It’s a Cooper-fest on River Derwent on Day 1 of AUS Championship
The 2018 SB20 Australian Championship got underway in dramatic fashion today! Sailing started in a 12-15 knot south easterly breeze, but towards the end of the day, the wind pressure and rain increased leaving the fleet struggling to stay upright in limited visibility and with winds of over 20 knots.
The gauntlet was thrown down early by the youth crews with Will Cooper (Murray Jones) rounding the top mark in first place with Will Sargent (Taz Racing Team) in third and Jacob McConaghy (Warwick Dean) in fourth. But SB20 Tasmanian President Scott Brain (Brainwave) pulled back a few places to win the first race of the day with Will Cooper and Sargent holding on to second and third respectively.
Gear breakages impacted Paul Burnell (Honey Badger), Tugdual Piriou (New Caledonia) and Felicity Allison (Cook Your Own Dinner), but as the intensity on the course increased, so did the performance of current Australian SB20 Champion Brett Cooper (Aelous) and Michael Cooper (Export Roo).
“We had some fantastic rides in very shifty conditions today, with places changed often and substantially, and the competition at the top mark was pretty hectic,” said Brett Cooper.
But the Cooper-fest wasn’t confined to the water as Export Roo lodged a protest against Aeolus for causing a collision on the start line of Race One. This was upheld by the jury and saw Aelous disqualified from the race, dropping to 10thplace.
Other crews looking good on the water today include Elliott Noye (Porco Rosso) who is sitting in fourth place on 19 points, Frazer Read (Pinch) on 24 points and world champion sailor Nick Rogers (Karabos) on 26 points.
While not always at the top of the leader-board, the Glanville brothers sailing Blue Gull were up the front end of the fleet consistently today and were very happy with their improved regatta performance.
Export Roo finished the day with 6 points, Will Sargent (Taz Racing Team) is in second place on 12 points while Scott Brain (Brainwave) is in third place on 17 points.
The regatta continues on Saturday with Race Officer Ian Ross keen to get four races completed. The forecast for the first day of summer is mostly sunny with light winds becoming north westerly in the afternoon, and only a slight chance of showers.
Results are available here.
Words and photos by Jane Austin, Media Director SB20 Australia