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While the Triad team of John Bertrand,
Andrew Palfrey and Grant Simmer
successfully secured the 2013 Etchells
Australian Championship with one race
to go, the final day of racing hosted by
Southport Yacht Club on the Gold Coast,
Queensland, was all about which previous
Etchells World Champion was going to
secure second overall and who would have
to settle for third place.
The protagonists were 2004 World
Champion Peter McNeil and 1999 World
Champion Cameron Miles.
The final race of the eight-race series
was highly competitive with the finish
times close and Cameron Miles’s The Hole
Way taking line honours. However, the final
two podium places had to be decided in
the Protest Room.
The result of the protest moved Miles
up into second overall with 21 points and
moved McNeill down into third overall
with 24 points.
After a delayed start as the wind swung
from 140 to 060 degrees, the breeze finally
settled into a steady 11 to 12 knots and the
fleet were away cleanly.
The PRO, Kevin Wilson, reported that
there was only one race of the whole eight
races that was not a Blue Peter. “ They
behaved themselves extremely well,”
Cameron Miles and his The Hole Way
team of David Sampson and Grant Crowle
took command of the race early and led the
fleet to the finish line. Behind him there
was a tight, aggressive group. At the head
of this pack was Mark Bradford’s Bootross
who had been slowly working his way up
the pointscore over the last seven races.
He crossed the finish line 32 seconds
Next came Noel Drennan’s Boat X,
Matthew Chew’s Gen XY, Peter McNeill’s
Iris III and John Warlow’s XXXX XXXXXXX.
At the top mark for the last rounding that
was the line-up and lots of close calls.
By the time that group were heading
to the finish line the noise had increased
considerably with yelling and screaming
of ‘Protest!’ from within the leading
group. Miles was across first, Bradford
was second, McNeill had moved up to
third on the back of a wave and Chew was
recorded in fourth over the line.
Miles explained his team had a great
day sailing, leading the fleet start to finish.
“ Several times throughout the race we
thought Peter (McNeill) has got himself
back in a position where we could move
up to second place overall, but I think
Matt Chew and Nitro (Noel Drennan)
were hammering each other a bit up the
last beat and that sort of allowed Peter to
slip through a little bit.
“ Then he had an infringement with
John Warlow and John did some turns
which allowed Peter to get through into
third. Then I think there were a couple of
incidents down the run with Matt Chew
and Polly (Peter McNeill),” Miles said.
Back on shore it was straight to the
Protest Room. Chew claimed a breach
of Rule 11 with McNeill while surfing
downwind to the finish, overtaking Chew
and making contact between Gen XY’s
spinnaker pole and Iris III’s boom. Chew
claimed they had luffing rights, but didn’t
alter course. Meanwhile McNeill’s protest
claimed a breach of rules 18.2 and 18.4,
and that at the three-boat length point
Iris III, Gen XY and Boat X were abreast of
each other on starboard gybe. McNeill
claimed Iris III called for room and sailed
their course, but Gen XY didn’t attempt get
out of the way of Iris III including when Iris
III gybed at the mark.
The outcome of the protest was
decided in favour of Chew with the facts
found that McNeill was windward boat and
failed to keep clear under rules 11 and 14.
McNeill was disqualified from Race 8 and
this result became his drop.
With Bertrand the winner, Miles
confirmed in second and McNeill in third, it
was a count back for fourth place. Matthew
Chew ’s Gen XY came out ahead of Noel
Drennan’s Boat X.
h Tracey Johnstone
his seventh Etchells
Final day protest
until the last
Peter McNeill's Iris III to weather of John Bertrand's Tri ad.
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