Mike and Gemma McIntyre have moved up to second place overall at the Flying 15 World Championship after winning Race 7, the first gold fleet race. Graham Vials and Chris Turner keep their overall lead in the championship after coming second in Race7 and Jeremy Davy and Simon Childs sit third.
Now into the end game, the championship has three races left and at one point Monday it looked as if Mike and Gemma would make a significant inroad into the lead of Vials and Turner. After two hours they crossed the line for their third victory of the series, only for Vials and Turner to move from fourth to take second place on the final beat and maintain a healthy seven point lead.
The McIntyre's had started from the committee boat end, avoiding the late header that caught several of the top crews, and went out to sea looking for the sea breeze. They tacked on the header only to see the inshore boats come out with the breeze, led by Russell Peters and Tim Hall. Losing 200 meters, they rounded 11 or 12. Then in what Mike describes as the race winning move, they gybe-set at the spreader mark and in five minutes went from 12th to 1st.
Leading from Jeremy Davy and Simon Childs they held a long tack to the RH corner and near the mark were headed, putting those that went to seaward in trouble. On the run they gybe-set again on port gybe and as the sea breeze came in again, onto starboard. On the third beat with the breeze now up to 14 knots they went out to sea, covering Davy and Childs and Australians David Tucker and Matt Summers finishing with a 40 second lead.
For Vials and Turner it was a great recovery performance. Seventh at the first mark, they misjudged the tide and hit the mark, after turns they were in tenth place. Slowly making places they were able to round the final mark in fourth and then took Tucker and Summers, and Andy McKee and Richard Jones to snatch second.
With three races left and a further discard, it is looking like a case of who blinks first for the two leaders. Vials and Turner started with a run of 3,1,1,1, before hitting a 7, DSQ and recovering with Monday's 2nd. Mike and Gemma started slower, with a 9, 26, 5, then raised their game with a 1, 5, 1, 1. Time is running out for anyone to challenge the top two.
Racing continues with one race per day for the Gold and Blue fleets, finishing on Thursday.