5.5 Metre Worlds in Hankø going down to the wire
Race 5 was moved earlier in the day as the forecast was for a building wind and it did just that. The conditions tested the entire fleet but Jean Genie started well and was ahead at the first cross and never looked back, leading all the way and extending upwind and downwind for a massive win. Artemis rounded the first mark in fifth but was soon up to second and held that to the finish from New Moon II.
By the finish the wind had increased to the point where the race committee considered it prudent to send the fleet back to the safety of the harbour.
Andrew Palfrey, from Jean Genie, gave his take on the day.
"I guess today played out pretty much as per the forecast with the building breeze. We were surprised how shifty it was but we had a nice start just down from the group with massive gap to leeward. We just chipped away and we ended almost all the way in the left and we think New Moon had gone the right way and made a gain on us. But we focussed on winning our side and then from there the guys did a fantastic job. Elliot is driving the boat really well, like he's been in the class for years and Sam is super solid at the front. The boat handling was quite crisp, so from where we were at the leeward mark it was a matter of getting the boat round the track safely.
"For us once we'd done the hard stuff it was aa matter of delivering to the finish line and being ready for what came next, which unfortunately was AP over A because of the high winds. It felt more on the downwinds largely because of the sea sate. You could easily downspeed in a trough and then the boat really loads up, so that made it tough."
On the performance of the new boat. "Certainly we've got nice speed. We've got good enough speed that if we put the boat in a good place we can generally chip away and win the one on one speed battles in that stuff. And it appears we have legs downwind, which largely is the teamwork on the boat, but the boat feels easy to release downwind and get off down the waves. We touched 15 knots a few times today.
Thinking about the final day. "We had a bad first day, bad first race certainly, so we just need to focus on ourselves and get nice starts and put the boat in good position and the rest will sort itself out I'm sure."
Marc Ryan is on one of the four Australian boats in Hankø, sailing Manly with his father Colin Ryan.
"Hankø is one our favourite spots to be. We bought the boat a few years ago to campaign and this is the first venue for us. We are really enjoying it and learning a lot, though I think my arms are two inches longer after today. The boat has been sitting in Europe for two and half years so this is the first time we have actually sailed the boat.
"I've being coming here for 35 years. I am a member here and so is my father, Colin. It's about community and friendship and the social side to sailing. For us as a family it's probably the most enjoyable place to actually sail. Colin came here first in 1986, and did the worlds in 1987, and I came a few more years and we just love coming back."
On the future, "We bought the boat together and Colin is doing some regattas, and I will get my team together and hopefully do Sardinia and New York afterwards. If we can do two regattas a year, coming from Australia it's take a lot of time to race. Definitely there's campaigns and years sailing ahead."
It's been a long time since a Tolhurst helmed a 5.5 Metre World Championship but the name is synonymous with the class.
Mark Tolhurst said, "It's just fantastic being back in Hankø and competing. My father Frank and I came here a lot in the 1970s and I always had the dream of coming back with my son Adam, and fortunakly we talked him into making the trip. Both of us have been out of competitive sailing for a while, but we have a good guy with us, Stephen Mcconaghy, from Austalia, and just been having a lot of fun.
"We figure if we can get into the top ten in any one of these races against these professional sailors we are doing extremely well.
"With the Fives, I came over here in the 1970s with my father. In 1976 we won the King Olav Cup, the Scandinavian Gold Cup and the World Championship. Frank built several Fives. The one he had at the time was Arunga and I've come back with Arunga XII. He filled in all the other ones from I to XI and won several world championships in them and was very strong in the class in those days.
"I'm passionate about the 5.5 class and always have been. There are four Australia teams here and I bought this boat two years ago when in it was in Australia for the worlds. The intension is to campaign it and the four of us are looking to campaign on the international circuit. I am just hoping I can convince Adam to come back and do it with me as that's what's it all about.
"I am not really expecting to be on the podium, but I am expecting to coming here and have a lot of fun, and enjoy the company of some really nice people. And the venues the Fives choose are just amazing places to go to."
The 2022 5.5 Metre World Championship is going down to the wire. With the discard coming in after the sixth race, there is still everything to play for. The top three boats are all close with a discard and with a similar forecast for Tuesday, the first race of the day could be very important.
New Moon has barely put a foot wrong all week, with top three places in all races. Defending champion Artemis, has also had a great week. Jean Genie had a tough first day but has dominated since the stronger wind arrived and is getting faster. One of these three is likely to take the title.
Again the schedule for the final day, Tuesday, has been brought forward to 10.00 to try and get two races in before strong winds arrive.
Results after 5 races (discard after sixth race)
1 New Moon II (BAH 24, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Anthony Nossiter) 10
2 Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli Sæther) 14
3 Jean Genie (GBR 42, Elliot Hanson, Andrew Palfrey, Sam Haines) 23
4 Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard Haissly, Nicolas Berthoud, Daniel Stampfli) 24
5 Ali-Baba (BAH 23, Craig Symonette, Flavio Marazzi, William Alloway) 30