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Tamar Cove/CST Composites B14 World Championship - Day 4

by Robbie Hunt, Ben Price & Adrian Beswick 6 Jan 2018 04:18 GMT 2-6 January 2018

Today's race day sponsor: Brierley Marine

Race 6 got underway in a building NNW Sea Breeze of around 8 to 15 knots. The fleet broke to the left to make the most of shallow water over the sand bar to escape the incoming tide and pick up the lift into the top mark.

Harken/Sandline, Bone Work, Snatch, Bonus, The Hitcher and Rocketship rounded out the front pack and were closely followed by Team Gul/North Sails, Leaky Pipes and Pinky and the Brain. Lighter winds meant that the whole fleet were compacted together and the competition was much closer following the first three days of near survival sailing at the top end of the classes limit.

The first Caltas mark rounding of the day with the fleet heading off downwind saw a number of the front running boats make some interesting moves, seemingly having the brakes on including the hitcher who dropped back a couple of spaces along with Bone Work who were keeping up where they could in the lighter breezes. Rocketship managed to capitalise on their lighter weight to get downwind fast and make the most of the upwinds to push through into third place by the final lap.

B Alert had a tough day in the office following enjoying the stronger breezes the first three days and scoring some top 10 results. With the light weight crews and generally easier conditions to keep boats upright, this bunches up the fleet making it much harder for the heavy crews to get clear lanes in particular upwind and keep their boats moving at a good pace.

The final results saw Harken/Sandline stay clear ahead hanging onto the Suenmi Leaders Jersey and build on their lead to win from Bonus in second who held off a tussle with Rocketship who claimed third, their best result of the regatta. Bone Work hung onto fourth and held off a late challenge from Snatch who got fifth, just in front of a late charging Hitcher who got sixth over the line.

Race 7, the second race of day four started in a strengthening northerly. As has been the trend throughout the regatta, the usual suspects jumped away in clear lanes – interestingly the top five had spread themselves evenly along the line. Finding the pressure and the shifts first was Snatch after jumping fast off the pin end. Unsurprisingly hot on their heels were the seemingly unbeatable Nick and Toby in Harken/Sandiline, and Robbie and Ben in The Hitcher - who were beginning to regret spending so much time on the dance floor during the previous evening, with their legs now screaming for a rest. The requested break was not to eventuate as the huge left side bias ensured that a soldier's course unfolded. This meant most crews only tacked a couple of times up the beat and holding your lane and maintaining boat speed was key.

Rounding the top mark first it was Snatch, followed by The Hitcher and Harken/Sandiline. Never satisfied with anything other than first Nick and Toby went to work on the downwind leg. After comfortably dispatching of the minor roadblocks that lay ahead of them they cruised to their fifth win of the regatta. Coming in second was The Hitcher, closely followed by Snatch. The Cunningham's came home a very tidy 4th place in conditions not really suiting the heavy weather legends, they were followed by Guy Bancroft and Louis Chapman in Bonus, with Dave Loutit and Dave Grace in Side Effects charging home for a brilliant result in 6th. Richie and Lisa were next home; undoubtedly they would have been treated to some yelling and screaming as they snuck in ahead of place Mark Barnes and Lauren Keil Team Gul/North Sails.

In one of the cheekiest manoeuvres of the day the Rocketship crewed by Martin Mok and Adrian Beswick left their take off late, but launched into 9th on the last gybe of the day leaving a stunned Simon and Nikki Hadley (TBC) and Gerry and Leaky (Leaky Pipes) in their wake.

Race 8, the final race of day four, started in a similar fashion to the previous one. The favourites jumped off the start line quickly, with the Rocketship and The Hitcher charging off the pin. The fleet was met by a little surprise from Mother Nature after about 200m though, when a hole the size of the Beaconsfield Mine appeared on the bottom left of the course. Those less fortunate (or less observant) were swallowed up, whilst the lucky ones managed to scramble away from the danger zone. The luckiest of them all was The Hitcher as they hooked into the next line of breeze and stormed away up the first work. They rounded the top mark clear ahead, but when Harken/Sandline rounded in second the boys out in front knew they were in for a fight, and that's exactly what ensued. The support crew on the shore was overheard making comments such as: "I think I'm actually going to throw up", and "Is a 24 second gap round the top mark a big enough lead to hold on?" but after three rounds on the Tamar River they hung on for their first race win in a world championship, luckily for Suenami, the leaders jersey sponsor who were fast becoming part of the furniture aboard the Harken/Sandline team. Harken/Sandline finished second followed by Snatch in 3rd. Storming into 4th place in one of the performances of the day were the father son combination (Glenn and Dylan Cardwell) aboard The Bandit. These two love the breeze and their outstanding performances this regatta have been testament to that. The Cunningham's came in a very consistent 5th place to round out the top five.

Now we are going to move further back in the fleet where one will find that the egos are smaller and the smiles are bigger. It is worth noting that this end of the fleet is no less competitive and there have been some exceptional battles unfolding all week. Today a three-boat showdown took place between Richard McMinn and Lucy Rees on Postage Stamp, Josh Harriss and Bailey Edmunds on the Bondi Tram and Steve Mitchell and Adrian Bell in Bang Bang. Much like their name suggests Steve and Adrian fired a few warning shots, but to no avail, as the young boys on the Bondi Tram came in 17th, and after a big charge down the final run the Postage Stamp flew home to claim 18th, with Bang Bang sneaking inside the top 20 in 19th. Only a few spots behind were a new crew combination on the water with Peter Girling and Tom Killalea joining forces. After both their skippers left them hanging, they decided that helms aren't really necessary anyway (couldn't agree more myself), and jumped on board Miss Conduct. They continually improved throughout the day and finished a brilliant 21st in the final race. Those hoping for top 20 finishes tomorrow will have another boat to keep an eye on.

The last battle of the day was between Tim Grant and Thomas Snare aboard B-Alert and James Lohrey and Charlie Hadley on Half Boat. These two duked it out all day, but in the final race it was Tim and Tom getting the job done with a tidy 26th place ahead of James and Charlie in 29th.

Hunt and Price, The Hitcher will be wearing the leaders' jersey heading into the final day's racing after getting only the second win off Craig and Lewis Harken/Sandline for the championship.

Heading into the final day's racing, GBR crew Craig and Lewis on Harken/Sandline are pretty much unbeatable on 6 points a whopping 7 points clear of their nearest rivals and Tassie hopefuls, Hunt and Price on the Hitcher. The Brits are being chased by 5 Aussie boats but with such a lead they can pretty much sit on the beach and have tea and biscuits, thanks Leaky.

Things get a little tighter back into third with the Cunningham combination of Bone Work and Garmsten and Darlow on Snatch tied on 18 points and further back is Bancroft and Chapman on 23 points who still may have a chance of sneaking a top three finish if Snatch and Bonework have a bad day tomorrow. Stay tuned for the final day of racing on Facebook @ B14 Skiff Sailing and on YouTube @ AusB14TV

Results can be found here.

Videos:

Race 1 & Opening party:

Race 2:

Race 3:

Race 4:

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