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2019-20 Australian Hobie Cat Nationals at Jervoise Bay Sailing Club - Day 3

by Suzzi Ghent 3 Jan 12:28 GMT 30 December 2019 - 4 January 2020

Aware of the forecast for a building southerly wind the race management team brought the start time forward for day three of the Australian Hobie Cat Nationals, hosted by Jervoise Bay Sailing Club.

This gave them the option to hold four races in one morning session before the wind strength became too much.

Again, Fremantle held up to its reputation, challenging the fleet with strong winds throughout the day but it was not the usual sea breeze. There was rain around in the morning and cooler weather. Competitors raced in a variable and oscillating wind in the morning session, it was good to have new race course strategies for the sailors to consider. Two races were held.

On the last lap of race 9, a rain squall hit the fleet and most boats capsized. Phil and Caitlyn Epps from Geraldton managed to stay upright and held their lead for a convincing win. Cam Owen / Susan Ghent capsized when the squall hit but managed to fight off Trent Robson / Nat Hill and Darren Smith / Claire Bisgood and hold on to their second place as all sailors were struggling to keep racing.

Young team Lachy Owen and Jett Harvey, both 14 years old, stuck it out in the difficult conditions, having a lot of fun and staying out there for the two morning races. They made a sensible decision to sit out the afternoon session but should be pleased with the progress they have made during the na-tional championship.

Certainly worth a mention, father and son team John and Sam Bateson challenged the podium teams in race ten and placed a commendable 4th in that race.

Teams were sent ashore for a break, the wind strength stayed manageable and sailors and volunteers went out for two more fast and exciting races in a tough afternoon session. Plenty of stories to share on the beach afterwards.

Youth sailors Gaelle Ravenel (16) / Luc Enee from New Caledonia showed excellent sailing skills throughout the day and placed 7th in the last one, race 12, competing in a solid 23 to 27 knots of wind.

With four races left in the schedule, no one in contention for the title can relax just yet. The forecast for Saturday, the final day of racing, is a typical offshore morning breeze followed by a building southerly in the afternoon. Owen / Ghent lead on 13 points followed by Smith / Bisgood with 24. Still in contention is team Epps on 27 points nett then Jason Spencer / Colleen Lutz with 59 points, all after two discard races.

In the Grand Masters series, Matt Faulkner / Ben Raven lead a tie with Brad Quartermaine / Tayla Woodhead, both on 18 points nett. Phil Smyth / Mark Preedy are in third place with 32 points from Rod Hodgkin / Lucy Bromell on 34 points.

More information at hobiecatnationals.com.au

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