Racing continued today off Blairgowrie Yacht Club on Port Phillip Bay in the IFDS World Championships.
This morning Fleet A got away in frustrating light winds again in the 4-5 knot range, Dan FITZGIBBON (AUS) missing his first win of the series to finish fifth in Race 5, but got his momentum back in the increasing winds in the ten knot range of Race 6 to grab another win.
Fitzgibbon, a 27 year old from Queensland, dropped his fifth placing, as a drop came into play after Race 6. He will have to hope that he can score two wins on the final day tomorrow, or that Zolton PEGAN (AUS) sailing in Fleet B has a bad race somewhere. Today was not the day though, Pegan, from NSW, won both races in Fleet B.
Mat BROWN (AUS) clocked his first win of the Sail Melbourne event in Fleet A, Race 5 today. A sports fanatic, the 20-year old West Australian quadriplegic has improved as this championship has gone on.
Brown's career in sailing started in 2001 and in 2003 he won the Access Dinghy State Championship, losing only one race. His win today has lifted him into equal second place with Bento AMARAL (POR). His worst result also came today, a 12 in Race 6 which he has dropped.
Equal second overall, Amaral continues his consistent racing, with a third today and his worst result in Race 6, a dropped sixth. Amaral will have to work hard to guard that second place.
The 34 year Wine Controller from Portugal was a keen sailor prior to breaking his neck whilst body surfing in 1994. Like a number of others at this event, he thought he would never sail again, but with Chris MITCHELL and Jackie KAY'S arrival in Portugal to promote Sailability, his life changed for the better.
"It was quite an excitement for me to sail again, before my accident I used to sail an Optimist. Now, I fit sailing into my busy life - I think life should be about variety, so I spend an equal amount of time with friends, skiing, working and sailing. The Liberty is quite thrilling to sail,"
Craig SCANLAN (AUS) improved his chances today too, with a 4-2 result, he is in fourth only two points behind the third placegetters. Scanlan, from NSW, is also a quadriplegic after a swimming accident.
Colin JOHANSON (AUS) enhanced his chances also, the 46 year-old Victorian quadriplegic posting his best results today, a second and third placing, putting him two places behind Scanlan. These results open the field up somewhat.
On the Fleet B course this afternoon, winds improved somewhat for the first time in a couple of days.
"This morning was light, but this afternoon, competitors sailed in nice 12-18 knot winds on flat seas, it was very pleasant,"
Blairgowrie's Chris WILSON said.
With only two races remaining, to be sailed tomorrow, Pegan looks unassailable, the winner being the lowest scorer from the two groups.
Peter THOMPSON (AUS) and Craig CLARKE (SA) went hard at it today to put themselves in second and third place overall in Fleet B. Thompson, from the ACT, finished his day with a 2-3 result for 11 points, Clarke, from South Australia, doing the same in reverse order for 15 points.
A sailor prior to his car accident 17 years ago which left him a quadriplegic, the energetic Clarke said he was glad to be back on the water.
The World Champion will be decided from the lowest points in both groups. Should there be a tie after the race drop, the Championship will be awarded to the most disabled competitor with the lowest score.
Racing in this Sail Melbourne event finishes on Port Phillip Bay tomorrow. Full results are available on the event website at the address below.