It was an early start for the fleet on day 3 of the 2023 Flying Fifteen World Championship held on another hot and sunny day off the coast of Fremantle. The forecast of an early Easterly which was due to shut down by lunchtime forced the PRO Kevin Wilson to set an early start time of 0905 hrs. As it turned out it was a wise decision as two windward / leeward races were completed just before the wind died.
Race 5 of the championship started at the second attempt in a shifty 10 - 11 knots off the land. With such large separation it was almost impossible to predict which boat would get to the top mark in the lead. As it turned out it was race 3 winners Lachy Gilmour and Ryan Donaldson (AUS) who briefly led from Ian Pinnell and Ian Cadwallader (GBR) and Grant Alderson and Luke Paterson.(AUS). The downwind was quite a slog in the faint breeze. Places remained the same for the top three but Graham Vials and Chris Turner (GBR) were sniffing at the sterns in front of them.
On the second lap Gilmour / Donaldson dropped back whilst Michael Wilson and Peter Greenhalgh from the Isle of Man YC in the UK and Philippa Packer and Dean McAullay (AUS) pounced. Both turned the port gate mark for the short sprint to the finish. The British crew just got past with a little squirt of pressure just boat lengths from the line to take second. Sadly for Philippa and Dean they were shown on the board on the back of the committee boat as UFD so unable to count their result. Another local boat from Royal Freshwater Bay YC, David Yu and Chris Nelson snuck through the lead bunch to grab fourth, easily their best result of this world championship.
Race 6 of the championship had to wait a short while because the Easterly looked to be fading but again the patience of the RO paid off. A quick course alteration and off we went again with another windward / leeward course. This time the breeze was beginning to struggle and the shifts seem to be getting bigger.
After the start it was again very difficult to predict the front boats with an enormous separation across the fleet. So much so that a complete new set of boats led on the first lap. Bill Chard and Josh Preater from Chew Valley Lake SC in the UK led from Kim Peaker and Neil White from South of Perth YC and light wind specialists Andrew and Anne Knowles from the same club.
By the gate on the first lap Philippa Packer and Dean McAullay (RFBYC) were making amends for their last race U flag by taking the lead as the breeze again threatened to collapse. Much to their delight the course was shortened at the top of the windward leg to enable the pair from the organising club to take their first winning gun of this world championship.
Bill Chard and Josh Preater finished an awesome second and third went to the Knowles family. Current regatta leaders Vials and Turner climbed back up to fourth and Kim Peaker and Neil White a regatta best fifth place. Other notable performances include Craig and Ian Rainey from Gippsland Lakes YC in Victoria finishing 8th. Several of the top 10 boats in the rankings were deep in the fleet thus counting as their first discarded result.
So after 6 races of a total of 12 races, one discard comes into play. Graham Vials and Chris Turner (GBR) lead on 10 points net from the two Ian’s, Pinnell and Cadwallader (GBR) on 19 points and Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan (AUS) also on 19 points.
On day 4 of the championship only one race is scheduled with a planned start time of 12 noon. The advanced forecast is for more light shifty breezes.
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by Jonny Fullerton - Regatta Services