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23 September 2002, 11:29 am
Ashby's near perfect Tour De Force wins 2002 A-Class World Championships
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A-Class World Championship
Marthas Vineyard

Glen Ashby delivered a spectacular performance winning the Exact Software 2002 A Class World Championship with a nearly perfect score of 9 points.
His victory was achieved in conditions that ranged from the bottom to the top of the wind range that demanded the sailors show their skills in all conditions. Glen Ashby's performance demonstrated his range and maturity, it was a true "tour de force".

On day one, a strong cold front moving east from the Great Lakes toward New England generated winds that ranged up to 24 knots, with gusts as high as 28 knots. Racing was postponed until mid-afternoon, as the Race Committee waited for the winds to fall below the 22 knot maximum specified in the A-Class Championship Rules. Unfortunately, the breeze remained above the racing limit, and racing was abandoned for the day.

The eastward moving cold front reached New England on day two of the championship and ran into the remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna. Winds were out of the southwest at 21-26 knots throughout the morning, and particularly gusty during the several rain showers that moved across the Vineyard. Racing was postponed the Race Committee waited for the rain squalls to end. Postponement ended at 2:30 and one race was completed in wind that ranged from 15-20 knots.

Glen Ashby (AUS), Scott Anderson (AUS), Lars Guck (USA), Tim Kirkham (AUS), and Steve Brewin (AUS) took the top 5 finishing positions.

The first race of day three got underway as scheduled, except for a general recall. On the second try, the fleet got away cleanly in a north-easterly 10-12 knots. Most boats looked for the predicted veer to the right, but instead the breeze backed to the north and the left side of the course paid early. After the first lap, the breeze returned to 30 degrees and trended right thereafter. It was a race that required good judgment.

At the end, the top 5 were: Glen Ashby (AUS), Scott Anderson (AUS), Pete Melvin (USA), Lars Guck (USA), and Charlie Ogletree (USA).

The second race followed promptly, but as the skies cleared (a welcome sight) the wind became more variable and the velocity ranged from 7-12 knots. Still the fast boats proved to be the smart boats and the leaders of the Championship began to emerge.

The top 5: Steve Brewin (AUS), Glen Ashby (AUS), Mark Sellnau (USA), Mitch Booth (NED), and Scott Anderson (AUS).

Day four was characterised by three starts, one abandonment, and two completed races under sunny skies and a decaying northeast gradient wind that veered right all day until a southeast breeze filled in after 1500.

The first try of the day was abandoned at the end of the first leg as the breeze at 30 degrees dissipated altogether. The fleet wended its way back to the starting area and shot the breeze while waiting for one. It came after 1400 as the wind veered and two races were completed in 6 - 9 knots of east south east breeze that ended the day in the southeast.

At the end of Race 4, the top 5 were: Charlie Ogletree (USA), Ben Hall (USA), Pete Melvin (USA), and Greg Goodall (AUS).

The top 5 in race 5: Glen Ashby (AUS), Steve Brewin (AUS), Charlie Ogletree (USA), Tim Kirkham (AUS), and Pete Melvin (USA).

Glen Ashby continued to dominate this Championship on day five, winning both Race 6 and Race 7. After a discard he has 5 wins and 1 second place finish. Martha's Vineyard enjoyed one its fine September days: dry air, clear skies, a breeze that came up in the southwest and provided ideal conditions of 10-15 knots.

The leaders of this Championship jumped on the opportunity. Glen Ashby, Steve Brewin, Scott Anderson, Lars Guck, and Tim Kirkham lead the fleet. And, Dave Brewer (AUS) found his form taking back to back fifth places.

Saving the best for last, the Exact Software 2002 A-Class World Championship was concluded with a great sailing day. The high pressure moved east of the Vineyard established a moderate south to southwest gradient. The wind on the race-course increased throughout the morning, building to 10 - 15 knots by mid-day, and increasing to 14 - 19 knots by mid-afternoon. The Race Committee took advantage of the fine sailing conditions and scheduled 2 races, ensuring that the Championship would complete all 9 scheduled races.

Glen Ashby continued to deliver a spectacular performance, winning both races and the Championship... a fitting end to a great regatta. Glen's 7 first place finishes and 1 second place finish gave him a nearly perfect score of 9 points. And, his victory was achieved in conditions that ranged from the bottom to the top of the wind range. This Championship demanded that the sailors show their skills in all conditions. Glen Ashby's performance demonstrated his range and maturity, it was a true "tour de force".

Scott Anderson climbed past Steve Brewin to claim second place overall by taking 2 second place finishes in the final races. Steve Brewin held onto third place easily, but his 12th and 8th place finishes made the last day his toughest. Just as Scott Anderson made a final day charge, so did Charlie Ogletree who posted a 3rd and a 4th. Charlie's excellent final day pulled him up into a tie with Tim Kirkham, but Tim won the tie-breaker and finished 4th overall, while Charlie took 5th.

The Exact Software 2002 A-Class World Championship saw wide ranging conditions that truly tested the sailors; brilliant sailing by a fleet led by Glen Ashby; fair and consistently high quality race management; and not one protest in the entire Championship. This was a Championship that showed everyone at their best, particularly the sailors of the A-Class... fine sportsmen and sportswomen all.

Top 10 Overall (After 9 Races/1 Discard)

Position Name Nation R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 Total
1 Glenn Ashby AUS 1 1 2 4 1 1 1 1 1 9
2 Scott Anderson AUS 2 2 5 16 8 3 6 2 2 30
3 Steve Brewin AUS 5 10 1 8 2 2 2 12 8 38
4 Charlie Ogletree USA DNS 4 9 1 3 9 13 3 4 46
5 Tim Kirkham AUS 4 9 11 21 4 4 4 7 3 46
6 Lars Guck USA 3 5 10 9 12 6 3 5 7 48
7 Pete Melvin USA 13 3 12 3 5 8 12 8 10 61
8 Greg Goodall AUS 6 19 18 5 23 11 7 4 5 75
9 David Brewer AUS 11 13 19 14 21 5 5 9 6 82
11 Murray Philpott NZL 9 12 17 6 28 10 15 6 13 88
10 Pieter Dwarshuis NED 12 7 20 13 25 7 9 11 9 88

Douglas Grabe/ISAF News Editor
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