Etchells Australian Championships - Black flag drama continues

Triad (John Bertrand) makes a splash rounding the top mark. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks
Despite a black flag penalty in the second of the three races run today at the Etchells Australian Championship, The Croc sailed by Michael Manford, Dean McAullay and Nicholas Gray, tightened its grip on the 2013 National title with a third and a fourth place in the two races she finished.

The Croc now enjoys a six point buffer over her nearest rival, Triad (John Bertrand, Grant Simmer and Andrew Palfrey), who in turn are one point clear of third placed Chilli Plum (Torvar Mirsky, Steve Thomas, Nick Davis and Justin Wong).

With just one race left to sail to finish the championship series, Manford is in control, but since he must select his disqualification in race 6 as his 'drop' race, he cannot afford to relax. The levelling factor is that both the yachts immediately below him on the leaderboard are also carrying a black flag disqualification, so they have the same problem. Only Queensland’s Matthew Chew, in fourth place with a worst placing of ninth, could cause an upset if the three leaders fail in the final race tomorrow.

Hong Kong’s Mark Thornburrow continued his miserable run today. Already carrying a non discardable disqualification from yesterday, he was again black flagged in race 6 today, along with Victorian Chris Hampton (Tango) and Michael Manford (The Croc).

A black flag episode today resulted in a request for redress by Bandwagon (Skip Lissiman). After some delay, the race committee advised the fleet by radio that four boats had crossed the line early. Lissiman responded immediately, turning his boat away from the fleet and back toward the start line, as required by the rules. A short time later, a second call from the race committee corrected the initial call and nominated three boats, not four, and that Bandwagon’s number had been called in error. So Bandwagon, having travelled away from the top mark, now had to turn around and give chase to the tail enders. The outcome will be decided by the jury.

Race 6 was also unfortunate for Dawn Raid (Jake Gunther) and Marmalade (Marino Evangelisti), resulting in damage serious enough to force both to retire, though Dawn Raid was temporarily repaired and sailed in the last race of the day.

Weather conditions on the Fremantle course were similar to yesterday, with a south westerly sea breeze at about 15 knots for race 1, but escalating to 22 knots during the afternoon, which kept crews on their toes .

If tomorrow’s weather follows the forecast (and with a cyclone off the north west coast anything is possible), sailors should enjoy excellent sailing conditions for their final race in south easterlies blowing at around 15 knots. It will be a sweet relief after three successive days of heavy 'Fremantle Doctor' south westerlies.

Chilli Plum getting one of the best rides of the day, picking up two places. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks

The Croc, such a reliable starter until today, was black flagged in race 6, but still leads overall. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks

Racer X (Mark Thornburrow, Hong Kong), put his black flag miseries behind him in race 7 to record an excellent all the way win. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks

Bandwagon (Skip Lissiman) was subject of a black flag controversy. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Bernie Kaaks

Provisional Results for Etchells Championship after 7 races with 6 races to count
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4
Pos'nBow NoBoat DetailsSkipper/CrewTotalNett09/01/13 109/01/13 210/01/13 310/01/13 411/01/13 511/01/13 611/01/13 7
125AUS864 - Gen XY (QLD)Matthew Chew/Brian Donovan/Bill Cuneo/Ashley Deeks30303( 3)3( 3)1( 1)5( 5)9( 9)4( 4)5( 5)
223AUS1402 - The Croc (WA)Michael Manford/Dean McAullay/Nicholas Gray42421( 1)2( 2)2( 2)1( 1)4( 4)29(BFD)3( 3)
329AUS1383 - Triad (VIC)John Bertrand/Andrew Palfrey/Grant Simmer48482( 2)7( 7)29(BFD)4( 4)1( 1)3( 3)2( 2)
416AUS1367 - Chilli Plum (WA)Torvar Mirsky/Steve Thomas/Nick Davis/Justin Wong49494( 4)4( 4)29(BFD)3( 3)2( 2)1( 1)6( 6)
532AUS1215 - No Jacket Required (VIC)Noel Drennan/Peter Ahern/ Bill Browne50509( 9)10( 10)4( 4)6( 6)12( 12)5( 5)4( 4)
637AUS1382 - 1382 (WA)Peter Chappell/Luke Payne/David Castles575711( 11)6( 6)7( 7)11( 11)11( 11)2( 2)9( 9)
735AUS883 - Tusk (WA)Gary Smith/Michael McAullay/Simon Cunningham595910( 10)5( 5)12( 12)13( 13)5( 5)6( 6)8( 8)
822AUS923 - Racer X (RHKYC)Mark Thornburrow/Andy Service/Bucky Smith/Simon Cooke70705( 5)1( 1)29(DNE)2( 2)3( 3)29(BFD)1( 1)
914AUS874 - Tango (VIC)Chris Hampton/Ian Johnston/Ben Morrison-Jack73737( 7)8( 8)3( 3)9( 9)6( 6)29(BFD)11( 11)
1024AUS827 - Heart Starter (WA)Mark Lovelady/Grant Lovelady/Travis Keay74746( 6)13( 13)8( 8)12( 12)13( 13)9( 9)13( 13)
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Full results here