Two of the Australia's three crews contesting the Cascais SB20 World Championship off the coast of Portugal have finished in the top five of the 78 boat fleet on day one, revelling in the boisterous sailing conditions.
Flirtatious, skippered by VIctorian Chris Dare, is third overall and Tasmanian entrant Export Roo, with Michael Cooper on the helm, is fifth in standings. Mind Games (Phil Reid), also representing the Hobart fleet , did not have a good start and is 50th overall.
Sailing under a hot Portuguese sun the north-west to westerly breezes of 15-25 knots created magnificent downwind sailing for the huge one-design sportsboat fleet as they carried their big asymmetric spinnakers.
Competitors, especially the two top Australian boats, enjoyed sleigh rides on the Atlantic rollers, reaching speeds of up to 18 knots.
Because of the rising seas and wind gusts in the high 20’s, race officers of Clube Naval de Cascais moved the third race close inshore, which added a tactical element with reading the wind shifts prove the key to success.
On a day that tested boating handling, crew work, stamina and wind strategy, few crews managed to avoid a mid-fleet, high-scoring finish in at least one of the three races.
.At the end of day one in 14-race regatta, a Russian and a Portugese crew held the first two positions with Australia’s Flirtatious following a race one 14th place with a impressive second and a third.
Hugo Rocha, skippered the Russian boat New Territories, was by far the boat of the day with a 2-3-1 scorecard for a 6 points lead from the Portugese boat Clever Mobility (Vasco Serpa) on 14 points (11-1-2) and Flirtatious on 19 points (14-2-3).
Michael Cooper and his crew of RYCT Commodore Matthew Johnston and David Chapman of Export Roo scored 4-13-5 to finish the day with 22 points, a close fifth overall in the huge and highly competitive fleet, many with professional crews.
Mind Games, sailed by Phil Reid, Andre DeClerck and Sam Ibbott, placed 54-50-43 on day one.