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Rashley celebrates birthday in style

The lead of the Amlin International Moth Regatta swapped hands yesterday as Chris Rashley celebrated his 27th birthday in spectacular fashion.

The British sailor won the only two races sailed in wet and wild conditions, replacing compatriot Robert Greenhalgh at the top of the leaderboard. The pair were separated on a tiebreaker after both remained level on points after the first drop.

Rashley's strategy of “keeping it simple” paid off as he conquered the challenging conditions and the fleet to give himself the “perfect” birthday gift.

“Fast day's racing on my birthday and having two bullets is perfect,” Rashley said. “I could not have asked for more.”

With plenty of racing up ahead and the championship wide open, Rashley curbed his birthday celebrations back on land.

“Celebrating for me will be going home and putting my feet up and just chilling out, because there's a lot more racing to go,” he said. “It's such a long regatta. We've just had five races out of fifteen, and so it's a third of the way through in terms of the races now.”

Rashley withstood strong winds that peaked at 30 knots during a squall, and poor visibility, to snatch the coveted yellow bib away from Greenhalgh, whom he finished second behind at last summer's European Moth Championships.

“It was a lovely day on the water,” Rashley said. “David Campbell James, our race officer, made an excellent decision to send us out.

“We got out there and it was sort of 15 [knots] gusting 20 and built throughout the races, so it was really good sailing.

“In these conditions the key was just keeping it simple, making sure you don't over stand the mark, and sailing the shortest possible distance and keeping the boat upright. That's really all I went for today.”

Sitting in third after five races is Simon Hisccocks, also of Great Britain, nine-points off the lead.

In seventh is Ben Paton, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club sailing coach, who is also representing Great Britain. Paton produced a best showing of fourth in the fifth race, and is generally pleased with the way things have panned out so far.

“I'm not in bad shape and I think I've put together a good series so far,” he said. “We've got another ten races to go, and so this regatta is just starting really.”

Among the sailors that never made it to the starting area yesterday was James Doughty, the only Bermudian sailor competing. Doughty, who sits in 46th, opted to stay inshore rather than risk damaging his boat in the rough conditions without the luxury of having spare parts.

It proved to be a wise decision as at least half a dozen boats suffered broken masts and various other breakdowns, including broken booms and other control systems.

“I heard one guy capsized 27 times even before he got to the start,” James said.

“We did two races and thought that was enough, because we are pretty stretched on the safety as well when you have this many boats (55).”

Racing continues today.

Wild ride: Rashley rounds the second leeward gate of the fourth race on the Great Sound (Photograph by Beau Outteridge/Amlin International Moth Regatta)

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Published December 09, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 08, 2015 at 10:43 pm)

Rashley celebrates birthday in style

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