managed to slide into first position and finished 30 seconds clear to claim the Suenami Leaders Jersey of the next light weight combination of Richie Reynolds and Lissa McMillan who sail in The Nude from New South Wales. Rounding out the top three for the race was the British team of Mark Barnes and his local crew, Lauren Keil sailing Team Gul/ North Sails.
Race two was dominated by light weights sailing Nude (Reynolds and McMillan) finishing just under a minute clear of local favourites, The Hitcher (Hunt/Price) and Bonework (The Cunninghams) who both snuck through Rocketship on the final Downwind to take out second and third leaving Rocketship languishing in light air following a gybe out into pressure on the middle island side of the course and losing out on the final leg to finish in fourth. The Southern Tas Combination of Kirsty Gray and Julian Salter sailing Pinky and the Brain were also closing in fast on Rocketship and were only 15 seconds away in fifth position. Bonus (Bancroft/Chapman) was a bit further back and crossed tight for sixth with fellow Victorian Rivals, Snatch (Garmston/Darlow) a second back in seventh.
The final Race of the day got underway in a strengthening but still patchy Northerly Breeze. Bonus (Bancroft/Chapman) lead the fleet off the line with Rocketship (Richardson/Beswick) tailing just behind. After the first windward, Rocketship managed to get the lead from Bonus and held this into the second lap before getting rolled by Bonus on the second downwind after some sloppy crew work from Beswick (Still attempting to masquerade as a crew). Bonus went on to win the race convincingly whilst the breeze continued to soften and Harken/Sandline (Craig/Lewis) got through Rocketship (Richardson/Beswick) on the final downwind or second place after Rocketship had to gybe to clear a wineglass in their spinnaker in softening breeze. Lucky for Rocketship, they were able to find the breeze and get moving to fend off the fast approaching Hitcher (Hunt/Price) to finish third only 7 seconds ahead of Hitcher who finished fourth over the line.
It as for certain that day one’s racing favoured the heavier crews and the same could be said for the lighter crews as racing today levelled the playing field and opened the door for the light weight flyers. Overall the biggest pain on the score sheet was felt by Two Victorian Combinations in Craig Garmston and Nick Darlow sailing their boat Snatch who fell back after a race drop from 2nd after yesterdays sailing back into 6th overall and Father Son Combination, Ian and David Cunningham sailing Bonework after taking a hit following a DNS in the last race of day one and having a shocker 13th in the first race has not allowed them to capitalise on their solid first two races from yesterday and send them into the final day with two drops already named up.
Rocketship (Richardson/Beswick) lead into the final day of racing with 11 points, a 4 point buffer over The Hitcher (Hunt/Price) on 15 points and Bonus (Bancroft/Chapman) two points further back on 17 points. British Combination Harken/Sandline (Craig andn Lewis) are on 19 points before a bigger jump back to the next British combination Team Gul/North Sails (Barnes/Keil) on 26 points.
The forecast for tomorrow is for freshening westerly winds of around 20 to 25 knots. This will be above the limits of a number of crews competing and will undoubtedly push the best and most experienced crews to their limits. Conditions will undoubtedly suit the heavier combinations of Richardson and Beswick in Rocketship, the Cunninghams in Bonework, Garmston and Darlow in Snatch along with class legend Bancroft and his crew Chapman. Other heavy weather specialists including Chris Wells and Peter Girling on Epic, Father Son Combination Glen and Dylan Cardwell on The Bandit and Brothers Allen and Colin Graham sailing Toxic will be ones to watch for in these conditions.
To date the Suenami Leaders Jersey has been shared around a number of crews with no crew wearing the vest more than once. In the boat park talk suggests that superstition could be getting the better of those wearing the vests. With Current National Champion Bancroft donning the vest for race 7 tomorrow the question remains, can he hold it for a back to back result? Tune in to find out.
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