SURF’S UP:Lake Macquarie’s Rhumb and Newcastle’s Anger Management, below, compete in Division B on Thursday. Picture Andrea FrancoliniNEWCASTLE sailor Michael Martin had hoped the home conditions would offer an advantage, but it proved quite the opposite on day one of the Australian IRC Championships on Thursday.
Martin’s TP52, Frantic, bombed out in the home stretch of race two due to a torn spinnaker.
The crew tried to replace the spinnaker, but the strong wind knotted the second sail around the mast.
This prevented Martin’s crew from competing in day one’s third and final event.
‘‘We were going down to the finish, so we were going OK, and just a small tear got bigger all of a sudden and blew straight out,’’ Martin said. ‘‘We’ll live to fight another day.’’
Frantic’s crew were hoping to repair the spinnaker overnight to continue their campaign in race four of the eight-event program today.
‘‘If we can get this spinnaker down tonight as the wind’s dropped a bit, we’ll see how it looks and go from there,’’ he said.
Frantic finished race one sixth in the seven-yacht fleet.
One of the Division A pre-championship favourites, Ichi Ban, which includes the Central Coast’s London gold medallist Tom Slingsby in the crew, also struggled in the Newcastle waters.
In race one, Ichi Ban was neck-and-neck with the eventual winner, New Zealand’s Beau Geste, when it damaged its spinnaker and was forced to withdraw.
Ichi Ban returned for race two but is fifth in the series on 15 points, 11 behind Beau Geste, which won two of the opening three races.
Newcastle sailors are also off the pace in Division B.
Matthew Fensom’s Long Time Dead is seventh in the 10-yacht fleet after finishes of fifth, fifth and ninth.
Phil Arnall’s Anger Management is right behind Long Time Dead after placing sixth, eighth and sixth.
Lake Macquarie boat Rhumb, skippered by Ian Humphris, is 10th.
Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club is faring far better in Division C.
Veteran Sydney to Hobart sailor Rob Howard and his yacht Schouten Passage are third on 10 points behind Sydney boats Wild Rose (four) and Justadash (eight).
Competition continues today with the four- to seven-hour long-distance race, which could take the big boats as far north as Cabbage Tree Island off Hawks Nest and as far south as Swansea.
‘‘Boats probably won’t make up the gap tomorrow as it’s a different style of racing,’’ Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club chief executive Richard Howard said.
‘‘The tactician will still play a big role, but the navigator will, too.’’