Three of the five Australian boats contesting the SB20 world championship on Italy’s Lake Garda are in the top 14 of the 92 boat fleet after the first day of racing, with Tasmanian Michael Cooper and his crew in 12th place overall.
Lake Garda turned on the sunshine with temperatures of 35º C and a shifty 15-18 knots breeze, with patches of variable pressure, which made for a challenging start for the crews from 15 nations.
The huge fleet is split into two, yesterday producing three different winners over the different courses. The top 54 boats will go into the gold fleet after six of the scheduled 14 races.
Cooper and his crew of Matthew Johnston and David Chapman from the RYCT began the regatta with a fifth place, followed by a 15th, ending the day with an impressive third to give them a 23 point score in a close top dozen boats.
Heading the Australian contingent of five boats is Victorian Chris Dare and his crew of Keiran Searcee and Oliver Tweedell from the Sorrento Sailing and Couta Boat Club who are third overall.
They had an excellent day with sixth and two seconds to be only four points behind the overall leader, an Italian boat skippered by UK sailor Ian Ainslie, who had a 4-1-1 scorecard.
Two points back, in second place overall, is South African Roger Hudson and his Spirit of Cape Town crew, who ended the day with a win after a third and a fourth.
In 14th place overall is Australian SB20 champion Glenn Bourke, steering Robert Jeffreys’s boat from Sandringham Yacht Club, with Sae Lilley also in the crew. They started the day with a fourth and a ninth, but slipped to finish 13th in their third race, for a total of 26 points.
Victorian Stephen Fries, also from Sandingham, is 22nd overall after a 8-19-10 scorecard on 37 points. His crew comprises Hobart yachtsman Andrew Roberts and Mark Muirhead.
In a report to the Tasmanian SB20 class association today, Roberts commented: “Wind direction was reasonably consistent with some gains to be made upwind. However, the big moving was to be done downwind, depending on how you managed the changes in pressure. Place changes of up to 20 boats were not uncommoon.
“We are finding the long off-wind legs a steep learning curve with everyone in the straps on the back of the boat chasing pressure.”
The second Tasmanian crew of Philip Reid, Andre deClerck and Sam Ibbott, also representing the RYCT, is back in 54th place, yesterday placing 30-23-30.
7 July 2015