Just In From The Mark Foy Trophy:
Day 4 of the Mark Foy championship started after a 1 hour delay under overcast skies and building wind. A small amount of rain was a fair price to pay for 15 knots of westerly wind.
After two tries race 5 got away on a boat favored line. Good starts were rewarded as a backing wind brought the boats from the left side of the course to the windward mark in front. Archie Massey, steering Asko led round with a commanding lead, although later to find out he was OCS. Behind him a battle between Grant Rollerson(AUS) on Slam, Rob Greenhalgh(GBR) on Benny and Howie Hamlin(USA) on Macquarie took shape. With the wind at 15 knots, the skiffs were off downwind faster than the wind making short work of the course. Jarrod Simpson(GBR) on TMF and John Winning(AUS) on Yandoo gave chase but were unable to close the distance. The oscillating breeze created many passing lanes and place changes for the middle of the fleet, but at the front it was all about experience. Slam came home in front to secure their 4th victory in 5 tries. Macquarie led home Benny making the top of the championship leaderboard a clear battle between them.
After waiting for a storm cloud to blow through, race 6 got off to a false start in 16 to 18 knots of breeze. Hoping to get the aggressive fleet under control, the Carnac race committee brought out the dreaded black flag. While the approach to the line was more subdued, down at the pin end a crash was taking place. Overnight leaders Slam tacked onto port into Yandoo, who were forced into TMF. Slam capsized to windward while yandoo's pole went through TMF's jib, breaking in the process. Slam, once upright, with TMF and Yandoo out of action, retired from the race. Meanwhile, back on the course Mason Woodworth(GBR) on Investec had stepped out to the right side of the course and found a favorable shift with Trevor Barnabas(AUS) on Road Service and John Whitty(AUS), coming in from the left after a great start. Road Service and Panaosonic just led Investec around the top mark with a hard charging Benny and Asko just behind. While sailing in the with this pack from the left, there was more drama on Appliances Online where a broken forestay sent their rig crashing down. Quick action by Rob Greenhalgh avoided a more serious collision while the stationary pirate ship made an obstacle for the boats behind.
Down the run Greenhalgh made his move on Investec jumping up to third just before the leeward gate. The lead boats split with Road Service and Investec going out left and Panasonic, Benny and Asko headed right. At the top mark, Road service held a clear lead while Benny and Investec moved up to second and third. A spinnaker sheet failure at the hoist saw Panasonic slip further allowing Asko up to fourth. With the breeze clocking well right, the lead four opted for the right side. Up the final beat, Roadservice tacked left early and with the wind shifting further left, Benny made their final move into the lead. Across the line at 17+ knots it was Rob Greenhalgh stamping his authority on this championship with his second race win. Road service followed with Investec holding off Asko to finish a welcome day of windier conditions.
With two days left to go and with at least 3 races scheduled, consistent top 5 finishes leave Rob Greenhalgh in commanding lead with Archie Massey and Howie Hamlin as the closest competitors. But once 9 races are completed the second discard comes into play and Grant Rollerson currently forced to count an OCS will move right back into the frame. As today shows, anything can happen and the racing is always exciting! Plenty of action left so stay tuned!
Report : Mason Woodworth
Pictures : Christophe Favreau
If I can't have the Volvo Ocean Race...pretty content to carry on with my affair with the 18 foot skiff!