Day 4 Racing Postponed
by Lisa Ratcliff
Strong NNW winds gusting to 37 knots on Geelong’s Corio Bay and poor visibility kept Viper world championship crews ashore on day four of the multi-national title presented by Rex Gorell Land Rover.
Instead of battling it out on Corio Bay crews came together at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club to play pool and chat as the rain fell. By mid-afternoon the winds had dropped back from the high 20s to 14-16 knots but visibility was still an issue, and the fact another front was on its way.
Just before 3pm race officer Greg Sinclair made the call to postpone competition until Saturday January 14, 2017.
“There’s another front coming through and visibility is down to less than 500m on the bay, which is the issue,” Sinclair said. “The wind is forecast to be up until lunchtime tomorrow so we can’t start earlier, but maybe on Sunday.”
Sinclair is planning for four races tomorrow then as many as he and his volunteer team can run up to the maximum 15 races on the final day of competition, Sunday January 15.
Lachlan White is recovering from an eye injury inflicted on Wednesday and has been advised not to sail out the series. Instead Tayla Rietman has substituted White with Oman Air Extreme Sailing Series sailor James Wierzbowski for Saturday’s races at least.
With two days remaining in the series the top tier is chasing the championship crown and Bausele watch for the world’s best Viper sailors while others have their own very personal reasons for competing.
Couple Ross Bennett and Bridget McCartan have only owned their Viper for four months but say they’ve won just by being on the worlds starting list. “We are both very competitive but our goal is to complete the regatta,” said McCartan. “To get here was a challenge; we’ve won just getting here.”
Bennett was diagnosed with melanoma a couple of years ago and has undergone a number of operations and a drug trial. “I knew the trial was finishing in November so two months to get fit was plenty of time,” he said drily.
“It’s been a real journey to get here. The people who know the story have been gunning for us. They can’t believe we are here,” Bennett chimed in.
The couple want to send a strong sun protection message via their Viper worlds campaign. Though they have been vigilant in their protection, exposure to the sun while on the water has been the main contributor to Bennett’s health issues. They pair wear full lycra suits while racing.
The pointscore remains unchanged with Jack Felsenthal and Shaun Connor’s Charter World (AUS) leading Dan and Nathan Van Kerckhof’s Send It Marine (AUS) and Emmanuelle Le Chapelier and Theo Constance (FRA) crewing SailingTeamCatamaran.
Following the Viper Worlds 2017 the Viper class association will be packed up and the class will race under the accepted international F16 Class umbrella.
Royal Brighton Yacht Club in conjunction with Elwood Sailing Club and the Australian F16 Class will host the Formula 16 World Championships in January 2018 and it is expected the fleet will comprise approximately 65 Vipers, Taipan 4.9s, Mosquitos and other classes that come under the F16 rule.
Image – Lisa Ratcliff
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