‘A’ Class Worlds. - medal races 2, 3 & 4
And the merry-go-round of the Polish weather continues. Thursday brought light winds and sun. But the winds were within the proscribed class minimum of 5kts, so the boats headed out to their allocated sailing zones.
Stevie Brewin needed a couple more top 3 finishes to consolidate his title challenge. Snapping at his heels was the Kiwi Dave Shaw, only 4 points behind, so putting things between Dave and himself would be rather useful. However, another battle, that between Tymuk Bendyk and Kuba Suroweic, the two local heroes, was intensifying. Their overnight standings were Kuba led Tymuk by a mere 3 points, so these lads had all to play for.
The first race got underway with Tymuk winning the pin end but, alas, it was a general recall. The fleet reassembled and the black flag was flown to stop it happening again. This time Darren Bundock won the pin and pulled ahead nicely. The fleet headed off to the left, with a small contingent, usually ones with a bad start, chose the right side. At the bottom mark on lap one, it was the GBR sailor Adam May who was leading, just ahead of Stevie and Kuba. Bundy was further down the fleet, his title challenge having faded in yesterdays high speed action . The wind was very marginal for foiling. But those who dared, and got it right, made good gains downwind. If they misjudged it, big losses were the penalties.At the end, it was Tymuk who finished first, the Polish head of the event, Jasek Noetzel came second, Bundy in third. Stevie in 4th with Kuba back in 5th. It was going to plan so far for Stevie and Tymuk.
Race 3 turned out to be an extraordinary race. One of those things that you only occasionally get at large events. The main fleet stayed left after the start, and usually, only the ones who get blanketed, or get other bad deals would choose right in such conditions. However, half way up the first beat, the right side suddenly turned good. USA sailor Bruce Mahoney was the first to realize and made the most of it. By the top mark, nearly all of the right side sailors reached the mark first, by some margin, leaving the rest of the pack to pick up the pieces. It was as though the whole fleet had been reversed. In the end, only Stevie managed to claw his way back, using some canny foiling downwind to finish 5 seconds behind Bruce. Bundy, the current champion Mischa Heemskerk, and a whole host of other ‘A’ cat big names were at the back of the fleet, scoring 44, 46 ect. Much to the huge amusement of the lower guys who relished the day they beat an Americas cup skipper at his own game. Kuba managed to get to 10th, but Tymuk had a total mare of a race, finishing 47th.
Race 3 took place after an hour or so of floating about waiting for the promised wind increase. Finally it arrived. The fleet set off again, but this time, it was Stevie, Mischa and Manuel Calavia, the Spanish Champion, who pulled so fat ahead that it looked like a separate race. Stevie scored his 4th bullet on the line, beating Manuel by a boat length. Mischa, using his new low wind drag reduction technique of trapezing off the leeward hull , basically lying alongside it towards the front in order to pull as much of the boat out of the water as possible. However. Should a gust come, he’d look rather stupid as he’d pull the boat on top of him. But it didn’t, and he came across the line about 3 minutes later for a 3rd.
Stevie Brewin is proving to be the World’s best ‘A’ cat sailor, managing to cope with all the conditions that the Sopot venue can throw at him. Friday should see him be crowned World Champion for the third time. In fact , with discard coming into play, he looks to have already got it in the bag.
The two Poles are so evenly matched, it’s too hard to call as to who could sneak the silver. Theirs will be the battle to watch today. But, it’s forecast to blow again, so don’t exclude the laconic Kiwi Dave as an outsider, should one of the other two drop something.