Australia's Guy BANCROFT and Nick DARLOW hold a narrow four point lead going into the final day of the B14 World Championship in Hobart, Australia.
After eight races in held out of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Guy BANCROFT and Nick DARLOW (AUS) lie on 18 points, four ahead of fellow Australians Nick RICHARDSON and Alan NICHOLAS, with Great Britain's Mark BARNES and Pete NICHOLSON just three points further back.
Friday was an action packed day in Hobart, with the fleet on the water early for a morning start to try and recover the two-race deficit on the schedule. It was an anxious wait whilst the wind filled in for the 50 teams.
For race five, with a light SE wind filling in across the start the fleet were a little too eager to get underway, with the tide pushing the fleet over the line leading to four general recalls and 11 boats, including a number of the top teams falling foul of the black flag.
With the start successfully underway on the fifth attempt, the fleet split left and right with BARNES and NICHOLSON leading the pack in from the left maintaining their lead over lap two from Chris BINES and Dave GIBBONS (GBR) and RICHARDSON and NICHOLAS.
Race six and the fleet had learned to behave and got away cleanly at the first attempt. With many teams predicting the shift on the left of course being caught out by a big right hand shift. Dave HAYES and Sean DWYER (GBR) capitalised on a good start from the committee boat end and led in from the right hand side by a big margin maintaining this to finish first. BANCROFT and DARLOW took second with the consistent RICHARDSON and NICHOLAS in third.
Race seven and with the breeze slowly building the fleet again got away cleanly with a break left and right for the leading packs. Special mention must go to Tim HARRISON and Johnny RADCLIFFE (GBR) for spectacularly failing to cross the fleet on Port!!
Alan DAVIS and Toby BARNSLEY-DALE (GBR) looked good leading the pack out the right with BINES and GIBBONS and Mark WATTS and George MORRIS (GBR) coming in hard from the left to lead one, two round the top mark. Down the run the lead pack split at the bottom with WATTS and MORRIS leading round the bottom mark from BANCROFT and DARLOW and Richie REYNOLDS and Lissa MCMILLAN (AUS).
With a consistent breeze up the final beat BINES and GIBBONS lead from WATTS and MORRIS. Losing out at the finish by a nose to WATTS and MORRIS was REYNOLDS and MCMILLAN in third.
Race eight and with another clean start the fleet again split up the beat. The first run saw a big hole with REYNOLDS and MCMILLAN capitalising to take a good lead at the bottom mark from Nick CRAIG and Matt JOHNSON (GBR). REYNOLDS and MCMILLAN continued to finish strongly in first from CRAIG and JOHNSON and Peter RAY and Karen BRANCH (AUS).
Many sore heads were seen on the race course following last night's return of the Sambuca challenge pub crawl sponsored by Kelvin! Possibly explaining the fleet's inability to start in the first race of the day!
With today's conditions providing more consistency, great racing and many of the event favourites recovering their form tomorrow is set for a big finale! Will the British Team retain the ashes or will the Aussies finally get their hands on them!
Results - click here