Australians survive carnage on Port Phillip

Australian Sailing’s three teams contesting the Para Sailing World Championships rose to the challenge as strong northerly winds caused carnage on Port Phillip yesterday.

The winds, gusting to 30 knots, dismasted boats while others had to call for pumps to prevent them from sinking in the boisterous seas on the bay.

The Australians came through virtually unscathed with London Paralympics gold medallists in the Skud 18 class, Dan Fitzgibbon and LIesl Tesch posting two straight wins and bumping their overall lead,]

Tasmanian Matt Bugg continued his consistent sailing with to third places, not only holding third overall but closing on the leaders in the 2.4mR class.

In the Sonar class, the Australian crew of Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden, contined to build their overall lead with a 1-2 score yesterday.

Consistency is the key to championship success in international yacht racing, and Matt Bugg is following that line perfectly in the International 2.4mR class.

Since an 8th and 9th on day one of the regatta, Bugg’s scorecard has been 3-2-3-3 and after dropping his race one 9th he is comfortable third overall with a net score of 27 points.

With six races sailed and five to go, Bugg is certainly well positioned for a podium finish in what is the final selection series for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

“It was really windy out there and very tough sailing,” Bugg said after the race. “In the second race I had a really nice lead, so I’m a little disappointed that I lost that in second upwind leg.”

Israeli and American Skud 18 crews fell victim to vicious northerly wind gusts in the second race of the day while the Portuguese 2.4mR sailor collided with an anchored committee boat.

Conditions were particularly challenging for the 2.4mR yachts, with the low freeman and bilge pump were being used by everyone to pump out water that swept over them in the high winds and choppy seas.

Today’s racing has been forward with race seven of the 11 race series due to start at 11am instead of 1pm.

ISAF/Peter Campbell
1 December 2015

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