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4 August 2004, 10:00 am
Lake Sailor Holds Narrow Lead
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Etchells World Championship
Mooloolaba, Queensland

Lake Macquarie sailmaker Peter MCNEILL holds a narrow overall points lead after today's fourth race of the ACE Etchells World Championship, being sailed off Moolooolaba on the Queensland Sunshine Coast.
Steering Tom Pepper XVIII, McNeill is two points clear of former World Champion Cameron MILES, sailing Pacesetter from the Pittwater fleet, while third overall is the Masters sailor from Melbourne, Bruce MCBRIAR, skippering Fast Forward.

In a series of fluctuating fortunes in the changeable winds and sea conditions on this large bay of the Pacific Ocean, these three and Tasmanian Andrew HUNN, sailing Zulu, are the only skippers in the 85 boat fleet who have managed a top 15 place in each race.

McNeill finished 13th in provisional results for race 4, while Miles narrowed the points lead with a fifth place. McBriar placed ninth while Hunn was 14th.

Today's race, sailed in a south-westerly breeze that varied from 5 knots at the weather mark close inshore to 15 knots at the leeward mark, 2.5 miles further to seaward, saw a fine win by Michael MANFORD from Perth, sailing Crocodile, from Brisbane skipper John Warlow, skippering Blinky 3 Eyed Fish, and New Zealander Cameron APPLETON at the helm of Embers.

Michael MANFORD is a son of another prominent Perth Etchells sailor, Tony MANFORD, and is a past Australian Champion. He placed fifth in the 2003 Etchells World Championship in Auckland.

However, none of these top three placegetters in race four figure high on the pointscore as in previous races they have finished well back in the fleet. Manford's win has lifted him from 35 to 23 in standings, Warlow is 35 and Appleton is 31.

Four more races remain to be sailed over the next three days to decide the 2004 Champion in this prestigious one-design keelboat class which has attracted some of the finest sailors in the world, America's Cup legends, Olympians and past Etchells World Champions.

In what seems certain to be a high-scoring regatta, consistency will almost certainly determine the 2004 Champion. So far there have been four different winners of the four heats.

Today, Manford led from start to finish, getting a good start on the leeward side of the mid-line starters boat and playing the windshifts well to round just ahead of Miles with a well-timed roll tack right on the weather mark.

He opened up his lead on the spinnaker run, electing to go right on the second beat to windward, a decision that saw him sail into better wind pressure. Although strongly challenged near the weather mark, he held his lead on the second spinnaker run to maintain a handy break on the final windward leg of the 12 mile course to finish with a winning margin of about one minute.

Dennis CONNER, skippering Menace, sailed a good race today, placing 8 which has lifted him to 14 overall while his former America's Cup rival John BERTRAND in Two Saints and a Magpie finished 20 to hold 7 place overall.

Overall Top Ten

Pos Nation Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 Tot
1 AUS P. McNeill, P. Turner & G. Torpy 2 8 11 13 34
2 AUS C. Miles, C. Links & D. Sampson 11 12 8 5 36
3 AUS B. McBriar, T. Bond & J. Casley 12 10 9 9 40
4 AUS A. Hunn, S. McCallum & D. Connor 7 7 19 14 47
5 AUS J. Plante, N. Garland, G. Bonouvrie & M. Day 13 1 29 18 61
6 AUS G. Collings, S. Young & J. Gunther 14 23 16 12 65
7 AUS J. Bertrand, R. Allanson & M. Richards 37 4 13 20 74
8 AUS D. Clark, J. Whittaker & A. Smith 24 21 22 10 77
9 AUS J. Muir, L. Prescott & S. Lambourne 6 61 7 6 80
10 AUS C. Pratt, G. Evans & N. Paterson 9 40 6 25 80
Peter Campbell (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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