Thursday, November 18, 2010

Phil Robertson leads NZ Match Racing Championship

This morning’s raising of the AP flag on the Committee Boat, as she wallowed on the flat & glassy waters of the Waitemata Harbour had everyone wondering whether the predicted wind would actually arrive. Even the two national flags on top of the Auckland Harbour Bridge were limp. But with a delay of only an hour, Race Officer Megan Kensington was able to lower the AP flag and the first matches of the Telecom New Zealand Match Racing Championships were underway.

Conditions remained perfect for the remainder of the day. The 10-12 knot northerly breeze was so consistent that the set race course remained the same for the entire day and none of the marks required adjustment. With little tide, unusual in these waters, even the offset mark was not required.

Kensington, along with International Umpire Jeff Borland of the US, remarked on the day’s perfect conditions commenting that it was one of the easiest days of match racing they had ever managed. Seven flights were completed in Round Robin 1 and for what must be a record in match racing, only one penalty awarded (for a port/starboard in a pre-start).

There were no upsets until the 4th match of Flight 3 when Dan Pooley, skipper of the young team from the RNZYS Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme, beat seasoned match racer Chris Dickson. Providing extra motivation, included in Dickson’s crew was their coach, Guy Pilkington, their 17 second win understandably the highlight of their day.

Bottom placed Samantha Osborne also caused an upset with her 18 second victory over top ranked Reuben Corbett. Korean skipper Byeongki Park also claimed the scalp of Phil Robertson in a tight race by just 10 seconds.

However, it was only a matter of time before the tally of wins grew for the more experienced match racers with Dickson and Robertson tied in first position with 5 wins and 1 loss each at the end of the day’s racing.

Reuben Corbett will be hoping for a better day tomorrow to complete Round Robin 1. Ranked 12th in the world, he is currently sitting in 5th place with 3 wins and 3 losses.

Racing continues on Friday with the first start scheduled for 1000 hours. Conditions are once again expected to be light.

Current Standings
Robertson 5 wins/1 loss
Dickson 5/1
Junior 4/2
Tiller 4/2
Corbett 3/3
Pooley 2/5
Park 2/4
Wood 2/5
Osborne 1/5

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