Day three of the 29er Worlds in Kingston, Ontario, Canada saw the conclusion of the qualifying series in ideal sailing conditions.
The Kingston Automatic Thermal blew away all the dire forecasts of rain and light winds. In a series of eight races for the day, the 29ers added their own sparkle to the sun spattered waters often reaching across the course at speeds in the 13-15 knot range in breeze that settled in at 11 to 16 knots. If you haven't already done so, dial up www.29erworlds.org for photos, live coverage and results. The day was stunning with 29ers just flying across the blue lake water. Mark roundings and finishes were nothing short of spectacular leaving the spectators just in awe!
The increase in the wind brought some new faces into the lead. Japan, Denmark and USA moved forward while the Australians managed a top three boat finish in race number 6. The wind also cranked up the competitive juices as several starts posted general recalls that progressed next to the I Flag and then to the Black Flag. All starts here have been run under the new timing system in the 2001-04 Racing Rules of Sailing.
Race 7 got off with only an individual recall but no boats turned back. Three boats were over early. Australia 2 sailed a brilliant race. She finished well ahead of the rest only to experience the sickening silence of no gun at the line yielding the crushing realization of OCS (On Course Side) at the start. At this regatta, there is no loud hail from the committee boat for competitors over early and, of course, there are no radios on the 29ers.
On the course itself, boat handling skills were tested all day long. Even in this fleet, a number of boats went over. On the other hand, certain take downs and mark roundings were a ballet of precision and speed. The chute/pole dousing system of this skiff design is simple and proved all day long terrifically effective. The crews that kept their boats deadly flat going to weather consistently climbed above the competition.
At the end of the day, the 25 boat Gold Fleet was set. Each crew that sailed this day, however, grew hugely in experience. When they return home, no matter where they rank, they will ALL have advanced their sailing skills by a quantum leap.
The top 25 boats have now qualified for the Gold Fleet.
Top 10, Gold Fleet:
1 GBR 543 PINK JOHN Tom Weeks RAF 16 points
2 GBR 489 GIMSON JOHN Simon Marks 16 points
3 AUS 509 OUTTERIDGE NATHAN Grant Rose 17 points
4 NZL 273 KENNEDY SCOTT Mike Bassett 18 points
5 AUS 18 TURNER JOSEPH Charles Dorron 22 points
6 NZL 122 WOOLLEY GEOFFREY Scott Wilkinson 22 points
7 AUS 2 WINNING JOHN Euan McNicol 26 points
8 USA 525 SMYTHE CHARLIE Dan Brandt 31 points
9 GBR 518 HOPSON ALEX Nick Murphy 34 points
10 GBR 571 CLAYSON EDD Ali Sutor 35 points