Two fine wins today by Tasmanian SB20 one-design sports boat crews of Karabos and Ronald Young Builders and an upheld protest in favour of a third boat from Hobart, Export Roo, have narrowed the gap in the Australian championship.
Going into the final day of racing tomorrow, with three races scheduled, only three points separate the three boats at the top of the leader board.
The Victorian boat Red, helmed by Hamilton Island based Glenn Bourke,
has a net 14 points and Tasmanian boats Karabos (Nick Rogers) and Export Roo (Michael Cooper) are each on 17 points.
The protest committee announced its decision on two protests from Friday’s race five after the end of today’s three races.
The Tasmanian yachts, Export Roo and Balios, had lodged protests against the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron race committee arising from incidents at the start and the top mark of race five.
The protest committee found in the favour of Export Roo’s request for redress for loss of placings after the boat hooked one of the two windward marks.
In applying redress, the protest committee lifted Export Roo’s placing in race five from 11th to second, which gave skipper Michael Cooper a net 17 points after eight races.
Balios’ protest was dismissed leaving the boat disqualified from race five under the black flag rule, as were two other boats.
Not only did Tasmanian boats win the first two races today, sailing in an ideal 12-15 knot southerly, but boats from the Derwent fleet filled all three places in each race.
Tasmanian champion Scott Brain, sailing Ronald Young Builders, won race six from Export Roo and Karabos. In race seven, Karabos led all the way to win from Balios (Matthew Pilkington) and Hypertronics (Stephen Catchpool).
Defending Australian champion Glenn Bourke, an Olympian and world champion Laser sailor, finished a close fourth in the first two races, but lifted his game to win the last race of the day, race 8, from Ronald Young Builders and Karabos.
Following is Jane Austin’s report from Blairgrowie Yacht Squadron on Day 3, written before the announcement of the protest hearing.
In the spirit of close and competitive one-design sailing, it will all come down to the results of Aay 4 to decide who will be the 2016 SB20 Australian Champion.
PRO Kevin Wilson took advantage of the breeze today, and after two postponements due to lack of wind, got the fleet away in Race 6 of the series (the first of there scheduled races today) in light variable conditions of 5-7 knots.
Tasmanian sailor Scott Brain (Ronald Young Builders) started day three in fine form, leading the fleet for the duration of Race 6. He consolidated his win on the final downward leg with a smart move, splitting away from the rest of the fleet.
Brain and his crew of Michael Viney and Bill Lawrence were crowned 2016 SB20 Tasmanian Champions last month in the State titles sailed on the River Derwent as part of the Banjos Shoreline Crown Series Bellerive Regatta.
Fellow Tasmanians Michael Cooper (Export Roo) and Nick Rogers (Karabos) finished in second and third place respectively in the opening race today, Tasmania taking all three top positions.
The results of race 7 saw a shift in the leader board with former Dragon world champion Nick Rogers (Karabos) following a similar race plan to Scott Brain in the previous race, leading the race from start to finish.
Karabos moved up to second place in the series on 14 points, one point behind Glenn Bourke (Red) on 13 points.
Race 7 was sailed in good pressure with 12-15 knots of a southerly breeze. The eastern side of the course on the run provided Rogers the advantage he needed to maintain his lead. Stephen Catchpool (Hypertronics) finished in third place.
The final race of the day was sailed in similar conditions to Race 7 with a 12-14 knot consistent southerly breeze.
In an uneventful race, Glenn Bourke (Red) led from start to finish. Michael Cooper (Export Roo) worked hard to gain a place, splitting off from the bulk of the fleet, but Bourke, as with the previous race winners today, led throughout.
Scott Brain (Ronald Young Builders) had another great race finishing in second place in an almost dead-heat with Nick Rogers (Karabos).
Championship points for the top seven boats after eight races, with one discard are as follows. A second discard will apply after 10 races:
1. Red (Robert Jeffries/Glenn Bourke, Vic) 14
2. Karabos (Nick Rogers, Tas) 17
3. Export Roo (Michael Cooper, Tas) 17
4. Ronald Young Builders (Scott Brain, Tas) 31
5. Hypertronics (Stephen Catchpool, Tas) 41
6. Balios (Matthew Pilkington, Tas) 45
7. Mind Games (Phil Reid) 53.
Jane Austin/Colleen Darcy/Peter Campbell
5 March 2016