Australia's Glenn ASHBY performed brilliantly today in races four, five and six of the A-Cat Worlds at Belmont, on Lake Macquarie to extend his overall lead and close in on his sixth championship title.
All three races for the 94-boat fleet were sailed in similar 10-12 knots conditions, perfect for these high performance catamarans.
The fourth race of the 2009 A-Cat Worlds was one for the history books with three Australian Tornado (multihull) Olympic champions competing. Glenn ASHBY
(AUS), the Beijing Olympic Tornado silver medallist (with Darren BUNDOCK) won the race from Gosford's Scott ANDERSON
, the Australian 1984 Olympic Tornado silver medallist and the Australian 1996 Olympic Tornado bronze medallist Andrew LANDENBERGER
ASHBY won the second race of the day, race five of the series, from Bob BAIER
(GER), the top German A-Cat sailor and Steve BREWIN (AUS), the second ranked Australian.
In the third race (race six), BAIER won from ASHBY with Dave BREWER (AUS) in third.
With racing back on schedule after the first day was blown out due to high winds and with six races in the series now completed, tomorrow marked as the reserve day, has been declared a lay day.
One drop has been taken into consideration in the progressive scores. In the case of ASHBY this is a lowly third.
With one further drop coming into play after the next three races, at this point in the regatta it appears that ASHBY only has to get another 'keeper' to become unbeatable and claim the A-Cat World Championship title for the sixth time.
Here is how the day unfolded…
At the start of race four, ASHBY and BREWIN started right, near the Committee boat.
LANDENBERGER was first to the bottom mark, followed by ASHBY and BREWIN, who had come in from the right hand side of the course. James SPITHILL
(AUS) picked up 30 seconds around the right hand mark, zipping across from the left to avoid gas from the oncoming fleet.
The wind shifted fifteen degrees to the right, causing Principal Race Officer MOOR to shorten the race at the bottom mark after two laps.
First across the line was ASHBY, followed by ANDERSON, LANDENBERGER, BREWIN, Ben DEED (AUS), and SPITHILL.
As race five began there was a 10-degree wind shift to the left, to 080 degrees, as the fleet came down the run; BREWIN was first to the bottom mark ahead of BAIER. Next came Manuel CALAVIA
(ESP), then ASHBY, Tom SLINGSBY
(AUS), Brad COLLETT (AUS) and Nathan OUTTERIDGE
At the second bottom mark BAIER lead the fleet, followed by ASHBY and CALAVIA.
A big finish from ASHBY produced another win for the champion sailor. Next came BAIER followed by BREWIN, CALAVIA, ANDERSON, BREWER and OUTTERIDGE.
In race six there was, in the last minute, a stack up of boats above the Committee boat.
The Spaniard CALAVIA started above ASHBY. Below him was BREWIN and this group won the start.
Early in the first beat there was a shift to the right and on the run the breeze shifted back again. Germany's BAIER was the major beneficiary; BREWIN the big loser as he lost eight places in the lap. BAIER led ASHBY round the bottom mark with BREWER in third place.
By the next lap around, these three boats had cleared away from the fleet and stayed in the same order until the finish.
BAIER had a convincing win finishing about 100 metres ahead of ASHBY. BREWER came a very solid third ahead of Luc DU BOIS
(SUI) and CALAVIA.
Full results at www.a-catworlds2009.org.au