Mark Foy World Championship started off as a happy one for the Triple M and Alcatel teams as their container arrived after being delayed at sea.
With little over an hour till the start to unpack their boats and get onto the course it was a close call for two teams.
Alcatel skipper Stephen Quigley said, “Talk about leave it to the last minute. It was incredible. The container arrives at 11:30, we opened the doors, the customs lady was there when it arrived and gave it the all clear.
“We took the boats out, stuck the rig in and went out. Us and Triple M were the last ones out and made the first start. It was fantastic.”
On the racecourse was another day of beautiful sailing despite being lighter than yesterday. Three short races were held in the 8-10 seabreeze, which was slowly building throughout the day.
Race 1 saw Yamaha and Harken fighting for the lead with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers hot on their tails for the first lap. Yamaha and Harken split at the bottom mark and it was Yamaha on the left that paid. Yamaha rounded first with Harken second and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers third.
The front three broke away from the pack and left Maersk Line and Triple M fighting for fourth. Graham Catley’s Maersk Line won the battle and took fourth and Triple M crossed the line fifth before realising their were OCS at the start.
After the race Yamaha bowman Brad Collins said, “it was a about 6-10knots for the first race. We got a reasonable good start to clear out. The race was ours after that.”
Race 2 started with another individual recall but after Maersk Line and Peroni restarted it was all clear. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers lead at the top mark and sailed away from there.
Drama unfolded at the start boat as the fleet sailed through the line downwind, a requirement for the course. Compass Markets and Event Clothing got very close to the start boat and just scraped through unharmed.
In the end Thurlow Fisher Lawyers took the win from Yamaha and Smeg.
After that Michael Coxon’s team on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers were on a roll. They ducked the entire fleet at the start and by the end of the first windward/leeward were a minute ahead. The Australian team finished a minute ahead of fellow Australians on Smeg and New Zealand team C-Tech.
James Dorran has stepped in to the sheet-hand position on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers taking over from regular crew-member Dave O’Connor.
“Dave, I haven’t had any tips from him but will probably have a chat from him tonight asking how the rig is.”
On the racing with Coxon and Trent Barnabas he said, “It has just clicked. It was good to get the call up to sail in Fiji.”
After three races, Coxon’s team is at the top of the leaderboard with five points, Yamaha is second on seven points with Smeg third on 10 points.
The AUS vs NZL vs USA battle is only just beginning and Collins embraces it, “It’s On! We quite like to be the chaser, we are not so good at being chased so we are pretty happy that he has set the bar for us.”
Three more windward/leewards are scheduled for tomorrow at 1pm. To keep up to date with all the action head to the FijiFizz Festival Facebook page.
by Kimberley Wilmot/Australian 18 Footers League