Marstrand, Sweden (July 15th, 2017) – Phil Robertson ignored the good advice of his mother and rose from his sick bed to contest the third day of the M32 World Championship in Marstrand, Sweden.
The Kiwi skipper of ChinaOne Ningbo is probably glad that he soldiered on through his illness because Robertson extended his overall lead after another solid performance across a long but fruitful five-race afternoon.
The sky was as blue as the waters of Marstrand and with a 10-knot breeze the 15 teams couldn’t have asked for better conditions. There were five different race winners today, including Robertson who got the bullet in race two. Robertson’s voice was sounding less hoarse than 24 hours earlier, the New Zealander perhaps mindful that his mother might be watching from the other side of the world.
“I think Mum saw that I was sick yesterday and told me I wasn’t allowed to go sailing today. But I didn’t write back, so… sorry Mum!” As for the racing, that went rather well for Robertson. “We started pretty strong in the light airs with a second and a first. We wobbled a bit in the middle but it’s a big boat, with 15 boats on a reaching start. If you don’t get off the line cleanly you’re battling away in the pack. We got a bit caught out, stuck in the middle in a couple of races. But we came good in the last one for another solid second.”
ChinaOne Ningbo now holds a nine-point lead over Denmark’s Jonas Warrer who sits in second place just a point in front of CFA Sport Racing skippered by Chris Steele from New Zealand. Topping the Corinthian owner-driver standings is Don Wilson, whose Convexity sits just four points off the podium, ready to pounce on any final-day errors by the pros.
Winner of today’s first race was Rasmus Rosengren and the young Artemis Racing Youth team representing the KSSS Yacht Club. It set the tone for a better day all round for the young Swedes who move up to fifth overall. “The difference from the other days was we started well and we were in the hunt from the beginning, so we could work our way to the top.” They crossed the finish line triumphant at winning a race but were put through a measurement check by the on-the-water jury, which revealed that two of the crew weren’t carrying safety knives on their buoyancy aids. They were docked a penalty point, although the race win still stands.
Safety issues are taken seriously, and with good reason. There were two man overboard incidents today but thankfully everyone was recovered safely.
Today’s other race winners were Convexity, 49er Olympic gold medallist Jonas Warrer, and Nicklas Dackhammar steering Essiq Racing Team. “These conditions today in Marstrand, breeze and sun, it’s excellent sailing,” said Dackhammar. “We struggled a bit in one race, we had an OCS. But otherwise we always gained boats all the time and we were fast. It’s always nice to have a race win, and that was because of a clean start and then we were leading the whole way round and just extending from the other boats. It feels really good.”
However Dackhammar and the rest of the fleet are expecting much stronger breeze for the final day. “We’re looking at some rain and a lot of wind. The forecast said it’s around 30 knots, so we will see. But these boats are fun to sail in strong winds so I think we’re going to have a fun day tomorrow.” Dutch Finn Olympian Pieter-Jan Postma is also looking forward to the strong winds. “We are struggling in the lighter breezes while we learn to mode the boat correctly, so we’re looking forward to more wind on Sunday.”
Robertson doesn’t mind too much what the weather brings, although he’d probably prefer another day like today. “We’ve had a glamour so far here. Sunny and breeze. Marstrand has been good to us, it’s been perfect. But tomorrow i think it’s going to throw everything at us. We’re expecting a lot of rain and a lot of wind. It could get pretty nasty out in the sound. It could be all on.”
This evening the sailors are invited to Spa Night at the Marstrand Havshotell, where they can relax in a jacuzzi on the terrace and enjoy a long, cool drink as the sun sets over the castle. Or they could go to bed early with a protein shake, because tomorrow they might need all the strength they can muster for the big breeze of the final day.