Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship - Day One Report

2010 Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship - Mooloolaba - sensation at the start of race one, then a very unusual set of podium results in today's two races.

The fleet started in eight to ten knots of breeze from 170, under cloudy but clearing skies. A number of boats were a little too eager and jumped the start causing a general recall.

On the second start John Bertrand (The Stig), John Savage (Black Knight), Tom Braidwood (Fantazia), class new comer Michael Hiatt (Baby Doll) and Tom Woods (Echo Beach) were all black flagged; their hopes of winning the regatta now shattered as this is a five race, no drop regatta.

At the top mark for the first time, Mark Johnson (Roulette) was first, followed by Simon Ellis (MoJo), Mark Thornburrow (Racer X), David Clark (Fifteen), Jake Gunter (the Boat) and Alastair Gair (Velsheda).

At the bottom mark for the first time, Dave Clark the NSW Champion (Fifteen) was leading, from New Zealand's Alastair Gair (Velsheda) with David Healey (Rapscallion) third.

On the second beat Gair was doing well on the right which appeared to be favoured. Although the sun is out, the breeze has dropped to five to six knots and PRO Ross Wilson is shortening the last run down to a mile.

Under blue sky at the top mark for the second time, Hong Kong sailor Mark Thornburrow the led the 2010 Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship race one, from New Zealand's Alastair Gair. The first Australian boat was Richard Hammond (Alchemist), followed by Dave Clarke, Simon Ellis, Mark Johnson and Gary Boyd (B Squared).

Observing the fleet at the top mark and sailing outside the course was John Bertrand, who smiled ruefully but declined to offer a comment on the start of the 2010 Championship

Down the run Thornburrow held a handy ten boat lengths lead over Gair.

As the fleet ran down to the finish line, the boats on the right came down with a new breeze and Dave Clark made the most gains. As the finish line loomed he was locked in a battle for second place with Alastair Gair.

In the end, Thornburrow won comfortably from Gair, the fast finishing Clark and Richard Hammond.

Race 1

winner Mark Thornburrow commented 'The pressure was up and down, it was hard to stay in phase, but we are pleased with the result.'

Alastair Gair's post-race comment was simply ... 'It was pretty tricky.'

Race 2

The Committee set Race 2 at 175, under brilliant blue skies and with breeze of 11-12 knots blowing along the picturesque Mooloolaba coastline.

Eagerness again forced a general recall and black flag start, but on the restart all boats werwe clear with no transgressors.

On the Committee Boat end 'Spiderman' David Rose (Fair Bump Play On) had speed, lifted early and led the right hand side of the fleet as they headed towards Point Cartwright.

Rose acquired his new nickname after being discharged from hospital only last night, following a redback spider bite on the foot during the week.

First to the top mark for the first time was Hong Kong sailor Mark Thornburrow (Racer X) coincidently ahead of New Zealand's Alastair Gair (Velsheda), who in turn was ahead of Lake Macquarie based Gary Boyd (B Squared).

In the end the right did not pay for 'Spiderman' Rose and he was around the mark in about 20th place.

Heading down the run in glorious sunshine with 10-12 knots of breeze, the day was turning out to be a very Australasian affair.

At the bottom mark for the first time, Thornburrow, Gair, Boyd, Mark Johnson (Roulette), Brendan Garner (The Moe Szyslak Experience ) and John Bertrand (The Stig) all rounded in quick succession.

The breeze had shifted 10 degrees to the right so the Committee moved the course back to the top mark, as the pressure dropped back to eight to ten knots.

As they headed down to the finish line, Gair got through Thornburrow, while Clark moved into third.

They crossed the finish line in that order, and after day one of the 2010 Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship, Alastair Gair, the Kiwi sailor and Mark Thornburrow from Hong Kong, lead the championship on equal points.

Dockside Alastair Gair, who finished third in this event in 2009 said ' We had two good starts and good pace. We've been sailing a lot with our Auckland Etchells fleet over the last few months and that time on the water has proven worth-while.

Hong Kong skipper Mark Thornburrow, the top gun in Asian Etchells sailing was all smiles as he stepped off his chartered boat Racer X, which the was the boat that won the 2009 Etchells Worlds

'We were fast off the line in both races and in a big fleet like this the clear air made the difference. It's a great feeling to be up there, but there will be another three tough races. '

Dave Clark, the current NSW Etchells Champions 'We pleased with the overall result, but we disappointed to only get third, we thought we were doing better on the second run. In the last race we had a terrible start, were around 15th a top mark for the first time and we just kept pushing and again were third.