Drennan captures early regatta lead

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 November, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 November, 1997, 12:00am

Australian Noel Drennan took the early advantage by winning the first race of the OOCL World Etchells Championship yesterday off Lamma Island.

Drennan rounded each mark in first place and kept position down the final leg to win from compatriots Colin Beashel and John Bertrand.

Bertrand was second behind Drennan until the final mark, where he was overtaken by Beashel.

Bertrand later lodged a protest against Beashel for an incident on the second windward leg, claiming he had to move away to avoid a collision. However, his protest was dismissed.

Hong Kong's Mark Thornburrow finished fourth with Denmark's Poul-Ricard Hoj-Jensen, who won Saturday's practice race, coming home in fifth. Pre-regatta favourites Jud Smith, Michael Coxon and Jeff Madrigali finished seventh, ninth and 10th respectively.

'It was a pinching contest at the mark,' said Smith. 'Mark passed by all of us by himself and we were the monkey in the middle.

'But tomorrow is another day.' There are five remaining races in the series, which ends on Friday, and each sailor is allowed to discard one race.

The championship is the last leg of the OOCL World Series in which skippers are competing for the world series trophy, based on the accumulation of points over a period of three years and a total of four regattas.

More than 30 international sailors have entered the competition.