All set for final showdown
John Winning’s Ssangyong came home in second placing today, 53 seconds behind Club Marine, but retains a narrow lead going into the final race.
Third placing today and third overall in the championship goes to the defending champion team of Fiat, skippered by Michael Coxon, which was just 5 seconds further back.
Minor placings in today’s race went to Omega Smeg (Gary Phillips) fourth, followed by Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) and Asko Appliances (Hugh Stodart).
After each team discards its worst performance to date, Ssangyong Yandoo has a net score of six points, ahead of Club Marine on seven, Fiat nine, Rag & Famish Hotel ten, AAPT 16 and Asko Appliances also on 16.
Today’s race began badly for the Fiat crew who, along with Active Air-2UE (John Sweeny), were recalled for an OCS infringement.
Fiat returned but the Active Air-2UE’s crew didn’t know they were over and kept sailing to the windward mark.
It was unfortunate for Sweeny and his crew as they actually led the fleet around that buoy.
Officially, Omega Smeg was a narrow leader from Maytag, AAPT, Club Marine, Ssangyong Yandoo, Gotta Love It 7 and Asko Appliances.
Fiat and Rag & Famish Hotel were 15th and 16th respectively.
Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Cuddihy) was the star of a long and spectacular spinnaker run from Clarke Island to Obelisk Bay to grab the lead from Omega Smeg.
Mc Nicol stayed close to shore as the fleet worked back into the southerly wind and took a 20 seconds lead from Asko Appliances. Omega Smeg was third, ahead of Fisher & Paykel with Fiat now up to fifth place some 40 seconds from the lead.
Club Marine extended her lead to 1 minute 15 seconds at Clarke Island and was never in danger of defeat over the final lap of the course.
Most interest centred on the battle for second placing with Ssangyong Yandoo sailing a superb final lap to take second from Fiat.
Next Sunday’s final race winner will most likely also decide the championship winner with such small margins between the leading competitors.
It is likely that the excellent crowds following the championship to date will test the capacity of the spectator ferry.