Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
20 Dec 14
Australia's premier ocean race has always had an international flavour; Captain Illingworth, who started the whole Sydney Hobart thing was, after all, an Englishman.
Jim Gale, RSHYR media
Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails) and Finian Maynard both made flying starts to the winners' final, but it was Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) who showed phenomenal speed to burst into the lead by the first mark. However, being maxed on his 9.6m and going at full tilt meant that the terminator ran wide in the opening gybe allowing Maynard, Patrick Diethelm (Patrik / Loft Sails) and Angulo all to overtake. Dunkerbeck then found himself in dirty wind which cost him dearly as from that point onwards he was only able to fight back into seventh. Meanwhile, the battle at the top was an exciting affair as Diethelm broke into the lead after the exit of the first gybe. The Swiss maestros time at the front didn't last long though as Maynard turned on the afterburners, combined with a brilliant gybe to storm into the lead after the third gybe - a position he wouldn't relinquish as he claimed the first bullet of the day. Diethelm managed to hold on to second place, whilst Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) managed to overtake Angulo to claim third place.
"The wind arrived much earlier than normal, so we were all rushing to get to the start line. Best wind so far, consistent 12-15 knots. 9.4m Machine and RRD 129l and had a good start at the pin with josh, found myself with good speed and arrived with Dunky, good gybe but Diethelm better gybe. Second mark best gybe in long time boom to boom harness to harness and managed to overtake Diethelm from there I was in control of the race. Felt absolutely great considering the hard winter I have had."
The second winners' final of the day proved to be the most exciting heat of the day, with Alberto Menegatti and Micah Buzianis at the forefront of the action. The Italian crossed the line in first place, but Buzianis started with more speed marginally behind him. By the opening mark the American's greater speed across the line had proved pivotal as he now held the lead. Buzianis looked as though he was cruising to victory, but Menegatti was gaining on the American on each reach. Buzianis still held the lead after the final gybe, but Menegatti continued to reel him in. Last year's third place finisher tried to force Menegatti upwind but, the Italian continued to rapidly gain on him until it came down to a nail biting photo finish - which Menegatti crucially clinched by a board length as they crossed the finish line. Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) took on Antoine Albeau in the battle for third and Quentel eventually came out on top, leaving the reigning world champion to settle for fourth, but still safely at the top of the overall event rankings.
Elsewhere in the third elimination there were a few shocks in the opening round. First of all Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) - who had been showing terrific speed - made a massive error as he went over the line early to be disqualified from heat one. Other upsets saw the likes of Andrea Rosati (RRD / Point-7), Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North) and Pascal Toselli (Tabou / Point-7) all take early exits.
It wasn't plain sailing in the quarterfinals either as further shocks occurred - Patrick Diethelm - who finished second in race three - was knocked out in heat ten after being a little too eager to cross the start line. Furthermore Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) also took an early exit after narrowly missing out in fifth place. Andrea Cucchi (Patrik / Point-7) and Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) also failed to qualify for the semifinals on this occasion.
The fourth race was started, but fluctuant winds made it impossible to finish more than the three heats, which were completed thus far, and the top seeds involved in the opening three heats, were successfully able to navigate their way into the quarterfinals.
Tomorrow's skippers' meeting will be held at 10:30am with the action commencing at 11am if conditions allow. As we've seen throughout the week so far the local effect plays a much more significant role in the wind from the forecast, so we are very likely to be racing again tomorrow.
Results After Elimination Three
1 Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2 Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
3 Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails)
4 Matteo Iachino (F2 / Challenger Sails / AL360)
5 Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne)
Scope The Action
For information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, navigate to www.pwaworldtour.com