04 Nov Simpson wins big breeze day and closes in on Massey
Jarrod Simpson and Grant Rollerson won race six of the International 14 World Championships and closed to four points of the lead. It was a big day at Warnemunde with the offshore southerly wind shifting massively and gusting up to 25 knots.
After coming in from the left of the beat, Simpson rounded ahead of Mike Lennon and Andy Rice, closely followed by big breeze masters Andy and Tom Partington. By the bottom of the first run the rapid Partingtons had moved into the lead with Lennon and Simpson following. At this point the sky turned dark and the foam was fizzing off the top of wave caps, with visibility on the 1.3 mile course making it difficult to see the windward mark. Partington, Lennon and Simpson all overstood the layline, allowing Alister Richardson and Simon Wheeler, who had tacked their way up the middle, to take the lead down the reaches. However Simpson re-exerted his pressure on the race, seizing the lead with some brave gennaker flying while others two-sailed for part of the first tight reach.
The Partingtons were close behind in second up the next beat, but a failure of a rope in their rudder system forced Andy to stop to try make a repair, which meant they fell out of contention.
As the leaders rounded the third windward mark on to the run, a nasty squall swept across the course, capsizing many of the leading bunch. Lennon’s cap wire snapped, and his mast broke, forcing him out of the race. Richardson capsized during the hoist, and just as he pulled the boat upright he was caught in a collision with Australians Dave Alexander/Cameron McDonald. With the Australian boat holed, they were forced out of the race but later got average points after convincing the jury that it was Richardson who was at fault for failing to keep clear.
Meanwhile at the front, nearly all the frontrunners had a swim at some point, including Simpson, although he still managed to cling on to first place, followed by Australians Roger Blasse and Andrew Gilligan who took advantage of all the carnage and capsizing to take second place ahead of Martin and Neale Jones. Former World Champions Lindsay Irwin and Andrew Perry were fourth, Archie Massey/Matt Noble fifth, and Dave Evans/Simon Hiscocks sixth. Evans’s finish was impressive seeing as a shroud snapped on exiting a tack, and fast-reacting Hiscocks managed to save the mast and effect a temporary lashing to secure the rig before continuing the race.
Massey and Noble lead Simpson/Rollerson by four points in the series, with just one race to go. However tomorrow’s forecast is for even more breeze than today, along with the prospect of bigger seas, so Simpson and others will be praying they get their chance to topple Massey from the leaderboard just when it matters most.
Provisional top six results overall after six races of seven (with one discard)
1. Archie Massey/Matt Noble (GBR), 15 points
2. Jarrod Simpson/ Grant Rollerson (GBR), 19
3. Dave Alexander/Cameron McDonald (AUS), 21
4. Roger Blasse/Andrew Gilligan (AUS), 25
5. Mike Lennon/ Andy Rice (GBR), 27
6. Martin & Neale Jones (GBR), 34