Port Elizabeth, 2 April 2015 – After yesterday’s high wind halted all sailing and vessels out of the port, sailors in this years 60th SAP 5O5 World Championships were rested and keen to resume battle in the Indian Ocean.
The forecast was for a south south west of 7 knots rising to the 22 knot mark with gusts in the region of 26 knots. That touch of south in it brings cold to Algoa Bay. The forecast was spot on and the wind shifted around 20 degrees in the second race.
In the first race sailed again on the classic Olympic course or sausage, triangle the current World Champions and log leaders, Mike Holt and Carl Smit were virtually untouchable as they charged around the course with impunity. Fellow Americans Ted Conrads and Brian Haines shrugged off some dismal earlier placings to finish second with Ian Pinnell from Great Britain in third.
The second race saw the first restart of the championships with collisions on the pathfinder and South Africans Grant Ballantyne and Evert Groenewald breaking their mast on the start line and having to retire. Not a nice day at the office for the 77 year old skipper, who is entering his 50th year as a 5O5 sailor.
The second race started in a rising wind with increasing cloud cover and we started to see upturned boats along the course. One victim of a dunking and extended swim in the cold water was South African sailor Tina Plattner, sailing with David Shelton – they retired from the second race and Tina was taken off the boat to be sped back to the warmth of the shore.
Race 7 was the one to sort the men from the boys as 5 boats retired due to breakages or other reasons.
Back on the course Mike Holt was stamping his authority all over the regatta and at times leading by 250 metres – watching him and Smit keep their boat flat and fast was a salutary lesson for all sailors.
With another discard kicking in tomorrow Mike Holt can (if he likes) sit on the shore, get a Did Not Start (DNS) and still win the 60th SAP 5O5 World Championships as second placed Ian Pennel and Johannes Tellen trail him by 9 points.
The race to watch to-morrow will be between Ian Pennel/Johannes Tellen – on 17 points – and Ted Conrads/Brian Heines – on 19 points. But Pennel/Tellen have one 5 pointer to discard whilst Conrads/Heines have two 5 pointers to discard.
It certainly looks like the top three will be Holt/Smit, Pennel/Tellen and Conrads/Heines. But, sailing can dish up a left field result so don’t start the celebrations just yet.
Top 3 overall after 7 Races:
- Mike Holt and Carl Smit – USA (8 points)
- Ian Pinnell and Johannes Tellen – GBR (17 points)
- Michael Quirk and Luke Payne – AUS (19 points)
Top 3 South Africans overall after 7 Races:
- Peter Funke and Thomas Funke (10th place on 51 points)
- James Largier and Richard Hutton-Squire (12th place on 65 points)
- Ricky Robinson and Brennan Robinson (13th place on 75 points)