Mueller maintains lead on tricky day at Kinsale

Germany’s Tommy Mueller extended his overall lead in the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup at Kinsale yesterday as a third place for the day and upset amongst his nearest rivals set the stage for the second half of the series.

Light conditions dominated the two-and-a-half hour race south of the Bulman Rock and shifting wind direction caught many crews including several of the top contenders.

“It was very tricky — fortunately!” said Andy Beadsworth, a former Etchells class world champion who is sailing with Klaus Diederichs. “We didn’t have a particularly good start and rounded the windward mark in 40th.”

A big storm cloud ahead suddenly developed and a solution opened up.

“I was pretty confident going down the run that, with the cloud to my right, I remembered my youth squad lectures that said you have to head towards the cloud and you’ll get headed into it and then lifted (when) under it, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Fever went from around 40th place to 20th and gradually picked up a few more places by the finish to end in 15th place, which put the trio into sixth overall and in sight of the podium with three races remaining.

So has Mueller got the regatta sewn up? No way, according to Beadsworth. “Far, far, far from it!” he said last night. “He’s in a nice position at the moment but 10 points is nothing.”

Not so fortunate was Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen, the Danish class master who had been shadowing Mueller in second overall. He ended the day in eighth place after placing 34th when he was uncharacteristically caught out by three windshifts.

“We cannot complain too much,” Hoj-Jensen said. “We got it wrong three times so hopefully that’s the end of our bad luck and we can get it out of our mind and come back again.”

The double-Olympic medallist hasn’t written off his chances yet though much will depend on whether the overall leader can maintain his form and whether or not the promised forecast of more wind comes good.

“We’re eighth so we still feel we have a little chance but Tommy Mueller has really set the mark and a third place in these (light) conditions is really good for him,” said Hoj-Jensen.

Lucky charms were in short supply for Ireland’s Martin Byrne on Jaguar who was best of the home fleet in fifth overall going into yesterday’s final.

“We had been doing well but a huge shift came in on the last beat and we dropped 25 places,” Byrne said. “We tried to play catch-up but unfortunately when you’re that deep, it’s very hard to do anything about it.”

Byrne, with his crew Adam Winkelmann and Pedro Andrade, placed 33rd in the end and dropped from fifth overall to 12th in a fell swoop. Yet the points remain tight so recovery to a top five finish by Friday remains open.

It was a better day for Cameron Good with Simon Furney and Henry Kingston from Kinsale Yacht Club. They regained the lead for the Corinthian event and were ninth overall and best of the Irish last night.

And Claire Hogan from the Royal St George YC with Mel Collins, Laura Dillon and Graeme Grant were denied the race win by the narrowest of margins — a fraction of a boat length — after leading the 60-boat fleet for the second half of the race.

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