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13 February 2014, 10:46 am
Ashby Regains Lead In Heavy Conditions
Ashby flying back into the lead
Ashby flying back into the lead

A-Class Catamaran World Championship
Auckland, New Zealand

Glenn Ashby (AUS) regained the A-Class Worlds lead after the heaviest conditions of the week pushed the 81-boat fleet to the max.
The wind prior to the first race of the day was gusting to 18 knots so the race committee waited for several big puffs to pass through before starting.

The fleet got away into relatively steady breeze in the 15 to 17 knot range. The Emirates Team New Zealand sailors immediately broke free from the fleet, favouring the left hand side of the course. At the first rounding of the bottom mark there were two distinct fleets, the ETNZ boys and the rest.

Peter Burling (NZL) led the Emirates crew and dominated the first race, leading his teammates Glenn Ashby (AUS) and Blair Tuke (NZL) across the line.

Spectators who were able to view the race were treated to a master class of control and speed displayed by the frontrunners.

The second race of the day started in more consistent breeze which built close to the wind limit of 22 knots towards the end of the race.

The boats got off to a clean start with most of the fleet again favouring the left hand side of the course. Burling rounded the bottom mark first followed closely by Ashby and Tuke.

Tuke took the right hand side of the course hoping for a shift which could allow him to pass the leaders on the beat. By the second rounding of the bottom mark the race was clearly split in to two groups. Once more the ETNZ sailors were some minutes ahead of the chasing pack.

Nathan Outteridge (AUS) had another shocker with a sixth and a 48th due to a broken rudder bungee resulting in a drop to ninth place overall. Many sailors would have given up, but not Outteridge who sailed the entire second race with only his starboard rudder functional.

There was carnage across the fleet with damage hitting many crews. For Alexis Reeves it was armageddon when a gybe went badly wrong resulting in a broken forward beam which saw the boat split in two. The three major components of the boat were eventually rounded up, rescued and brought back to the beach. The clear consensus of the many experts gathered on the beach was that Reeves' regatta was over.

Again the Team New Zealand crew dominated, with Ashby crossing first ahead of Tuke and Ray Davies (NZL). Burling ended up 15th after suffering a broken starboard foil on the run to the finish.

Andrew Landenberger and Mischa Heemskerk continued to impress with rock steady performances coming in fourth and fifth.

The overall results have Ashby on 7 points ahead of Tuke on 21 and Burling on 22.


Event Website
Cathy Vercoe
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