Big or small
Gotta Love It 7 took the victory by just five seconds from Fiat (Michael Coxon) with Pegasus Racing (Howie Hamlin) only eight more seconds back in third place.
Fourth placed Asko Appliances (Hugh Stodart) was six seconds further afield, followed by appliancesonline.com.au (John Winning Jr) and Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Cuddihy).
The win puts Gotta Love It 7 into second place over all on 14 points while Fiat retains the lead on 11.
Another north-easterly sea breeze greeted the 32-strong fleet for today’s race with crews split on their choice of rigs.
The big (#1) rig won out on the first windward leg when Asko led narrowly from Fiat and Gotta Love It 7. They were followed by Pegasus Racing, Rag & Famish Hotel and Southern Cross Constructions.
The three leaders gybed near Steel Point then had to fight hard along Shark Island to make the wing mark, while the rest of the fleet brought the wind down into Rose Bay.
Positions changed radically at the wing mark with Gotta Love It 7 taking over the lead following a great spinnaker handling exhibition by the young crew, who drove the skiff hard all the way.
Fiat and Pegasus Racing were higher to the wind and close behind while the previous leader, Asko had dropped back to fourth just ahead of Rag & Famish.
This group retained their positions to the leeward mark where Gotta Love It 7 had moved ahead to turn the corner with a 12 seconds lead. Gotta Love It 7’s crew sailed mostly to the left hand sie of the course on the next windward leg while Fiat and Asko went to the right.
Asko grabbed the lead back midway up the beat but it was 7 who won out in the end. They retained their 12 seconds lead as spinnakers were set for the long spinnaker run down the middle of the course.
A large container ship was leaving Sydney Harbour and tested the crews as they gybed along the northern shore.
At the bottom mark Gotta Love It 7 still held the lead but it had been reduced to seven seconds over Fiat and Asko.
7 turned for the final spinnaker run home with a 25 second lead but had to survive a near capsize as the skiff nose dived just after rounding the Beashel Buoy.
At Steele Point there was absolutely nothing (about four boat lengths) between the three skiffs as they began the run along Shark Island. Howie Hamlin had also joined the fight and was only 20-30 metres behind the others. At the wing mark 7’s lead was just three seconds.
The run between the islands to the finish was unbelievable as the four skiffs raced over the line with only 19 seconds separating them.
Race five will be sailed tomorrow (Thursday) and the final two races on Saturday and Sunday.