Ashby regains lead at A-Class world champs

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 17:16 13/02/2014

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Team New Zealand trimmer Glenn Ashby will swap his A-Class catamaran for his fishing boat tomorrow after regaining control of the world championships in Auckland.

A day after suffering a broken rudder that slipped him down the table, Ashby bounced back with a second and a first today as Team New Zealand sailors flexed their muscles again in testing conditions for the 81-strong fleet.

Tomorrow is a rest day with the final three races of the championship to be sailed over the weekend.

Ashby, aiming for an eighth world title in this demanding class, plans a bit of downtime before trying to close out the championship.

"I'm not going to do an Oracle, that's for sure," he said, referring to the Americans constant practice on days off during last year's America's Cup where he was in charge of the wingsail on Aotearoa.

"I'm going to take some of the Australian boys fishing."

Ashby knows these 18-foot cats inside out and relished the top-end conditions for the fifth and sixth races of the nine-race event that were sailed in 18-20 knots. 

Once his poorest result is dropped, he has a handy lead.

"It was nice to not bust anything today. Consistency is what you're aiming for but if you bust something it's a real frustration.

"It was a great day. I feel sorry for the boys that broke stuff but that was me yesterday."

Those rivals included young Team New Zealand recruit Peter Burling who won the fifth race but then suffered the frustration of a broken centreboard in the next race.

Burling's Olympic team mate and new Team New Zealand member Blair Tuke had a strong day, recording a third and second.

Ashby isn't surprised to see his pupils pushing him so hard.

"I was expecting them to be right up there with all the training and stuff we've done. They are going fast," he said.

"They have done a lot of work setting up the boats to make sure they are quick. They know how to get off the start line and where to point them. Any Olympic medallist who jumps into any class is always generally up there."

"I'm really rapt for all the boys and it's going to be an interesting weekend, that's for sure."

Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies, making a rare appearance in this class, had a 10th and 3rd to be in the mix for the business end of the regatta.

"I'm hanging in with a couple of days to go. It's bloody hard work keeping up with these young guys," Davies said.

The casualties included Britain's Alexis Reeves who snapped his cat in half during a gybe.

"I dug the nose in, the port hull went one way and the starboard hull went the other," he lamented.

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- Fairfax Media

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