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Replying to:A RL 24 Rig Designer and Sail Maker is leading again
NEWS RELEASE 2 August 2004 Michael Coxon takes out first race of Worlds “with a little bit of luck” Sydney sailmaker and international yachtsman Michael Coxon took out first winning honours in the eight race ACE Etchells World Championship which started off Mooloolaba today, capitalising on what he described as a “little bit of luck” in the form of a significant windshift near the first mark of the 12 nautical mile course. With a Pacific Ocean surf pounding onto the beaches of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the fleet of 85 boats enjoyed exhilarating but testing sailing as the northerly breeze freshened from 12 to 17 knots during the afternoon. However, Coxon, steering North Sydney, had to first overtake his elder brother, former Olympian Richard Coxon, also from Sydney, who led over the first two legs of the 12 nautical mile course with The Bottle, and two other Etchells Masters skippers, John Savage, from Melbourne, steering Cobra IV and Rob Antill from Lake Macquarie, steering Trekka. At the finish, Michael Coxon finished about 40 seconds clear of Peter McNeill, steering Tom Pepper XVII, from Lake Macquarie, with Savage, a past two times Etchells World champion, third. Antill finished in fourth place and Richard Coxon fifth, losing the lead with a spinnaker handling problem at the end of the first downwind leg of the course. “We had a terrible start and decided to go right in the hope of gaining some ground and we got that lucky break when the wind swung our way,” Coxon said back at MooloolabaYacht Club. “That helped but I think we adjusted well to the changing conditions, changing gears as the breeze freshened to take full advantage of that early lucky break.” America’s Cup legend Dennis Conner, who won yesterday’s invitation race in Menace, placed 23rd while his former America’s Cup rival, John Bertrand, was back in 37th place at the helm of Two Saints and a Magpie. Bertrand had been well placed on the first windward leg, but took a 720 degree turns penalty at the first mark after a racing rules infringement with former World champion Cameron Miles, sailing Pacesetter. Miles went on to finish 11th, with Bertrand losing many places in exonerating his rules breach. Michael Coxon is shaping up as a strong contender for the World Championship, having won two of the lead-up regatta races and finishing second to Dennis Conner in the Invitation Race, Apart from the luck of the windshift, he and his crew sailed well in the testing winds today. The Sydney sailmaker is a former America’s Cup sailor and varies his Etchells sailing by being sailing master on the super maxi ocean racer, Alfa Romeo. Crewing with him are former Olympian Steve Jarvin and Will McCarthy, currently a member of the Alinghi crew preparing to defending the America’s Cup in 2007. Today’s race was delayed for 25 minutes because of a major windshift, but when Principal Race Officer Arthur Hodge fired the gun the 85 boats hit the line in a perfect start. As the leading boats neared the first windward mark, however, the wind shifted to the right, giving boats on the seaward side of the course a marked advantage, reaching into the mark, while those on the inshore side had to make several extra tacks to reach the mark. In fact, three Masters skippers (aged over 50 years) were out in front, with Richard Coxon leading from John Savage and Rob Antill. At the end of the second beat to windward, 44-year-old Michael Coxon had edged ahead of his 59-year-old brother Richard and the other Masters while Peter McNeil also worked his way into second place. At the finish, Michael Coxon won by a comfortable 40 seconds from McNeil, a Lake Macquarie sailmaker with Savage sailing an excellent race to retain third place, ahead of Antill, Richard Coxon and the young Brisbane sailor Jason Muir, sailing Racer XY with a crew of former Sabot champions. Close astern of Muir came Andrew Hunn from Hobart, sailing Zulu with Chris Pratt from Adelaide sailing well to finish ninth with Squid. Grant Wharington, the Melbourne yachtsman who pulled out of the Sydney Gold Coast ocean race with his super maxi Skandia early today to fly from Ballina on the NSW North Coast to make the start of the first race of the Etchells Worlds, had a disastrous day, finishing 49th in Satu II. Two races are scheduled for tomorrow, but currently there is a strong wind warning for Queensland southern coastal waters that may effect racing. Full results: www.mooloolabaetchells.com.au