Patton taking positives from uphill battle
Tim Patton is having an absolute blast at the Etchells World Championship that concludes today in Brisbane, Australia, even though his results might suggest otherwise.
The experienced Bermudian sailor finds himself well down the pecking order in 81st place among a star-studded fleet of 94 boats after the drop came into effect in the wake of the seventh race yesterday.
“Great regatta with a whole slew of world-class players,” Patton said. “America’s Cup, Olympic and world champions.
“It is really amazing that there are competitors with more than 60 years of age difference. John Bertrand [former America’s Cup winner] is 71! This truly is a sport for life.”
The multiple Bermuda Etchells champion, whose best showing to date is 51st, has struggled coming to terms with a strong current.
“We are dealing with the choppy conditions pretty well, but are still struggling with the tide, which moves at 1˝ knots,” Patton said. “We were one of 11 boats black-flagged [disqualified at the start of the fifth race] because we were pushed over by the tide.
“Our starts have been poor, which results in fighting at the back of the fleet while the boats that get away have a much easier time. Even some very good teams are not doing all that well.”
Patton is competing Down Under with teenaged son Campbell and 2020 Olympic hopeful Rockal Evans.
“Rockal and Campbell are doing a great job with trim and tactics,” Patton said. “This is much different than the type of racing they are accustomed to.”
Patton and crew will now look to finish the regatta on a positive note.
“I am confident that we have some good results in us,” he said.
“We need a good start and then I feel we now have the boat speed to get towards the right end of the fleet.”
Meanwhile, also competing at the championship is Jesse Kirkland.
He represented Bermuda in the 49er class at the 2012 Olympics in England, and is among the crew of American Etchells champion Scott Kaufman, who sits in 25th spot with a best showing of fifth.
Martin Hill, of Australia, holds a three-point advantage at the top of the standings heading into the final day.
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