Nicole Scott reports exclusively from the A Class Catamaran Australian Championships in weather conditions which took a dramatic turn on the 4th day’s racing of the A Class Catamaran Australian Championships held at Wangi Wangi on Lake Macquarie. Very patchy, overcast and trying conditions gusting up to 22 knots, which is in fact the A Classes maximum wind speed.
The star studded fleet included America’s Cup Winner Oracle Skipper Jimmy Spithill, Glenn Ashby, Darren Bundock, John Kostecki, Tom Slingsby, Dirk De Ridder and multiple World Champion sailor Nathan Outteridge took to the stage delivering an action packed performance for the hundreds of spectators on the water watching the event.
Glenn Ashby who wrapped up the series today winning with one race to spare, lead for the majority of the first race with wind gust ranging between 12-16 knots. An enthralling race two; saw Outteridge and Slingbsy screaming down the finish line in wind gusts of 22 knots when Slingsby went in for a nose dive causing Outteridge to cartwheel into the drink after a puff of wind forced the young World Champion to change tactics.
Outteridge said, "I was pushing the boat pretty hard to stay ahead of time, when I heard Tom’s bow go down. I was just about to get off the trapeze when a puff of wind came in and instead of getting in the boat I ended up going right around the front and ended up under the cross beam”.
For Slingsby his first race was a shocker capsizing several times, and then in between races his buddy Jimmy Spithill accidentally gave him a touch up putting a hole in his hull. Luckily for Slingsby race two had a general recall which gave him a short window to repair the hull. “I saw Nathan 15 metres ahead we got a big gust and both put our bows down but lucky I recovered and Nathan capsized, it was a crazy race”, said Slingsby. The final day of racing on Saturday will see a battle between Spithill, Slingsby and Outteridge will be one to watch.