Aucklander Stu Clarke is making the most of the borrowed boat scenario in the Elliot 5.9 national sailing championships off Napier.
Forced to borrow fellow Aucklander Simon Manning's boat Blurr after his boat Slam Dunk collected major damage in a collision with the Napier Sailing Club skipper Gavin Earle's boat Bloodline in Taupo a month ago, Clarke, and his crew of Stu Malloy and Cam Horne, are second with eight of 12 races completed in the 13-boat regatta.
Defending champion and winner of the last three nationals, Aucklander Craig Satterthwaite and his crew of Richard Bearda and Matt Mitchell in Rough and Ready, will take a two point lead over Blurr into tomorrow's final day of racing.
"Anything is possible," replied Clarke when asked if he could overtake Satterthwaite, a bloke with America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race experience on his racing CV.
"We just have to keep doing what we've been doing and that's hoping for the best and doing what we can," Clarke explained.
"We're racing in very trying and testing conditions," Clarke said referring to the light and shifty breezes.
He admitted his crew had adapted well to Blurr.
"Blurr has always been a good boat. We've got our own sails on it and everything is working out well."
When asked if NZCU Baywide chief executive Earle was being hospitable enough in the wake of a crash between the two at Taupo and the promises made before the nationals Clarke replied:
"There was plenty of beer and rum on Wednesday night. Gavin was a bit quiet last night so we will see what he delivers tonight when we get to the bar."
Regatta organiser Gareth Howard said the original plan was to get 12 races in today but considering the light breezes officials did well to get three races completed.
"We're hoping to get four races in tomorrow but the forecast isn't promising."
A relief teacher, Howard, and finance officer Mike Fenwick are the crew for Earle. With fifth, eighth and 10th placings today Bloodline retained eighth place on the overall standings, 29 points behind Rough and Ready.
"We are being outsailed simple as that. These Aucklanders have got the edge and this regatta is an eye opener and learning experience for the Napier crews," Howard explained.
Another Auckland skipper, Sam Edwards, and his crew of Greg Wagstaff and Derek Scott on Brzo and Auckland's Nathan Williams and his crew of Dallas Bennett and Nick Bastow on Cheeky Darky are equal third, six points behind Clarke.
Napier skipper David Plowman who has his father Trevor, who competed in his first Elliot 5.9 nationals a decade ago, and Vincent Bussiere in his crew in Shock Treatment are 11th, 29 points behind Earle. They recorded two 11th placings and a discarded 13th today.
The other Napier skipper, Tony Clifford, and his crew of Duncan Gourley and Mark Sheldrake, who missed yesterday's first day of racing because of work commitments, recorded 10th, 11th and 13th placings in Magpie today. They are in 13th place, 29 points behind Shock Treatment.
This is Clifford's first Elliot 5.9 nationals.
Rough and Ready won today's first race. Blurr was second and Cheeky Darky third.
Aucklander Kevin Peet and his crew of Brent Mullan and Ben Costello in Smak recorded their first win of the regatta in today's second race. Blurr was second and Cheeky Darky third.
Edwards and co recorded their second win in the champs in today's third race. Rough and Ready was second and Blurr third.