Fiat goes top
Fiat crossed the finish line just four seconds ahead of John Winning Jr and his appliancesonline.com.au team with Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) a further 22 seconds back in third place.
The Fiat team now have a score of nine points, followed by Club Marine (Euan Mc Nicol) on 11, Gotta Love It 7 on 13, Asko Appliances (Hugh Stodart) on 22, Active Air-2UE (John Sweeny) 23 and Pegasus Racing (Howie Hamlin) 25.
Placed behind the top three today were Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) fourth, Asko Appliances fifth and Pegasus Racing sixth.
Keith Piggin Estate Agents (Peter Morrison) won the start but trailed Gotta Love It 7 and appliancesonline as the fleet approached Clifton Gardens.
A shift in the breeze to the east favoured skiffs on the right hand side of the course and positions were changing regularly as the fleet approached the windward mark.
At the Beashel Buoy the young Gotta Love It 7 crew led by 15 seconds from appliancesonline with Rag & Famish third.
A large group including Piggin Estate Agents, Fiat, Active Air-2UE, Asko, Belle, Macquarie Real Estate, Club Marine and CT Sail Battens were close behind.
The east northeasterly wind made life difficult for the crew as they sailed along Shark Island. Gotta Love It 7 were forced to drop their spinnaker early which allowed appliancesonline to grab the lead at the wing mark. Appliancesonline led by 15 seconds at the leeward mark as the pair turned for the second windward leg of the three lap course. Fiat had moved into a clear third place – but was now 50 seconds from the leader.
The two leaders took different courses at times on the beat back to Beashel Buoy with Gotta Love It 7 regaining the lead when they reached this windward mark. Fiat had gained and was now only 28 seconds from the lead.
Again the lead changed downwind as appliancesonline held just a three second margin over Gotta Love It 7 at the end of the long spinnaker run. Fiat was now only 18 seconds from the lead and it was definitely going to be a three-boat race for the final lap of the course.
The experience on board Fiat showed as the defending champs elected to go to the right and picked up the easterly slant. This move proved a winner as Fiat turned for the final spinnaker run home with a 15 second advantage over Gotta Love It 7. Appliancesonline was a further ten seconds back in third place.
The breeze was still to play a part in the final result as the crews again had difficulty clearing Shark Island to reach the wing mark in Rose Bay.
Gotta Love It 7 were forced to drop their spinnaker early allowing appliancesonlinethrough into second place – just behind Fiat.
All three crews were involved in a gybing duel between the islands to the finish as Coxon and his crew covered their opponents all the way for their narrow victory.