One Single Point. And 60m…

Hard to see an event ever getting closer results than at the end of 2017 GINats Day 3.

Stronger squally winds accompanied some minimal rain showers moving past Green Island today, leaving some unscheduled breaks in the morning’s scheduled slalom racing. With quality racing a benchmark of GI events, organisers were clear to run racing in only proper conditions, resulting in a little more waiting but certainly better action and results overall.

Overnight leader Max Gaubert dropped an uncharacteristic unforced error, whilst Ben Newson continued his run of tidy and consistant sailing this year to not only impress but also boosted himself into an end of Day 3 single point lead in overall slalom rankings, just ahead from Max and popular New Caledonian Alex Rouys both tied on 7 overall points, separated only on countback. With organisers aiming for an event total of 7 slalom tables, consistency and score discards will definitely come into play, and with 2 days of completion yet to run, it’s all still to play for..

Day 3 Freerace action started under light conditions, with a very ominous tropical storm cloud moving just to the South of the Island. Competitors gambled bigger rigs for light wind power vs smaller equipment for potential performance in what looked like being some serious albeit short term wind. After a few early minutes of inconsistent condition, the hour long session settled into a near perfect Freerace session on Green Islands Reef Flats top course, a nautical equivalent of a giant swimming pool or arena largely protected by the outer ring reef. In 15-18 kts, the event quickly settled down to a fairly even battle between the main Freerace front runners Byron McIlveen, Kaleb Smith, NC-1 Alex Rouys and Cairns local Kelly Morgan. Byron’s speed seemed like he would again be the winner of Day 3, but once the results were in Tasmanian Kaleb Smith who won the day with an equivalent gap over Byron of 60m after 1 hour of solid racing. All 4 front runners delivered average speed within 0.2kts of each other; about as close as imaginable. Day 4 and 5 also promise some exciting action to decide 2017’s champions.

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