BANDIT – Warwick Rooklyn (AUS814) Image: Teri Dodds Photography
It was Australia Day all over again on day three of racing at the Gill Melges 24 World Championship 2014, when three Aussie lads unleashed some of their best work. Not enough to worry the top shelf though.
There has been movement at the top of the leaderboard after three more windward leeward races, Flavio Favini’s Blu Moon (SUI) switching up into first overall and leading Harry Melges’ team STAR (USA) by 1.5 points.
The STAR crew had a day they need to forget and move on from, an eighth in race seven and a 13th in race eight.
Following a general recall in race eight the race committee flew the IZ flag, which meant anyone subsequently breaking the start had to go around one end of the gate to restart and would in addition incur a 20% place penalty.
Three Melges 24 teams cut it too fine, including the STAR team.
Melges cleverly picked his way back through the fleet from second last and finished in a respectable position, but with the penalty applied STAR had to carry their worst result and single drop for the series. Adding insult to injury was the gaping hole in their kite.
Suddenly STAR was level pegged with Chris Larson and Cavallino McLube (CAN) in first place with one race before home time.
A bullet to Favini in race nine, third for Melges and a 10th for Larson shuffled the results and gave Favini, one of Italy’s most successful helmsmen, the top spot.
“We didn’t have such a good day,” admitted Melges. “I’ve been in this situation many times and you have to forget about it and start afresh. It was a great day’s sailing all and all, just not for us.”
Cavallino/McLube is now third and Bora Gulari’s West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes (USA) fourth.
A second, first and a sixth today has moved Warwick Rooklyn’s Bandit from Sydney, Australia, into eighth overall behind Nathan Wilmot’s Melges Asia Pacific Kaito (AUS).
“We finally found some form,” acknowledged Rooklyn, who as Australian class president has worked closely with the Royal Geelong Yacht Club and International Melges 24 Class Association to bring the worlds to Australia.
On his new young team members and the circle work they have been doing due to infringements on the track, Rooklyn said, “I’ve got the young and the restless in the boat”.
“Dougie [McGain] and I have had a chat to the young pups and today it fell into place. It’s about fleet management and staying out of trouble. Hopefully we can keep that up.”
As one of the organisers Rooklyn commented, “All the internationals have said they are enjoying being here and they are very complimentary of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, the waters and the competition.
“It’s a big moment for the class to be hosting these worlds and there’s a great vibe. We have 10 of the 15 best teams in the world so nothing is lacking.”
The Cameron Miles helmed Melges 24, Roger That, from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Sydney’s Northern Beaches has cracked the top ten and is the leading Corinthian boat thanks to a fourth and fifth today.
“We are getting better and better as the event goes on,” said the Australian Olympic and big boat sailor, adding, “Top ten is our aim”.
“It’s a top heavy fleet. We are sailing with a lot of good guys and we lose touch a bit. We are watching them all the time,” added Miles, who is involved in double campaigns, the Melges 24 and Etchells.
There’s plenty of healthy Aussie larrikinism among the long term friends crewing on Roger That. Owner John Bacon chose the name with the aim of making the race committee say ‘roger that’ as many times as possible.
“They say ‘roger that’ a lot in America, not so much here,” said Miles. “We have a bit of a laugh about it, the race committee say ‘roger that’ then we say it and it goes around in circles”.
Racing began on time at 1330hrs in a SSE breeze 10-12 knots and steady. By the final race of the day it was up to 20 knots, showcasing the one-design fleet on another fine summer’s day.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for south-east to south-westerly winds 15-20 knots. PRO Hank Stuart intends to run race 10 and 11 tomorrow and race 12 on Sunday the 2nd of February 2014, the final day of competition.
Geelong is set to cook again on Sunday, up to 36 degrees predicted.
For the official event welcome function on Monday night the visitors were treated to some native wildlife up close. Yesterday it was lamingtons and Pavlova served post-racing and today it was more multicultural fare – pasta cooked by Class Measurer Egidio Babbi and his brother Alberto.
The RGYC, host of the Gill Melges 24 World Championship, is doing its utmost to make the international guests feel welcome and to give them a real taste of life Downunder.
Series Results [Open] up to Race 9 (Drops = 1)
1 – BLU MOON Flavio Favini (SUI825)
2 – STAR Harry Melges (USA841)
3 – CAVILLINO / MCLUBE (CAN795)
4 – WEST MARINE RIGGING/NEW ENGLAND ROPES Bora Gulari (USA820)
5 – AUDI Riccardo Simoneschi (ITA840)
Series Results [Corinthian] up to Race 9 (Drops = 1)
1 – ROGER THAT Cameron Miles (AUS750)
2 – REDMIST Robin Deussen (AUS607)
3 – AMIGOS Geoff Fogarty (AUS816)