Brighton and Seacliff locals Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh kicked their regatta off to a great start with a win in the opening race of the W.E.S.S Australian 505 Championship at their home club.
The regatta has had a rather slow start with only one race completed so far after the first two days of championship racing due to severely light and challenging winds.
Higgins and Marsh, sailing on board ‘Hawaii Five-O’, won the race today in a soft north-to-northeasterly morning breeze that consistently swung left and began to fade.
Principal race officer Peter Gold shortened the race at the third top mark, which proved to be a great decision as the gulf completely glassed out a mere matter of minutes after the last boat had finished.
Class veteran Earle Alexander (sailing with Marcus Cooper on ‘Earle Grey 2’) kicked the race off as the pathfinder in the gate start and was licking his lips as the breeze clocked left just as he started.
He took the lift across to the right side of the course after seeing more pressure on the shore and led the race for the first windward-leeward leg.
Higgins started late and followed Alexander to the right before making his move on the second windward work and maintaining the lead from there.
Michael Quirk and Reeve Dunne in ‘Stealth’ sailed well to steal second place from Alexander, who finished third, while Americans Mike Holt and Rob Woelfel in ‘IO Integration’ were fourth and Shelley White and Ian Gregg in ‘Different Beauty’ were fifth.
After the first race was finished boats came ashore pending further decision from the race officer, however after a few hours waiting for wind — with only a few faint glimpses of hope — racing was postponed until another day.
We were also lucky enough to catch up with yachting royalty and 1966 505 World Champion Sir James Hardy at the club after the race, who was glad to be back in Adelaide checking out the national titles of one of his most beloved classes.