The podium places in the Etchells World Championship 2012 goes to three Australian teams after an intense nine-race battle on the offshore courses.
In first place overall was the Iron Lotus team of Tom King, Ivan Wheen, David Edwards and Owen McMahon. They just had to hold a top 14 or better place to win. This they did finishing a comfortable fifth in the last race held today.
Into second came the Magpie team of Graeme Taylor, Grant Simmer and Steve Jarvin. Taylor was looking for a hole-in-one today to knock King out his first place. He left the dock feeling reasonably comfortable about the challenge ahead. Unfortunately they found themselves caught up in a battle of 10 to 15 degree wind shifts which landed them a sixth in the last race.
Then in third came the Triad team of John Bertrand, Tom Slingsby and David Giles. Bertrand was already in third place going into today's race. He had to cover both Taylor and Roulette (Jud Smith) in the hope of moving up the scoreboard, but a poor start and 10th on the line cemented his third place.
The line honours prize today went to the Boat X team of Noel Drennan, Anthony Nossiter and Will McCarthy who sailed a superb race. It was a powerful finish for this team as they crossed the finish line over a minute ahead of second placegetter and former World Champion, Cameron Miles, racing with Grant Crowle and David Sampson. In third was the 2012 Australian Champion Fifteen team of David Clark, Andrew Smith and Alan Smith.
Today the race was off on the first gun for a 2.2 mile first beat on an axis of 010 and with a finish on the third work. There were three individual recalls - Iris III (Peter McNeill), Gelert (James Howells) and Gen XY (Matthew Chew).
Throughout the afternoon the breeze slowly built and swung 20 degrees forcing a course change at the bottom mark second time, to 030 degrees. There were several teams that struggled to pick and work the shifts. Drennan was one that seemed to finally find his momentum in the conditions.
King's strategy going into the last and critical race was to stay relaxed. "We've had a fantastic week and the worse we could do was third which would have been a great result we would have been happy with. The pressure was on John (Bertrand) and GT (Graeme Taylor) to have a great result if they were going to beat us. Even if they did that and we had a good race, we would have been fine.
"The plan was to try and get off the start line cleanly somewhere near them. If one of them was having a good race, then stick close to them."
At the starboard pin end the team had a few nervous moments on the gun as the Individual Recall flag went up and they waited for just a few seconds to hear if they were over. They were clear and the race was on.
"I gather John didn't get off the start line particularly well and GT got a clean start up above us and was just a little bit ahead of us early on in the race. We stayed with him. We were comfortable enough with where we were to push a little bit left of him on the first beat and then we had a nice shift towards the top and that put us and him right up in the leading bunch.
"He had a lot of work to do and was obviously he was going to finish third and John wasn't going to win at that point so we stayed near GT the rest of the race and tried to stay out of his way. We both kept enough space in it.
"About half way up the last work we finally got the boat going really quickly and had enough of good shifts and got in front of them near the finish,"
Unprompted, King was very complimentary of the on-course race management. Guiding this international fleet in continually shifty winds challenged PRO Ross Wilson and his support team by RSYS' Rob Ridley. "The race management has been absolutely faultless."