Just one race today on yet another hot late summer day in Fremantle as the regatta passes the halfway point. The fleet was held ashore for a few hours until a soft sea breeze perked up about midday. Race 7 begun in 7 - 11 knots from the SW. A course 6 was set which consisted of two windward / leeward legs followed by a beat to the finish. The race was started under black flag after one general recall.
It has become usual that the fleet are spread over a massive distance after only half the 1.3nm upwind leg has been sailed. At one point the right looked good then the trusty left looked good and just sometimes tacking on the shifts up the middle seems to pay. On this occasion new faces appeared first at the top mark, a British crew Terry Scutcher and Chris Hewkin representing Dubai Offshore SC and Burton/Shotley. They were followed by Graham Vials and Chris Turner (GBR) and more new faces in the kiwi crew of Wayne Avery and Ross Bannan from Manly SC in Auckland.
Pressure was a bit weak on the run back down to the gate but this was were the leaders split, two went right and two went left with Lachy Gilmour and Ryan Donaldson (AUS) playing the middle. The left seemed to pay dividends with a new leader at the windward mark. Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan (AUS) rounded clear of Scutcher and Hewkin with Gilmour and Donaldson moving up to third.
Another long run with the big fleet split on each gybe. Places remained the same at the bottom gate with one more upwind to sail to the finish. By now it was Jerwood / Sheridan’s job to put a loose cover on the leaders to claim their first regatta win of the series. Scutcher and Hewkin were just able to defend second with Gilmour and Donaldson in third. Vials / Turner finished fourth and Grant Alderson and Luke Paterson (AUS) in fifth.
The kiwi crew Avery / Bannan did a great job to finish 7th, their best result of the championship. Both the Irish crew Lavery / Green and South African’s Campbell Alexander and Ralph Thomas were the unlucky recipients of the black flag dropping down the overall leaderboard.
As the championship goes past the half way mark after 7 races with 1 discard, Vials / Turner remain in the lead overall but the gap is closing to second placed Jerwood / Sheridan. The other GBR boat Ian Pinnell and Ian Cadwallader remain third overall.
The fleet will enjoy an evening at Gage Roads Brewery on the Fremantle Harbour wall followed by daily presentations at the WA Maritime Museum. There is a lay day on Wednesday and racing resumes on Thursday.
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by Jonny Fullerton - Regatta Services