For the third consecutive day, the 59 boat fleet in the SB20 Worlds are enjoying great sailing conditions on Hobart’s spacious River Derwent, a freshening sou’-wester sweeping up the river at 13-19 knots with gusts of 24 knots.
The fresh breeze versus the outflowing current has also kicked up choppy conditions with whitecaps on the river.
The first race of the day, race six of the championships, has seen a great duel between the young French sailor Robin Follin in Give Me 5 – French Youth Team and Hobart’s Malcolm Cooper, helming Export Roo.
Follin took the lead on the first windward leg but Cooper surged past on the downwind spinnaker run, hitting 12 knots in the gusts.
However, the young Frenchman, world SB20 champion in 2015, regained the lead on the second beat to windward and held this to the finish. His winning margin over the Tasmanian boat was a matter of seconds.
A second French boat finished third, La Grand Reservoir/Mazet & Associes, skippered by Achille Nebout, placing this boat equal second overall with Marvel.
Provisional fourth place has gone to Porco Rosso with helmsman Elliott Noye having his best race of the championship.
Irish entrant Provident CRM (Michael O’Connor) also had a good race, placing fifth, just ahead of the Russian boat Melston Team (Kiril Grigoriev) and the consistent Tasmanian Paul Burnell in Honey Badger who placed seventh.
Cooper’s provisional second place in race sixth strengthens his overall standings with a net 18 points, his nearest opposition being the two British boats Marvel (Richard Powell) ansecond French boat, Le Grand Reservoir/Mazet & Associese (Achille Nebout) both on 34 points.
The second British boat Xcellent (John Pollard) is fourth overall on a net 37 points.
Give Me 5 – French Youth Team has moved from seventh to fifth in overall standings with their win in race six, now listing a net 38 points.
Race seven is now underway with showers forecast during the afternoon on a mild summer’s day.
Words: Peter Campbell
Photos: Jane Austin
1430AEST/9 January 2018