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12 December 2002, 01:32 pm
Long Day for Championship Hopefuls
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Grolsch 505 World Championship
Fremantle, WA

Today being a two race day in the event meant that it was always going to be challenging. Just how challenging is a question best answered by 505 Class President Ali Meller.
It is 19:15 as I start writing this report; It has been a very long day. We launched before noon for a 13:00 start and two races. Race 5 was abandoned on the second reach after a large backing shift on the second beat, and then a reset gybe mark that was still not far enough to the left created a first reach that was a two sail leg just three or four degrees below close hauled as the wind continued to shift and a second reach where no one gybed at the wing mark mark.

There were lots of clouds, the wind shifted around to the left, but it was not a Fremantle Doctor breeze.

Race 5 was restarted around 15:30. Early starters from the gate were looking good early in the first beat as the breeze went left, but then the big shift was to the right, and Howard Hamlin/Mike Martin, who apparently missed the gate and ducked everyone while going right, went through the gate when they could, tacked back to the right, and had a significant lead at the weather mark. Thoralf Greger/Angela Stenger (racing GBR 8705) were second at the weather mark. Hamlin/Martin (USA) went on to win. Danny Thompson/Andy Zinn (USA) rounded the first windward mark in the mid teens, set the kite and gybed early catching the boats that went to the right (looking downwind), rounded the second weather mark fifth and were able to pull through to finish second. Tom Swift/Holger Jess (GER) were third, Krister Bergstrom/Thomas Moss (SWE) passed seven boats on the last beat to pull into fourth for the race. Michael Navarro/Simon Wilder (AUS) were fifth, and Greger/Stenger finishd sixth.

This race ended after 16:00, but the race officer was determined to get a second race in so as not to be two races behind on the schedule. A tired fleet prepared for another gate start in a dying breeze, with a sloppy washing machine chop. The Race Committee set a rather shorter course. Though the breeze again went right on the first beat, the early starters seemed to be in a little more pressure and several of the them came out of the left in very good shape. Chris and Darren Nicholson (AUS) came out of the right and led the race start to finish. Howard Hamlin/Mike Martin (USA) rounded the first mark fourth, but were able to pull through to second by the finish. Pip and I rounded about sixth, after surviving a jam up just in front of us in the gate start and heading left. Thompson/Zinn (USA) rounded just behind Pip and I in about sixth or seventh and as we tacked to starboard underneath them, rolled us on the way to the offset mark, subsequently pulling up to third, nearly catching Hamlin/Martin. This pair went high on the run to hold off Andrew Hewson/Frank Karlovecz and nearly lost Thompson/Zinn in the process, crossing them by less than a boat length at the finish. Hewson/Karlovecz were fourth, Bergstrom/Moss rounded the first mark behind Meller/Pearson and Thompson/Zinn and pulled through to fourth at the finish. Simon Payne/Bill Masterman (GBR) were fifth, Andy Beeckman/Ben Benjmain (USA) were sixth. Pip and I were tenth and get to be the pathfinder for Race 7. We're hoping it it will be a right-side-favoured first beat.

Ian Barker/Dan Cripps did not get into the top five in either race, and this has reshuffled the overall standings, with Thompson/Zinn leading with 18 points (after 1 discard), Hamlin/Martin second with 19 points, and Bergstrom/Moss third with 21 points. Beeckman/Benjamin are fourth with 33 points and Barker/Cripps fifth with 36 points. Payne/Masterman round up the top six with 40 points.

As per the change to schedule posted by the PRO, there are two races scheduled for tomorrow. If all nine races are sailed there will be two discards.

Results after today were not available at time of writing but will be posted shortly on the event website below.

Ali Meller/ISAF News Editor
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