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6 January 2005, 09:51 am
Hill New Leader
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Australian Contender Championships
Melbourne, Australia

Blame the Contenders - ever since their Australian Championship started on Port Phillip Bay at Sail Melbourne, the weather has gone down the tubes. Local sailor, Tim HILL (VIC), came ashore around lunchtime a happy man - his third place in Race Four today enough to give him a one point overall lead from another local, Matt HOSIE (VIC), who finished second.
They were two of the few able for the fresh to frightening conditions on Port Phillip. The weather deteriorated to the point where Race Officials from Sandringham Yacht Club held the one-person trapeze boats ashore, eventually abandoning further attempts at racing, leaving the Championship behind schedule.

Leading going into today's race, a wet and cold John CASSIDY (WA) came ashore after his worst race of the series, a tenth, which has dropped him down to fourth overall.

'They're all in front of me now. I'm from Perth - we sail on the Swan River - nice and flat and never like this,' he said of the 20-25 knots that gusted to 35 at times on big seas.

'I had two big swims, as did most of the boats behind me, so it was a case of who stayed afloat got the best places. It's lucky these boats are so well built,' he laughed.

While Cassidy is usually the strongest of the West Australian sailors, Paul GREEN (WA) is in third place in front of Cassidy , only needing a ninth place to overtake his mate. 'He's a really good sailor, you have to watch him,' Cassidy continued.

Marcus HAMILTON (VIC) won Race Five today - another local - and a telling sign of just how difficult the gusts and seaway were on Port Phillip today - the locals excelled.

Hamilton is now sixth overall, but 16 points away from the current leader. However, a race drop will come into play after Race Six, which may change the results somewhat.

The Contenders continue their Championship tomorrow - weather permitting, of course!

Provisional top five results:

Pos Name Nation Points
1 Tim HILL AUS 12
2 Matt HOSIE AUS 13
3 Paul GREEN AUS 15

Di Pearson (As Amended by ISAF)
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