International Optimist Australian Championship - Close battle on day 3

Annabelle Davis fom WA is a close second to Nick Egnot-Johnson from NZ in the 2013 International Optimist Australian Championship
Dane Lojek
The International Optimist Australian championships on Hobart’s River Derwent continues to be a close battle between New Zealander Nick Egnot-Johnson and West Australian sailor Annabelle Davies, with only two points between them, with two more days of competition left.

Egnot-Johnson, the son of three-times New Zealand Olympic sailor Lesley Egnot, had two wins and a second today to be on a net 11 points.

Sailing in a different group within the huge 128 boat Open fleet, Davies scored a win and two seconds to be on a net 13 points. As from tomorrow the sailors will be graded so that the leaders in each fleet get to sail against each other.

Third overall on 20 points is Southport Yacht Club-based American, Cameron Gise, leading a strong group snapping at the transoms of the two leaders. He had a 1-2-5 score today in his fleet

Apart from the New Zealand and American sailors, the top 25 positions overall are well spread between Optimist sailors from all Australian mainland states.

Competition is intensely keen among the Australian sailors to finish in the top 25 Australian boats and thus be chosen in the national team, with the top five sailors going to the Optimist worlds in Europe, the others going to national championships in Malaysia, New Zealand, the USA and other major regattas.

Brisbane sailor Max Quirk from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron is fourth overall on 21 points, followed by Victorian James Grogan from Black Rock Yacht Club, also on 21 points.

Selley Blake from Woollahra Sailing Club in Sydney is on 30 points in a close group of sailors.

Following Jock Calvert’s success in making the Australian team for the ISAF world youth championships earlier this week, another Hobart sailor, Sam King, has sailed into contention to represent Australia at the International Optimist world championships.

Calvert, 15, won the Bic Techno sailboard class at this week’s OAMPS Australian youth sailing championship on Hobart’s River Derwent and 12-year-old King, is currently fifth placed Australian sailor in the Optimist national championships which continue through to Sunday, also on the Derwent.

King last week finished an impressive third in the national championship for the Sabot class, also a single-handed class, on Melbourne’s Port Phillip, flying home to jump into a relatively unfamiliar Optimist dinghy.

Sam King baling as he sails downwind - 2013 Optimist Australian Championship
Dane Lojek

In the nine races held so far in fresh to strong winds, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania Dinghy Group member, has had one win and only once finished outside the top ten in the 128 boat fleet. He is seventh overall, but fifth Australian, yesterday placing 5-4-6 in strong to fresh winds, gusting to 30 knots plus in the third race.

Race nine results, the last of the day are provisional because the finish boat’s anchor slipped and then caught around one of their propellers. While the crew managed to keep the boat close to its correct position, some protests have been lodged seeking redress over the position of the finish line.

Race winners today were Nick Egnot-Johnson (2), Cameron Gise, Max Quirk, Annabelle Davies and James Hodgson from Maroochy Yacht Club, Queensland.

The provisional first ten overall placings after nine races: Nick Egnot-Johnston (NZ) 11 points, Annabelle Davies (WA) 13, Cameron Gise (USA) 20, Max Quirk (QLD) 21, James Grogan (VIC) 21, Blake Selley (NSW) 30, Sam King (TAS) 33, Thomas Cunich (QLD) 38, Alec Brodie (NSW) 53, Eva Lorenz (QLD) 58 points.

Wills Nuske from Victoria enjoying the fresh breeze on the Derwent - 2013 International Optimist Australian Championship
Dane Lojek

British sailor Finley Nicholson is contesting the 2013 International Optimist Australian Championship
Dane Lojek