International Optimist Australian Championship - WA girl on the hunt

Annabelle Davis (WA) is throwing out a bid to beat the Kiwi for the Optimist Australian title - 2013 International Australian Optimist Championship
Dane Lojek
In the International Optimist Australian Championship, a win in the last and windiest race of the day has placed young West Australian lass Annabelle Davis within two points of overall leader Nick Egnot-Johnson from New Zealand going into tomorrow’s final day of racing.

Hobart’s River Derwent was again windy, with the nor’westerly gusts at times sweeping down from Mount Wellington with gusts of 30 knots, with the wind averaging 15-20 knots most of the day as Sandy Bay Sailing Club completed another three races of the championships.

After sailing her two worst races of the regatta, a sixth and a 12th but both discards, Davis won the final race from the sharply improved Queensland sailor Thomas Cunich, who in earlier races yesterday had twice beaten Egnot-Johnson.

With the huge fleet of 130 boats racing in two fleets, Egnot-Jones also won his fleet final race after two thirds earlier in the day.

After 12 races, and three scheduled for today, Egnot Johnson, the son of New Zealand Olympic sailor Lesley Egnot, is on a net 15 points while Davis is on 17 points.

One or the other seems likely to become the new Optimist national champion with four other Australian sailors vying for third place overall. Thomas Cunich has jumped from eighth to third with two wins and a second yesterday and is on a net 30 points, as are Blake Selley (NSW), James Grogan (Vic) and Max Quirk (Qld).

Top placed Tasmanian sailor Sam King did not sail so well yesterday, placing 11th and 16th in the first two races, but improving with a fourth in the final race of the day. He is still seventh overall and sixth Australian.

Big improver among the other Tasmanians was Hugo Hamilton from the host club, who placed 8-11-9 to lift from 29th to 24th and in with a chance of making the 25 strong Australian team to contest overseas championships.

Port Dalrymple Yacht Club’s Moreton Ryan had his best best result, a seventh place in race 12 but he is still back in 47th place overall.

All 180 Optimists got a sail yesterday, including the Green fleet which had been frustrated by being held ashore because of strong winds. Leading the Green fleet after six races are two WA sailors, Anton Albrecht and Alex Fleet, with the top placed Tasmanian Daniel Ragg who is fifth overall.

Many young sailors in the Open fleet were disappointed, however, when they finished a hard final race only to find them classified as DNF (did not finish) because they were outside the seemingly short 15 minute time limit after the finish boat completes the course. This appeared to have affected more than half the fleet in the final race.

Queensland Ty Gummow struggles in the strong breeze on the River Derwent - 2013 International Australian Optimist Championship
Dane Lojek

Sandy Bay Sailing Club Vice Commodore Ric Buchanan surrounded by Green fleet sailing for a weaher briefing on the clubhouse lawns - 2013 International Australian Optimist Championship
Dane Lojek