FREMANTLE DOCTOR BLOWS OUT PRACTICE RACE AT 420 WORLDS
Winds blowing at 25 knots with gusts of 30 or so forced the race committee to cancel today’s scheduled practice race, the precursor to the 420 World Championships, hosted by the Fremantle Sailing Club.
Locals call the south westerly breeze the Fremantle Doctor because of its cooling effect during Perth’s blazing hot summers, when temperatures regularly top 40 degrees.
PRO Kevin Wilson, before making the call to cancel today’s race, asked the Spanish team coach whether they would consider racing in the conditions. The response left absolutely no doubt that the Spanish team at least, would not consider risking their equipment in such strong winds and high waves.
The Spanish team set the benchmark for this regatta by taking the first three places overall in the 420 Nationals, run on the same course prior to Christmas. The contingent is supremely fit and seemed to have excellent boat speed in a wide range of conditions. Best of the squad was Elaas Abetz Queck and Pablo Garcia Cranfield who completed the regatta with a nett 24 points, including two wins. Third overall was the female crew of Pilar and Maria Caba Hernandez, who led the points table early but struggled with the heavier conditions on the final day and had to carry a 12th place in their scoreline.
Two French crews filled fourth and fifth placings, followed by a New Zealand boat, before the first of the Australians, Chris Charlwood and Josh Dawson, who claimed the Australian title. They are well aware of the job ahead of them in the World regatta.
Many overseas crews did not arrive in time for the Nationals and so will head out on the course for the first race of the Worlds with no race experience on Fremantle waters, though it was notable that early this morning, crews from Argentina, Italy and Greece took the opportunity for a short training session outside the marina walls.
The weather forecast for the remainder of the regatta is far more promising, though with a cyclone forming on the north west coast of Western Australia, metropolitan weather is notoriously difficult to predict.
In the meantime, all crews, coaches and officials will enjoy the welcome function at Fremantle Sailing Club this evening.
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