“Magic” is a pretty big call, especially while the rest of Southern Australia is in the midst of a violent cold snap. But “magic” was indeed a very appropriate and often used word for conditions on Day 3 of the 2018 Green Island Nats.
Super consistent winds greeted the riders as they made their way onto the upper Reef Flats arena right on schedule at 11am for the first of 4 Tables of Day 3’s slalom. Moderate in strength, the winds blew almost wind tunnel steadiness all day in the 16-18 real knot range, rarely if ever reaching 15 or 20 kts, making for absolutely magnificent slalom and racing conditions. Let us not mention boardshorts, 24C weather or 22C crystal clear water. End of legitimate rave. If you were here, you know – if not, you’ll barely understand. Our sympathies to the rest of Australia.
Into action the French guys were back on a high with Alex Rouys flying to a convincing win ahead of Max Gaubert -but Byron didnt let them have it easy. Murray Towndrow delivered some solid speed locking 4th place ahead of Kelly Morgan. Uncharacteristically, Brad was missing from the first final due to a minor navigational indiscretion during the qualifying heat. Not having the best of rounds, he was then overrun in the Silver final by Mike Nelson while they both avoided the otherwise mass OCS start, which resulted in 5 other riders being subsequently binned on video confirmation. High speed chaos – but all unscathed.
Similar finishing results in the second Table (4) but by this time Brad was firmly back in the frame. It was some incredible inside gybing by Alex which netted him the win from Brad whilst Max reversed placings with Byron and Mike Nelson worked his way back to 5th having also survived his previous round misadventure..
The magic conditions continued uninterupted over Tables 5 and 6. Again Alex showed incredible speed especially as one of the smaller top level racers against 2 of the biggest ; Byron, Brad and Max all following Alex in the final ahead of AWA President Brett Morris, who enjoyed a sensational day’s racing with his son Grae, who improves with everyday’s racing and shows real promise as an emerging top young racer. Watch out dad..
Final Table of today’s Slalom brought out the suprise performance but it was a cracker : Cairn’s favorite Captain (Kel) Morgan proved all night planking contests with a fellow team mate hadn’t done his form too much harm, blitzing the field out of the start gate then holding off concerted charges by Brad, Max and Byron to bring home a sensational win by the narrowest of narrow margins. Plank partner in 7th, perhaps there is a lesson there (ask Kaleb)? Or was it simply some hi octane fuel the night before?
Dave Sandos had a solid day although missing one Recall flag and narrowly leads Masters from Bruce Healey although Glen Morrell isn’t out of reach in 3rd Masters ranking. The Ladies Slalom has been great competition with Mo leading Shari by the narrowest of possible margins from Lara and Derryn. Great to see them all out there enjoying themselves and sailing so well.
A short lunchbreak later a mid tide offshore GPS box course was opened out on the Arlington side of the Island and in moderate short chop, the Freerace fleet all recorded their fastest average speeds of the competition so far. Technical issues with his GPS cost Alex a start, and although he did join 1/3 of the way through, his discard was decided, while Byron continued on his motoring mode to just edge out Brad, Kaleb and Kelly in what is now becoming a close tussle between these top 5 in the hour long event. Interestingly, all top riders recorded their fastest average speeds of the competition to date, despite apparently “slower” conditions in generally less protected choppy water in the larger offshore course. Bryn Somers converted some of this slalom start “exuberance” into “endurance” energy to score a solid 5th overall from Dave Sandos, who moved into a commanding Masters Freerace lead. Derryn really was in her element in this GPS session finishing mid field amongst all the men and also taking a now an unbeatable lead in Womens Freerace.
A fanstastic 3rd day’s racing concluded with a fleet of happily exhausted racers, who all sleep it off tonight in anticipation of an even better forecast for Day 4 tomorrow. Does it get any better?