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2021 Catalyst Laser Nationals - Day 3

by 2021 NZ Laser Nationals 24 Jan 07:00 GMT
Sam Meech © Jon West Photography

After loosing day 2 to 40+ knot gales we were all hoping the forecast was correct and wind would moderate by the 1pm start time today. And it did - a little. So today all fleets completed 2 races in a strong northerly Wellington “breeze” which gusted over 30 knots at times through the afternoon, accompanied by a 1 to 2m waves churned up by the incoming tide.

There were plenty of swimmers and a bit of broken gear but at the end of the day the club was buzzing with tales of survival and recovery. The stadium racing concept, sailing in the bay immediately in front of the club, absolutely came into its own today, allowing spectators a great view of the action and some, like GGM Mike Keeton, the ability to pop into the beach to recover from a wee swim and grab a cup o’ tea between races.

The conditions certainly did not faze the top sailors. In the Standards Sam Meech again nailed both starts and landed 2 bullets, with George Gautry always in hot pursuit in both races. The two Luke’s; Deegan and Cashmore, Eroni Leilua and standout Masters Andrew Dellabarca were again in touch as the chasing bunch, with a gap back to the rest. Rob Woodward and Tony Nicholson had a great battle for the second Masters slot while only 3 points now separate Owen and Doug Anderson at the head of the GGM field, with Owen suffering from getting a bit keen at the start of the first race.

In the Radials, Youth sailor Thomas Mulcahy really stamped his authority on the contest with 2 more bullets. Nearest rival Caleb Armit (Y) was unlucky to collect an OCS in race 2, while 3rd placed Matthew Rist handled the conditions exceptionally well to secure a second and third today to stay in touch with the leading pair. His days results were matched by the leading woman, NZL squad member Olivia Christie, who consequently opened up a useful points gap on fellow squad member Annabelle Rennie Younger. Other standouts in the fleet were Blake Wood (Y), who’s 4th and 6th gets him up to 7th overall going into the final day, and Greta Pilkington, who had two top 10 finishes to secure her position as leading female youth.

In the Radial Masters today saw the top of the leader board tighten right up. With local Ed Tam winning the first race and Dunedin’s Jenny Armstrong the second only 2 points now separate the top 3, with Phil Wild just holding on the lead. These 3 are followed by a group of GM’s led by Pete Thomas, while 5th placed Mike Knowsley was a touch unlucky to fit in a quick swim while completing a penalty turn for touching the top mark while near the front in race 2.

Racing is scheduled to start early on the final day tomorrow, which looks to be fortunate with another gale warning coming into effect at lunchtime tomorrow. Hopefully we will squeeze in some final day racing and complete what has to date been an extremely successful, if rather challenging, regatta.

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