Etchells Australian Championships 2013 - Of Black flags and protests

Michael Manford (the Croc) sits comfortably at the head of the table after four races. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks
Even after two general recalls, some of the senior sailors in the National Etchells Championship being held at Fremantle, tried to take on the race committee under a black flag. Some retired when advised, but one of the series favourites, Mark Thornburrow’s Racer X, continued after being advised of his black flag infringement, requested redress and was subsequently scored DNE. With a 29 to carry in his scoreline, his championship campaign is effectively over.

Others to earn black flag disqualifications were Chilli Plum (Torvar Mirsky), Triad (John Bertrand), Bandwagon (Skip Lissiman) and Marmalade (Marino Evangelisti).

With a discardable 29 in their score, all these skippers will be forced to reconsider their starting tactics, which may make life a little easier for the race committee.

The good news of the day was the successful recovery of Ray Smith’s St John’s Dance, which sank during yesterday’s second race. Damage to the yacht is minor, but will take time, so Smith has been permitted by the race committee to sail substitute hull for the remainder of the regatta.

Mirsky was in the wars in one of the general recalls, when his yacht was hit from behind, holing the transom. Mirsky’s team continued in the day’s racing with a sticky back patch covering the hole, and made more substantial repairs after coming ashore.

Today’s conditions were similar to yesterday, with a fresh south westerly building up to close to the class limit of 25 knots and some nasty waves near the leeward end of the course.

Michael Manford loves these conditions and finished with another 1/2 result, which mirrors yesterday’s effort and places The Croc at the top of the leaderboard with a comfortable lead over Gen XY (Matthew Chew). Manford’s crew includes Nicholas Gray and Flying Fifteen world champion Dean McAullay. Although they struggled in the super-light Syd Corser regatta earlier in the week, they have bounced right back into top form in the heavier breezes enjoyed yesterday and today.

See the full results by clicking here

The top six now looks like this:

1. The Croc (WA) 6 pts Michael Manford/Dean McAullay/Nicholas Gray
2. Gen XY (Qld) 12 pts Matthew Chew/Brian Donovan/Bill Cuneo/Ashley Deeks
3. Tango (Vic) 27 pts Chris Hampton/Ian Johnston/Ben Morrison-Jack
4. No Jacket Required (Vic) 29 pts Noel Drennan/Peter Ahern/Bill Browne
5. 1382 (WA) 35 pts Peter Chappell/Graeme Johnson/David Castles
6. Racer X (HK) 37 pts Mark Thornburrow/Andy Service/Bucky Smith/Simon Cooke

Ray Smith's yacht was successfully recovered after yesterday's sinking. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks

A forgettable day for Torvar Mirsky (Chilli Plum) with damage and a black flag disqualification. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks

Matthew Chew (Gen XY) moved up from third to second overall, after winning race 3. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks

The second general recall in race 3 (note class flag still flying) - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks

The first general recall in race 3 - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks