Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A-Cat Worlds 2009: Drama Continues at A-Class Pre-Worlds

A-Cats racing off Belmont. Image copyright

by Rob Kothe

The violent thunderstorm on 29th December drove the A-Cat Nationals fleet from the water.

Victorian sailor Dave Brewer suffered a severe electrical shock and was thrown to the ground when a lightning strike hit the water while he was holding onto the carbon fibre mast of his A-Cat, in the boat park.

Brewer spent the night in John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle. He recovered quickly last evening and was determined to be back on the race course on 30th December.

But he was still waiting for hospital medical clearance at 13:00, when racing was scheduled to start on the second day of the A-Cat Pre-Worlds event.

The weather gods were on Brewer's side, with two Postponements ashore, as the winds flicked from north west to south west and then to east.

The 36 year old Lazarus arrived at Belmont Sailing Club with his wife and three children soon after the postponement flag came down, and was greeted by a media scrum.

The family's effort enabled him to rig his boat and get it into the water. Brewer was the last boat to leave the boat park after promising 'he'd come in fast' if there was another thunderstorm.

When the race finally started in a five knot easterly, five times world champion Glenn Ashby was first to the top mark. In an amazing effort on the second rounding, Brewer by now fully charged, was second behind Ashby and ahead of 1984 Tornado Olympic bronze medallist Scott Anderson and another Australian gun, Queensland Brad Collett.

Ashby, who had won the first race in the series before the storm yesterday, again received the gun ahead of Germany's Bob Baier. Anderson was third, then came Brewer, with Steve Brewin challenging but finishing fifth. Andrew Landerberger was sixth, James Spithill seventh and Tom Slingsby 14th.

In the third race in the series, waiting at the top mark, the world seemed liked it was turned upside down. Where was 01 - Ashby?

Victorian Hamish Sinclair rounded the top mark first, then came Mark Johnson (NSW) and Stephen Brayshaw (VIC).

Ashby was no where to be seen, then he was found - mid fleet, 35-50 boats deep. He'd been caught on the wrong side of a shift.

At the top mark for the second time, Bradshaw was leading from Johnson and Ashby had climb to 10th.

The third time round and BMW Oracle multihull racer and America's Cup skipper James Spithill was fourth. Ashby was sixth.

Bradshaw held onto first, then it was Spithill who had timed his gybe best, with Ashby third.

Back on the beach Glenn Ashby seemed relaxed. 'Just tired' he sighed. 'I had another sailor actually put a hole in my boat yesterday afternoon, when I was dropping my sail coming into the beach.

'My boat builder up flew up from Bendigo to Newcastle last night and we worked until 2.30am this morning repairing the boat.

'So I'm a little bit weary today. I am looking forward to a stronger performance tomorrow.'

It seems 1, 1, 3 in the eighty boat fleet is below par.

A-Cat Worlds 2009

No comments: