Should Peter de RIDDER sailing Mean Machine take the European Championships he may regard the final race of the day, Race 9, a crucial race in his campaign.
Lying outside the top 10 going into the third beat he climbed into second place (subject to protest) by the windward mark and this after finishing 11 in the previous race. Ridder now leads the Championship by 11 pts with 2 races remaining today (Saturday).
But back to the start of the day when the Race Officer postponed the start of Race 7 as he waited for the breeze to fill in from the South West. When the wind arrived it stabilised at around 10 knots however it was perhaps expected that with the current under the fleet a general recall was the inevitable result of the first attempted start. When the fleet did get away Mean Machine again dominated with initially Mark van GELDEREN'S Scud and Rainbow who finally climbed into the top3 and went onto finish 2nd with Louis Browne's Asterix coming through to 3rd as the wind became lighter. Bite the Bullet maintained contact with Mean Machine by finishing 5th but Mike BUDD in Gul Seven lying overnight in 3rd had a poor race and fell away from the leaders.
With the wind moving into the North West and coming back to 10 knots Bite the Bullet lead from start to finish in Race 8 followed by Jimmy PAHUN'S Region Ile de France but behind there was place changing with Asterix coming through to claim 3rd.
Race 9 saw the wind strength maintained around the 8-10knots range but as the tide had turned most of the fleet followed the shore to keep out of the brisk current. Kanati driven by Robert Barr despite suffering leg injuries in a collision yesterday lead at the windward mark followed by Rainbow and Asterix. Downwind Kanati seems to be slightly off the pace as yesterday and was overtaken by Rainbow and Asterix at the leeward mark. Asterix then took the lead up the beat which they held to the finish. Mean Machine had a spectacular windward leg taking them to 2nd on the water but then took a scoring penalty. Asterix taking the 3rd place.
Last night again there were number of protests being heard but what is clear is that Mean Machine has daylight between themselves and their pursuers, Bite the Bullet and Asterix are closely placed to fight for 2nd position though anything could happen on the final day in a series where no discards are allowed.
Result after 9 Races protest pending
1 Mean Machine Peter de Ridder 43pts
2 Bite the Bullet Richard Bonham Christie 54pts
3 Asterix Louis Browne 57pts
4 Mammy! Diarmuid Foley 67pts
5 Gul Seven Mike Budd 74pts