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Rockal Evans masters conditions to claim third series victory

Ruling the waves: Rockal Evans overcame trying conditions on the way to victory in the Finn class in Sydney Harbour, Australia. (Photograph supplied)

Rockal Evans clinched a third win in the 2022 Woollahra Sailing Club Summer Series competing in trying conditions in Sydney Harbour, Australia.

The Bermudian sailor was the only finisher in the sole race contested among the Finn class fleet as strong gales brought the day’s schedule to a grinding halt.

“Racing got cut short due to a squall that hit the racetrack with 30 knot gusts during the first race of the day,” Evans told The Royal Gazette. “Only one race was completed and I was the only finisher.”

The multiple national champion trailed behind the leaders when the weather took a turn for the worse.

“I was in third place when the squall hit near the top mark,” he added. “The fleet was on its last downwind leg heading to the finish and the visibility was bad due to the rain.

“To my surprise I saw the second place Finn capsize and then sailing along a little more the first place Finn capsized.”

With victory within grasp, Evans switched from competitive to survival mode to capitalise on his rivals’ misfortunes.

“Passing them I sailed in survival mode to the finish to take the win,” he said.

It is the second time Evans has won a race under the circumstances.

“This race bought back memories of me winning and being the only boat to finish the Edward Cross Long Distance Comet Race,” he said.

On that occasion, Evans and crew, Benn Smith, were the only entry among the eleven-boat fleet to complete the 18-mile race from the Great Sound to St George’s Harbour as blustery 25-30 knot winds took a heavy toll on the rest of the fleet.

Three Comet dinghies snapped their mast and were forced to retire while the remaining entries withdrew from the race after capsizing in tall seas.

“It was so crazy. After the start I looked back and all I saw was the bottom of boats,” Evans said. “I actually capsized four times. But I was just so determined and I really wanted to finish no matter what.”

Evans’s other two victories in the Summer Series Down Under came while competing in milder light and shifty conditions during the season opener in Sydney Harbour last month.

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Published February 12, 2022 at 7:26 am (Updated February 12, 2022 at 7:26 am)

Rockal Evans masters conditions to claim third series victory

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