24th of January 2005, Australia, Oceanic Championships

Oceanic Campionships - Melbourne - Day 2.
Behind the scenes.. Day 3. Race Director notes from the tower.

by Ian Fox

Day 3 dawned overcast and grey, not cold nor stormy but a gloomy sort of cover that would burn off as the morning progressed. With Race crew on hand at 8 am, the early decision was to watch the weather and if as expected it would be a lunchtime start, then a postponement for 2 or 3 hours would be made to enable a decent break, some opportunity for those who wished to leave the race site for a few hours to do so - and in any case it eased the minds of those present that they could spend a few easy hours after the day before until they needed to go into race mode. ( am and the decision was GO with postponement. A few sailors grumbled (??) about why we were doing that, well, it's pretty clear now eh ? Wind was sea breeze, only building evenly to sailable around lunchtime as the cloud burnt off. A casual morning recounting some of the stories and sagas of the day before. Funny how a bit of hard data sorted out the factional debate/s about wind speeds and course angle/s. When that data drops, the B/S stops. By the end of it, the consensus on the day 2 racing was actually pretty good. Challenging, but good.

1200 and the breeze is on the way, a beautiful 20-25 'C and a few go out for a light wind cruise, just to test the wind and create some pre race anxiety in the other. 1230 and AP down, it's all go for a 1300 start on the button. Wind in at 12-15 from the SE and pulling more S, very steady and very even, looks like a little fill for the afternoon but not ballistic again. There are silent screams of "Hooray" at that news. But about three times the number of enquiries today about "what's the wind going to do ??" Once bitten ??

Course for the day was decided to be a windward - return with gate ends top and bottom (optional rounding side choice) and a final wing mark to the finish line at the club/beach. That allowed some more tactical moves as with shifts the riders had the choice of taking either gate at either end.

RACE 1 was GO at 1304 and All Clear off the line, POL10 hi and fast (surprised ?) but AUS12 and AUS080 out even faster but not the same height. Top mark at 4m40 and it was the old routine; POL10/DEN111/AUS10 in the Wojtek and Jespers show !*m05 at the bottom and POL10 around ahead of DEN111 8m20 and AUS10 8m50. AUS080 and AUS12 making serious ground on AUS10 down to the bottom. Back at the top, POL10 around 13m05 and JV at 13m47. It's a fast downwind run to the wingmark and a laydown for the crowd as he rounds it into the final run to the beach. Home in 16m36, JV @ 17m33 and JO @ 18m27.

RACE 2 starts at 1405 and this time it's two OCS, Big Gyorgy overcooks it but isn't sure that it wasn't a single and sails on. Bad call. T1T knows he's gone and rounds for redemption and a catchup chase. Field spreads out quite a lot this time in the first leg, a lot of Port tack guys going off into no mans land- can't see they will get the edge going out wide compared to into the Bay and that's basically confirmed as the race unfolds. POL 10 is back from the front but powerfully high and pulls it up to the top mark nicely at 4m40 followed by JV, JO Mike Nelson and Dave Holt. Down the course again but watch this - POL10 around the wing mark, not the gate. Oh oh. JV and JO more intent on "the man" rather than the course go down the same hole. Exiting the jibe Wojtek accelerates away, but realises quick and jibes around back towards the gate mark. JO a bit further back sees earlier what's going on and although going the wrong way corrects early of Wojtek's que. JV seems to have not realised and is trucking upwind on his own at full throttle. Looking around he finally realises it's too god and ohhhhhh sh1t. By the time he's back down to the gate NZL 1 and 151 are thru, as is the slightly delayed JO and Dave Holt and Big Gyorgy (OCS) are coming hard too. Back to the top at 13m34 and the order is POL10 from AUS10 with AUS 12 and DEN111 catching. Downwind, DEN111 finds speed from nowhere and still gets across the line into P2 from JO and Mike Nelson. Wojtek home for first at 16m58.

RACE 3 at 1505 and the wind has filled ever so slightly to around 15-16 kts on course. Water still pretty calm. Course tuned for angle and length. perfect. Routine drag race to the top in 5m50 sees POL10 leading DEN111 and AUS 10. Downwind AUS10 finds some extra speed and overtakes DEN111. They split as either takes alternate sides to the course and when they come together at the bottom its POL10 9m13, DEN111 again in front of AUS10 and JP Tobin slots a cheeky one across the front of Sam Parker going into the mark, Sam opens the throttle exiting the marks and shows he's got the speed to take it back on the upwind drag. Man on man, good stuff. Back at the top Wojtek greets the boat crew at 15m10 and the routine has established behind DEN111 leading AUS10. POL 10 laysdown a slalom jibe into the final turn and brings it home in 18m55 with Jesper V some 40 seconds back then Jesper Orth but Sam Parker is close and going for it !

RACE4 Fourth and Final for the day. 1600 hrs it's go time and Chris Ting again surprises with great speed away from the line. Must be something as he's carrying more water ballast in his board than anyone could in a weight jacket ! JP Tobin heads out very fast too and looks like he means business on this one ! Wojtek again well back. But well high. %m15 and Wojtek around the top, Jesper V in close attendance but this time it's JP who is in the next slot. Bottom mark Wojtek and Jesper V have settled into their rhythm and are around with Wojtek at 8m50 wind has eased ever so slightly again, more back to R1 and R2 strength again but still rock steady and water relatively flat for Elwood sea breeze. Sean O'Brien is moving well and not far off the battle with Jesper Orth and JPTobin. Back to the top in 12m35 , Wojtek turns it for home one last time for the day and you can feel the pressure come off his rather worn hands as he neatly backs his board fin first (raised) over the sandbars onto the beach with a finish time of 15m50. Jesper V at 16m45 and Jesper Orth, then JP Tobin ahead of Sean, Tom Ashley and Dave Holt. Good NZ result with 3 out of top 7.

That's it for a classic and smooth days sailing for Day 3. Tomorrow looks a bit difficult to predict, wind yes, but offshore morning may or not be useable. And Hot 37'c predicted. One day and four races still to run if we can get them in, and on the previous days form that should be quite realistic. No guesses on the winner. Or the top 3. Could be a tight race for the few behind that. See you then.

Cheers !

Check out AUS911 Allison and AUS02 Dave Morehead GPS Tracks and Speeds plots..

-> ONWATER shots gallery at the event official website...