Peter Merrington and his team of Ian McKillop and Steve “Mothy” Jarvin on First Tracks AUS1485 extended their lead in both the Etchells Australian Nationals and the Australasian Championships on Saturday 12 June with a first and second in the two races.
Ahead of the final day, the minor placings are exceptionally tight with the World Champions from 2018 onboard Lisa Rose AUS1484 in second skippered by Martin Hill, and Mark Bradford’s Pie AUS947 in third.
The onshore postponement flag was lowered at midday, and the fleet got away in a lovely north-easterly of five to seven knots, with the course set at 030 degrees and 0.8 nautical miles to the windward mark.
Regatta leaders on First Tracks AUS1485 led from start to finish after a left of middle beat to consolidate their lead. Martin Webster and the crew on Highlander AUS1440 were in second all the way around the track to score their best result of the regatta so far.
Rob Weir’s Tranquility Base AUS1377 was third around the first two marks, however, they did not have the best second work, and fell back to tenth.
Martin Hill’s Lisa Rose AUS1484 were the big movers, to progress from eighth up to third on the second work, and they held the final podium placing into the finish.
This sixth race of the National Championship was the fourth of the Australasians which meant a series had been completed regardless of the challenging conditions.
With the race set once again at 030, with the breeze settling and building the Race Officer, Louise Davis, extended the course slightly to a 0.85 nautical mile windward leg.
The first attempt was a general recall, confident in her start line, Davis went for a black flag on the second attempt, and four boats were called as over, including JC Strong’s team on Flying High AUS1435 who were in second overall prior to the race.
In an almost carbon copy of Race 6, First Tracks AUS1485 led around the top mark, and seemed set to take the win after the first lap.
The team on board Lisa Rose AUS1484, however, sailed through to first, and the match racing coming into the finish between the now first and second overall placed boats was a spectacular sight.
Hill and his team including Australian Sailing Team and Australian Olympic Team members for Tokyo, Belcher & Ryan sailed away to take the win over Merrington.
Steve Billingham’s Thelastone AUS1392 crew sailed back up to their first mark position of third to round out the podium.
Following a low-pressure system moving across the south of Australia this week, a high-pressure bubble has settled in over us in southern Queensland for the weekend.
Despite the ominously low wind forecast, a southerly has settled in across the course and racing should get away on time at 1000 today.
Watch the live feeds on Adventures of a Sailor Girl.
1st FIRST TRACKS Peter Merrington
2nd HIGHLANDER Martin Webster
3rd LISA ROSE Martin Hill
1st LISA ROSE Martin Hill
2nd FIRST TRACKS Peter Merrington
3rd THELASTONE Steve Billingham