John Bertrand of Royal Brighton YC in Melbourne gave a masterclass on the waters off Howth to win both races on day three of the Etchells World Championships, sponsored by Fingal County Council, to open up a significant lead over main rival Ante Razmilovic (GBR).
With crewmen Andrew Palfrey
and Tom Slingsby
, the Australian legend won the first race in light airs and when the wind strength increased, for the second race, their downwind speed in particular was outstanding. Three Australian crews are now in the top five.
All races on Tuesday were cancelled due to light wind and the lack of wind early in the day forced an hour's postponement to the day's proceedings. Light 7-8 knot easterlies prevailed for the duration of the two-hour race, it was more than adequate for the 41-boat fleet. The championship pace-setters Ante Razmilovic
and John Bertrand
again showed the way, this time with the Melbourne crew notching their second win of the series. Razmilovic's second place put him and Bertrand level on seven points to extend their position at the top of the leaderboard after three races.
It was a good morning for the European Champion Jay Bourke and crew on 'Northside Dragon' from Howth. They were consistently in the top five for the whole race and claimed third spot by the finish for their best result so far. The next best of the Irish were David Burrows and Dan O'Grady in 12 and 16 places respectively.
2009 Worlds runner-up Damien King
of Australia, third overall going into the race, had to settle for ninth, a result which allowed the UK's Graham Bailey
who finsihed fifth in the race to narrow the gap just one point. Nils Razmilovic (Singapore) scored a sixth to move within a point of Bailey.
An increase in wind strength had been forecast for the afternoon and by the start of Race 4, a 10-knot easterly greeted the fleet. It was an Aussie 1-2-3 at the first windward mark with King, Bertrand and Jake Gunther
leading the pack but Bertrand's downwind speed gave him the lead by the leeward gate, an advantage which he extended as the race went on.
(GBR) was in contention throughout the race, finishing a good second ahead of Gunther, Nils Razmilovic (Singapore) and King in fifth. Eighth and ninth for David Burrows and Dan O'Grady represented the leading Irish finishers, with Burrows moving up to eleventh in the overall standings. Three points separating second from fourth illustrates how tight the competition is in this premier one-design class.
Two races are scheduled for Thursday 26th August with a forecast for stronger wind conditions.
See the provisional results here.