So close at the top in pen­nant se­ries

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - JANE AUSTIN Sail­ing

ONLY half a point sep­a­rates the lead­ers as the fleet looks to the fi­nal evening of sail­ing next week in the SB20 Pre-Christ­mas Sum­mer Pen­nant Se­ries. The boats hit the wa­ter in a 15-17 knot southerly breeze on Thurs­day, but the wind di­rec­tion swung east­erly, caus­ing a de­lay in racing as the start line was ad­justed. Bat­tling a tide on the turn, a strong cur­rent and choppy con­di­tions, the fleet split off the start line of both races, with the teams that went to the right of the course far­ing bet­ter. Steve Catch­pool (Re­bel­lion) was keen to strengthen his hold on the se­ries, but his ex­u­ber­ance cost him dearly, with the Race Com­mit­tee call­ing the team OCS, scrub­bing them from the race. This left the way open for young ri­val Oli Bur­nell (Honey Badger) to pull back a few points, but it was Frazer Read (Pinch) who dom­i­nated the racing, fin­ish­ing first in the ninth race of the se­ries. Quentin Hunt (Pez) fin­ished sec­ond, David Graney (Wedge­wood) was third and Honey Badger ended up in fifth place. Ste­wart Gor­don (Con­tact) looked set for a daz­zling night of sail­ing af­ter round­ing the top mark first in Race 9 and fin­ish­ing in sixth place, but in Race 10 a shred­ded kite sheet got bunched up in the block, re­sult­ing in the boat broach­ing, los­ing a team mem­ber over­board for a short pe­riod, and ul­ti­mately re­tir­ing. Race 10, the sec­ond race of the evening, was a show­down be­tween Pinch, Team Musto (Char­lie Nolan) and Am­bi­tion, sailed by Vic­to­ria’s Chris Dare, with the teams get­ting some fan­tas­tic down­hill runs, but Pinch out­classed the fleet, win­ning by close to a minute. Se­ries scores: Re­bel­lion 30 points, Honey Badger 30.5 points and Wedge­wood 46 points.

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