Given that it was classic light and variable conditions with 5-10knots from the Nor'east before racing began, through to the Sou'east, Race Management did well to get as much racing in on Friday for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne.
Tom Burton has stretched his lead by 18 points over Jared West and Ryan Palk on 36 points. Matthew Wearn is in fourth place on 38. Erik Bowers from the Minnetonka Yacht Club in Minnesota is back in 18th place. He said of his regatta, "These Aussie masts are stiffer than the ones we use and it takes some getting used to. The variable conditions also make it interesting."
In The Laser Redial, Krystal Weir has continued her domination of the regatta and had her worst result of it on the penultimate day with a sixth place in race nine, but redeemed herself in Race Ten with a more customary win. She stands on 16 points at the end of the day, 18 points clear of Switzerland's Manon Luther on 34 and the Singapore's Elizabeth Yin on 38. After racing, Elizabeth, who was second overnight, said, "It was tough for me today and I really did not sail that well. Looking forward to tomorrow and the Medal Race, as I have not done one of those in a while."
In the Women's 470, the Ryan sisters, Sasha and Jaime continue to rack up first places and are on seven points going in to the last day of the regatta. They are eight points clear of Lucy Shephard and Aurora Paterson in third, with Jacqui Gurr and Georgie Toner in third place on 29 points. They will be deserving winners, should it all go to plan tomorrow.
Meanwhile their brother, Will, continues to lead the Men's 470 as part of the new pairing with London 2012 Gold Medallist, Mat Belcher. With nine wins from nine starts you'd have to say they are hungry for Rio, even though that is a long way off. Mat is probably just as keen to do well with his University exams that he is just finishing up, as well. The South African pair of Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson moved back in to second place by one point over the Russian crew, Vladimir Chaus and Denis Gribanov, who had their worst result of the regatta with a seventh. No doubt, this tussle will play out to the end.
The Men's Windsurfer, the RSX, got two races in today to take the total to nine. Luke Baillie leads on 11, just ahead of Patrick Vos, something that seems to occur out on the track during racing, as well. Two points separate them and then there is a nine-point buffer to young Sam Treharne, who jumped the start in the final race of the day. Given his heritage and dedication to the cause, he will be an even more impressive sailor as he grows.
The Finn also looks pretty well set, with Olympian, Brendan Casey, leading from Oliver Tweddell and Jake Lilley by nine and seventeen points, respectively. Casey's worst result, a fifth, would seem a distant memory as the firsts and seconds continue to mount up. Tweddell has not been able to keep up his earlier performances when there was more breeze and has slipped back, accordingly.
Will Phillips and Nick Brownie are showing that the need for consistency in any sport is paramount. Able to win races, they have been hurt by getting maximum points when they did not do the last race on day one and then were On Course Side for Race Nine. His brother Sam, now crewing for Sam Kivell, has overtaken them for third place with a three-point advantage. 13 points further ahead again are Luke Parkinson and Jasper 'Fang' Warren, with Steven Thomas and Rhys Mara in the lead by one point. This is an exciting class and the racing is both keen and exhilarating.
New Zealanders, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have opened up a strong lead in the 49erFX. Clearly relishing in the contact racing with others that these fast craft allow for, they are seven points clear of Australia's Tessa Parkinson and Kate Lathouras, with Norway's Ragna and Maia Agerup 13 points behind them in third place. As this is the newest Olympic class racing in Melbourne this week, it has been great to watch the girls come to grips with the vessels and the close racing they can and do provide for.
IRO, Ross Wilson, commented on conditions on the final day, "The expectation is for strong Northerlies to blow, at around 20+ knots and the front will not arrive before 1700hrs, when we will be off the water."
Medal Race action kicks off at 12:00 local time with the Men's 470.