Patton finds going tough Down Under
Tim Patton found the going tough during the opening day of racing at the Etchells World Championships in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday.
The local helmsman, who is competing with teenage son Campbell and 2020 Olympic Games hopeful Rockal Evans, finished 83rd among the 93-boat fleet in light and variable breezes, which only allowed the race committee to get in one race.
Patton is a multiple Bermuda Etchells class champion who has represented Bermuda at numerous Etchells World Championships. He also has considerable experience sailing in Australia where crew Evans is presently based.
Leading the pack after day one was local helmsman Iain Murray, the regatta director for the America’s Cup in Bermuda last year. He is competing with a crew which includes Grant Simmer, who served as the general manager of defender Oracle Team USA during the America’s Cup.
It was indeed a great day for the Australians, who occupy nine of the top ten spots in the standings. Another Bermudian competing Down Under is Jesse Kirkland who represented Bermuda in the 49er class at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Kirkland is serving as crew for US national Etchells champion Scott Kaufman who steered his team to an eleventh-place finish in the opening race yesterday.
“We’re pleased to get the event off the mark with a decent score in the first race,” Kirkland said. “We had a great start, sailed a conservative race with decent speed, though there are certainly areas to improve upon as we look ahead to race two.
“It’s worth noting as a team we weren’t firing on all cylinders as one of our crew was sick for two days with a virus, even being sick over the side just before the start.
“With our crew feeling a little better, we’re hopeful we can build off the first race. Although it won’t be easy as there’s some really tough competition.”
The regatta is being hosted by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and boasts ten former winners, including American helmsman Stephen Benjamin, who is the defending champion.
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