Artemis fight back on Day 3 of 5.5 Metre World Championship
Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli-Saether) put in the best performance on day 3 of the 2023 5.5 Metre World Championship at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo, Sardinia, to pull back to within three points of event leaders Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemysław Gacek, Edward Wright). John B (BAH 26, Gavin McKinney, Mathias Dahlman, Lars Horn Johannessen) moved up the third after winning the last race of the day.
Despite the earlier start at 11.00 to make the best of the forecast, Wednesday produced light and shifty conditions of no more than 5-8 knots that challenged everyone and brought a lot of different boats to the front of the fleet. It was a tough day and many decisions had big consequences as the fleet navigated the tricky wind.
In Race 5, Marie-Françoise XXII (SUI 232, Jürg Menzi, Lionel Rupp, Christof Wilke) rounded first and sailed away to a comfortable win. Behind them, Beta Crucis (AUS 63, Bob Stoddard, Martin Cross, Simon Reffold) rounded second with Artemis in third and battled downwind and up again with Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard Haissly, Daniel Stampfli, Nicolas Berthoud) also in the mix. As they approached the finish, Artemis just had enough legs to cross in front of Beta Crucis to take second.
The breeze looked like it might increase for the second race but in fact dropped to 5-6 knots. This time, Isla (GBR 40, Stephen Quigley, William Finlay, Tom Quigley) rounded first from John B and Melx III (GRE 5, Stavros Papagiannopoulos, Panagiotis Kamouridis, Pavlos Kagialis). At the gate Ku-Ring-Gai III (AUS 66, John Bacon, James Mayjor, Terry Wetton) was just ahead of John B with the Greeks still in third. It all changed on the second beat with John B making a break and leading down to the finish from Artemis and Ku-Ring-Gai III.
Both Artemis and John B put in impressive performances in very tough conditions. With the discard now in after six races, Aspire holds a three point lead over Artemis, which scored two amazing second places today, while John B is a further nine points back.
Gavin McKinney said, "The first 10 minutes of the race set the tone, and whether you're a slow or fast boat matters. If a slow boat gets in front, faster boats may catch up, but if a fast boat positions itself well, it becomes challenging to be overtaken. Two days ago, a faster boat passed us when we were in front. Today, we had good pressure, played some shifts well, and that seemed to work in our favour.
"It's crucial to secure a decent lane at the start and then position yourself on the right side. In the first race today, unfortunately, we were on the wrong side, and we faced some challenges. However, in the last race, we made the right call, and upon tacking, we achieved a favourable angle and quickly moved ahead of the fleet. It's a bit like rolling the dice, and consistency pays off. We're pleased, especially considering we were almost late for the start today. We managed to get out there, and we used our light gear, which was a bit of a gamble, but it turned out okay. It was the first time we've used it."
It's the first major championship for the Greek team and they are really enjoying the fleet and the competition.
Stavros Papagiannopoulos said, "We truly appreciate the class and the races, and the race committee does an excellent job. The weather has been very pleasant, and today's conditions were particularly accommodating for us, resulting in a much better performance compared to previous days.
"In the second race, we fared quite well, relatively speaking. The initial part of the race was solid, and we managed the downwind section effectively. However, we encountered some challenges in the second part, leading to a bit of a setback and we ended up in 11th position."
Four races remain over the next two days and with conditions not forecast to improve, this one looks like it will go right down to the wire.
Results after 6 races
1 Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemysław Gacek, Edward Wright) 15
2 Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli-Saether) 18
3 John B (BAH 26, Gavin McKinney, Mathias Dahlman, Lars Horn Johannessen) 27
4 Girls on Film (GBR 41, Louise Morton, Andrew Mills, Sam Haines) 31
5 Ku-Ring-Gai III (AUS 66, John Bacon, James Mayjor, Terry Wetton) 31
6 New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) 32
7 Ali Baba (SUI 224, Flavio Marazzi, Julie Marazzi, Eline Marazzi) 35
8 Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard Haissly, Daniel Stampfli, Nicolas Berthoud) 36
9 The Jean Genie (GBR 43, Peter Morton, Andrew Palfrey, Ruairadh Scott) 38
10 Shaolin (SUI 226, Philippe Dürr, Andreas Kindlimann, Hans Von Werdt) 42