The penultimate day of competition in the 2013 Harken Youth International Match Racing Championship hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club only saw the completion of stage one a benign Pittwater today with just four matches sailed.
In a stark contrast to yesterday’s 25 knot North Easter, today saw light, shifty conditions on Pittwater with a fluky ENE clocking 0 to 5 knots early on in light rain as the race committee were determined to complete the final four races of the stage one round robin and move onto the next stage.
Racing got underway shortly before 1030hrs on a course set at 040 with the final two matches of flight 18 to be decided. George Brasell representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron defeated Oliver Hartas from the Cruising Yacht Club Australia by more than a full leg as the breeze died as the pair neared the bottom mark for the first time. Brasell picked up a fluky shift on the left hand side of the course whilst Hartas got stuck in a hole and never recovered.
In the other match Jack Thompson from the USA’s Newport Harbour Yacht Club won by two boat lengths over Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club’s Sam Mackay in a well executed race.
Then the AP flag went up as the breeze died and a series of storm cells hovered overhead for more than two hours with the breeze shifting to the South West then back to the North East when the storms finally cleared. The crew's waited another hour for the clouds to lift and the sky to clear allowing the breeze to fill in to a respectable 10 knots from the North North East.
Three hours later and racing was able to recommence on a course set just off Longnose Point with everyone eager to get racing after a long sojourn.
Sam Mackay crossing the finish line - - photo by Damian Devine
The final flight 19 saw a match between Sam Mackay and Oliver Hartas with Mackay winning it quite easily after a restart due to a wind shift on the first beat. Mackay won the start and led around every mark to easily account for Hartas.
Oliver Hartas and crew working hard in the final flight - photo by Damian Devine
The final match was from an earlier postponement between Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Eddie Moult and Jack Thompson that also had a restart due to a wind shift. Moult won the start and picked a shift on the favoured side of the course extending his advantage to four boat lengths at the bottom mark and in the end won by three lengths over a fast finishing Thompson.
Following the completion of round robin, the umpires and race committee convened and due to the shifty conditions decided to abandon racing at 1630hrs and with the lack of racing today amended the event format from a super six and a sail off for 7th to 11th to a final four and sail off for 5th to 10th , with semi finals and final to follow tomorrow.
Race Officer Ted Anderson said of the decision, “The wind was very shifty out there once we got started after the storms and we felt that it would have been very difficult to get through a super six round robin, to the detriment of the semis and finals, which is not what everybody wants. This way all teams will get a sail tomorrow and we get a result. We’re hoping for a better day and the forecast is certainly looking that way.”
With the completion of stage one round robin of the Harken the standings are as follows;
Chris Steele (RNZYS) – 10/10
Malcolm Parker (RPAYC) – 8/10
George Brasell (RNZYS) – 7.5/10
Sam Ellis (GSC) – 6/10
Clare Costanzo (RPAYC) - 5/10
Jack Thompson (NHYC) – 5/10
Sam Mackay (RPNYC) – 4/10
Oliver Hartas (CYCA) – 5/10
Eddie Moult (RSYS) - 3/10
Zac Pullen (RYCT) - 2/10
Blake Poole (GSC) - 0/10
A tired and emotional RPAYC Club coach Tom Spithill commented on the day saying, “it was a disappointing day and the weather didn’t come to play. Ted and his team had a frustrating day and I would have hated to have been on the mark boat.”
Guy Pilkington, coach of the two RNZYS teams said, “the aim of the game is always to get my guys into the semi finals because obviously you can win the regatta from there no matter what position you are in. My guys have been pretty consistent all week, getting good starts, picking the shifts well and sailing well together in their respective teams. I am particularly happy for George finishing third in his first international regatta. We’ll see what happens tomorrow but hopefully they will continue doing what they have been all week and we can get a favourable result.”
Tom Spithill commented on RPAYC’s Malcolm Parker and crew's performance this week saying, “Their upwind speed has been very good and their mark rounding have been clean but there is still plenty of improvements with their starts and the downwinds have been their Achilles heel, so hoping to improve on that tomorrow in the semi finals.”
Tomorrow semi finals will be best of three and the final a best of five. Stage One leader Chris Steele has the option on who he chooses to sail against and that will be announced tomorrow morning at the boat draw.
Conditions are forecast to be 10-15 knot South Westerly under sunny skies and a top of 25 degrees for the final day of competition giving competitors a taste of just about every weather condition over the four days of competition.
Follow all the action on the water with live results at: http://www.rpayc.com.au/youth-development/harken-youth-mr-championship /
One of the premier events for youth on the match racing circuit, the 2013 HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship marks the 16th consecutive year with HARKEN Australia as naming rights sponsor.
Their ongoing commitment to the development of youth match racing is a credit to the Northern Beaches leading manufacturer and marketer of quality sailboat hardware and accessories.