2001 World Championship at Durban South Africa - Race Reports
The race started at the 4th attempt and the early leader was Barry and Sue Parkin (GBR) who started at the pin and worked out a 100m lead by Mark 1. second at this stage was Grant Alderson and Dean McAullay (Aus), followed by Mike Hart and Chris Gowers (GBR) who had in fact been caught under the black flag. The wind fluctuated in the 4 - 8 knot range and moved around about a 50 degree range. Charles Apthorp and Andy Weatherspoon took the lead at the second weather mark after having ripped his
spinnaker and then headed hard right while repairing it. The Parkins dropped to seventh before picking boats off on the next round to take the lead again at the final wing mark.
The first Hong Kong boat was Howard Williams and Christian Donagh in seventh place, and Grant Alderson and Dean Mcaullay (AUS) followed in eight place. The first Irish boat was Darren Martin and Simon Murray in 9th place,and the first New Zealand boat was Aaron Goodmanson and Allister Rowlands in 14th. 8 boats in total fell foul of the black flag including regatta favourites Steve Goacher and Phil Evans (GBR) and Mike Hart and Chris Gowers (GBR).
5 protests were held following the racing - those protesting their disqualification under the black flag rule had their protests dismissed, Charles Apthorp and Nils Bluman were given redress for a gybe mark replacement and were given 0 and 24 points respectively. Their placings still stand as fourth and twenty-fourth.
Race 2 of the 13th International Flying Fifteen Worlds Championships was sailed in a light southerly wind that gradually shifted around to the South East and lightened. After several delays and recalls the fleet got away and the early leader was HKG 3650 David and Joyce Thewliss closely followed by IRL 3621 Darren Martin and Simon Murray. Those who had chosen to go right, the popular option for the previous day, were left to chase. On the second beat AUS 3718 Grant Alderson and Dean McAullay went right and climbed from 4th to 1st place. By now the wind was very light with boats hardly moving as they attempted to reach the finish. Second to finish was NZL 3544, Peter Dallimore and Richard Watkins. In third was GBR 3648 Mike Hart and Chris Gowers, and in 4th place having gained several places and adding to their 3rd the day before were Geoff and Tom Bayliss (GBR).
Race 3 was sailed in the strongest breeze to date with a South Westerly wind of 20 knots gusting 30. After one false start the fleet got away cleanly under a black flag. First to the weather mark was GBR3648 Mike Hart and Chris Gowers with a lead of 50 yards over defending world champions GBR 3721, Steve Goacher and Phil Evans, followed by South African Nationals champions Charles Apthorp and Andy Weatherspoon. There followed two hectic reaches with broaches and capsizes and gear tested to the limits. The gybe mark was particularly difficult in the 8 foot seas. A run and a beat followed and at the shortened course finish the
order was Hart then Goacher, Apthorp and Peter Gale of Australia fourth. The overall position is extremely open with the day's leaders Barry and Sue Parkin finishing in the late teens and Geoff and Tom Bayliss also finishing out of the first 10.
Sailed in a brisk 20 knot South Westerly wind. GBR 3721 Steve Goacher/Phil Evans sailed a steady race to maintain their challenge for a fourth World Title. On the first beat the leaders went inshore and at the weather mark AUS 3662 Peter Gale/Chris Mason led by six boat lengths from Goacher/Evans. Third round was GBR 3638 Howard Green/Ian Preston, followed by GBR 3591 Charles Apthorp/Andy Weatherspoon. Two fast reaches in a lumpy sea brought Goacher/Evans into the lead which they held to the finish. Gale/Mason retained second place with Apthorp/Weatherspoon third. Alan Bax/Bill Masterson fourth and Grant Alderson/Dean McAullay (AUS) came through from 7th at the gybe mark to finish fifth. With one discard Apthorp leads from Mike Hart/Chris Gowers 6th in todays heat. The win for Goacher/Evans brings them up to 3rd overall with three races to go.
Race day 5 of the International Flying Fifteen World Championships saw contenders for the championships being towed out into Durban Bay under sultry overcast purple skies.
A fitful southerly breeze blew intermittently but never settled long enough for the Race Offical, Gavin Smith to set a course. After a 2 hour wait the fleet was relieved to see the abandon signal and sail/tow back to shore.
A heavy, lumpy swell blown up by the North Easterly wind provided spectacular offwind sailing and difficult windward work on a day when the wind stayed at 15 - 20 knots. After a delay and a recall race 5 was underway on a fair beat, GBR3591 Charles Apthorp led around the weather mark followed by GBR3711 (Alan Bax and Bill Masterman), third was GBR3648 Mike Hart and Chris Gowers. Steve Goacher and Phil Evans rounded 10th and gained places to round in 3rd place at the leeward mark after 2 fast reaches. On the second beat Patrick Harris and Joe Boy (RSA) hit the right hand corner and led around the second weather mark.
A helter-skelter run followed, and positions maintained on the 3rd beat. On the last triangle Goacher and Evans tore past Apthorp and also took Patrick Harris before the finish, which was shortened before the last beat.
After a short wait, race 6 commenced in similar lumpy conditions with hard beats and flying downwind legs. AUS 3619 (Ronald Packer and Peter Mudford) led from the right hand side. Second round was GBR3648 (Hart and Gowers) third Goacher and Evans. A big battle on the reach led to a pile up at the gybe mark from which GBR 3721 (Goacher and Evans) emerged at top speed. GBR 3648 (Hart / Gowers) dropped their spinnaker as the wind shifted and gained considerably. GBR 3721 (Goacher and Evans), however, using their superior off wind speed kept their lead to the finish. Second was Hart and Gowers, and third Packer and Mudford.
At the start of Race 7, three boats had a chance to win the World championships. Reigning World Champions Steve Goacher and Phil Evans held the points advantage, but were discarding an Black Flag DSQ and so couldn't afford any errors. The seventh race was sailed in lumpy North Easterly with 15-20 knots of wind blowing across the wave on an overcast but warm April day. On the first beat out to sea the left side paid and the first mark leader was IRL 3621 Darren Martin and Simon Murray. The first of the leading contenders was GBR 3591 Charles Apthorp and Andy Weatherspoon. Meanwhile astern, Goacher and Evans had to do penalty turns following an incident with Ron Packer/ Peter Mudford (AUS 3619). A little way astern of Apthorp were GBR 3648 Hart/ Gowers. On the first 2 reaches Apthorp climbed to fifth place while Goacher and Hart were stuck in the park.
On the second beat the Irish pair on IRL 3621 kept their lead while Apthorp progressed to fourth and on the run gained two more places. On the 3rd beat Martin was passed by Packer and Apthorp dropped back to 4th, behind Packer, Martin and Bax. In the end Apthorp moved up to second, which was sufficient to win the World Championships, provided that Goacher was unable to pass 5 boats up the last beat . Just before the finish Hart and Gowers came out of the left hand corner but Apthorp/Weatherspoon covered them to the finish, to take the World title from Goacher, with Hart in third place. The finishing order for the final race was Packer/ Mudford; Apthorp/ Weatherspoon; Goodmanson/Rolands and Hart/ Gowers fourth.