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Australian Moth Championship - Kiwi leads world class fleet    
Thu, 10 Jan 2013

The 2013 Australian Moth Championship is being sailing out of Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club on the western side of Australia's largest salt water lake Lake Macquarie on the NSW Central Coast.

After the hottest day in the last few decades, a southerly change came over night, the temperatures dropped and the enthusiasm of the sailors increased.

Racing got underway onthe third day of racing on time in a 15 to 18 knot SSE breeze. In an attempt to try and keep the fleet out of the big waves whipped up over night by the southerly change, a slightly smaller course was set with the top mark tucked under Wangi Point.

Surprisingly, the speed of the leaders in the first race made it obvious that the course needed to extended. A further complication occurred when the bottom rounding mark started to drift dangerously close the committee boat. With boats approach at nearly 30 knots and the gap between the mark and the committee boat rapidly shrinking, quick deployment of a rib and code flag M enabled the race to continue.

The usual suspects figured in the top group, with London Olympic 49er silver medallist, Kiwi Pete Burling first, Scott Babbage second and Rob Gough third.

The only front runners missing from the top 10 were London 2012 Olympic Laser Gold Medallist Tom Slingsby who had a swim and Nathan Outteridge,the Moth 2011 World Champion and London Olympic 49 Gold Medallist who broke his wing on the boat and had to retire from all three races.

With the course extended somewhat and extra tackle on the drifting mark, everything was set for a good race, and the sailors made the most of it. The front end of the fleet it was almost a carbon copy of the previous race with Pete Burling first, Scott Babbage second and current Moth World Champion Josh McKnight third.

In the third and final race for the day, the sailors were all a bit too keen, resulting in a general recall, much to some sailors delight, especially Phil Stevenson who was upside down behind the start boat.

In the subsequent restart everyone got away well and saw Tom Slingsby come good, but not quite good enough to beat Kiwi Pete, who ended up with three bullets for the day. Tom was second, Josh McKnight third and Scott Babbage fourth.

After six races, with one drop, Pete now leads on seven points from Scott on 10 points, Josh on 21 points, Dave Lister on 24 points and Rob Gough and Joe Turner both on 26 points. As racing was cancelled on Tuesday, catch up races are scheduled on Thursday from 1pm.

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