Fremantle just keeps on delivering, another beautiful blue sky day and another two races in lighter 7 - 10 knot SW breezes. The water may be clear enough to see the bottom but there was quite a lot of weed floating around so a number of boats were seen clearing their foils before the start of race 5 of the series. The fleet left Fremantle Sailing Club for race 6 due to start at 12 noon. As the breeze was a little lighter the leg distance was reduced to 1.3nm using course 1 which is a sausage followed by a triangle.
As has become a regular occurrence the fleet was well spread upwind. Graham Vials and Chris Turner (GBR) led briefly at the windward mark but Grant Alderson and Luke Paterson (RFBYC/FSC) overtook by the time they reached the downwind gate. Also closing fast was Andrew and Anne Knowles from (South of Perth YC) who seemed to excel in the lighter conditions. Other local sailors Rob Beurteaux and Simon Wilder (SoPYC / East Fremantle YC) were making an appearance in the top 10. The two Australian boats pulled away on the triangle legs to take positions one and two, whilst Vials and Turner had to settle for third. Beurteaux / Wilder finished fourth and Ian Pinnell and Ian Cadwallader (GBR) in fifth.
Race 6 had to go through the motions, first a U flag caught out FFI Commodore Chris Waples (GBR) and then two subsequent Black flag starts caught out a batch of competing crews. Vials and Turner were amongst the culprits heading home for an early bath. Finally around 1415 hrs race 6 got started using course 3, a two lap windward / leeward course with a longer 1.5nm leg length. The soft breeze just held but did give more importance to getting clear lanes on the upwind legs and pressure on the downwind legs.
At the top of the course Pinnell / Cadwallader rounded just ahead of Alderson / Paterson with Nick Jerwood / Brad Sheridan (SoPYC/FSC) back in the mix. Beurteaux / Wilder and local lads Lachy Gilmour and Ryan Donaldson were amongst the leaders again. Alderson / Paterson got away downwind to lead at the gate with Jerwood / Sheridan closing on their stern. Positions 3 to 5 were however shuffling. Another RFBYC crew Greg ‘Levo’ Leaversuch and Peter Barblett came into contention for a podium finish. The two lead boats separated downwind and with the breeze softening it looked like it could go either way but when they converged Alderson / Paterson passed through the bottom gate a couple of boat lengths ahead of Jerwood / Sheridan to take the gun for the second time in the day and take the overall lead in the regatta. Gilmour / Donaldson finished an excellent third to maintain their healthy position overall.
Queenslanders Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston (sailing under a HKG flag) sailed their best race of the regatta finishing sixth in race 5. New Zealanders, Murray Gilbert and Jonathan Burgess from Royal Akarana YC in Auckland, had their best result of the regatta scoring an 8th in race 6.
Now that the only race discard comes into play Alderson / Paterson lead the rankings by 1 point from Vials / Turner with Pinnell / Cadwallader in third overall. There is then a small gap in points to Hamish Mackay and Andrew Lawson (GBR) in fourth and Jerwood / Sheridan in fifth.
It is all to play for with one more race to decide the Australian Championship which is scheduled for a warning signal at 1200 noon. The advanced forecast is for a shifty morning breeze which is due to build in the afternoon and swing to the SW with a lot more guts.
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by Jonny Fullerton - Regatta Services