Twenty four knot gusts pumped down the race course for a full day of racing at the 2011 Zhik Moth Worlds' first day of the Final Series.
Rarely dropping below a healthy 18 knot east by northeasterly, sailors across the fleet had their share of stacks, crashes and comebacks that has opened up the scorecard.
(AUS) was hot out the starting gate in Race 1, holding a sizable lead over a contentious second place held by Bradley Funk
(USA) and Scott Babbage
(AUS). Funk spilled, and with record speed Babbage launched ahead of Outteridge in the final lap. However a bad rounding by Babbage handed Outteridge the win.
(AUS), Bora Gulari
(USA) and John Harris
(AUS) had good pace around the course and carried their momentum into Race 2. Gulari sizzled up the first beat of Race 2, swapping leads with Outteridge and Harris, but was ultimately edged out by both, finishing half a second behind Harris for third. An unfortunate collision with another competitor sent Peter Burling
(NZL) ashore with a ripped sail, while Outteridge took another bullet.
Burling, who faced a swim-a-thon in Race 1, sent a message to the fleet by taking an early command in Race 3 that he held into the finish. Tom Slingsby
(AUS) fifth at the first mark, climbed through the fleet surfacing with a second, and Turner proved most consistent closing with a record of 3, 4, 3. Outteridge was deep off the line but ripped through the fleet to finish fourth to take the initiative on the first day of the Final Series.
The Wing-sail "piloted" by Charlie McKee lit up the first leg of the course in seventh place when it exploded at the mark. Pit crew and Wing-engineer Rob Patterson (CAN) raced in for a rig-swap to get McKee back on the line for Race 2 without a second to spare.
Damage took its toll on Funk and Dalton Bergan
(USA). Funk lost a rudder, Bergan a rig and now carries two DNFs.
The ladies finished all races, with Emma Aspington
(SWE) now leading the four point spread.
(AUS) leads silver, but it was standout James Phare (GBR) who won the day with a 2, 2, 1, and 15 year-old Jack Sherring
(AUS) finished with a fourth, now 12th overall.
Racers take a lay-day tomorrow and event sponsors SP-High Modulus will be busy providing carbon for the flurry of repairs. More action will follow on Thursday, with the Final Series to close 14 January 2011.
All the action can be followed at www.mothworlds.org
including race updates, news, results, daily video highlights and excellent imagery from Thierry Martinez.