Black flag troubles
For a while spectators were wondering whether we would get a start at all. There were three general recalls when half the fleet seemed incapable of judging their start properly, then a further delay was necessary when the starter had to reset the course to accommodate a change in the direction of the wind.
One more general recall and then the race finally got under way - one hour after the scheduled start time.
More drama was to follow as four of the top competitors ( Fiat, Asko Appliances, Rag & Famish Hotel and Gotta Love It 7) were disqualified for breaching the ‘black flag’ recall rule.
The race finally began in a light breeze with a strong southerly wind predicted for later in the afternoon. Active Air-2UE (Matthew Searle) led to the windward mark with Keith Piggin Estate Agents and Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Cuddihy) close behind
Piggin and Active Air-2UE shared the lead at the bottom mark but Appliancesonline took advantage of the ‘red’ buoy rounding to lead at the second windward mark.
Along with Fisher & Paykel, these skiffs led the procession over the next lap of the course but De Longhi began to make her move on the third beat to windward. Applianceonline’s lead over De Longhi with one lap to sail was just 15 seconds.
At the final windward mark Appliancesonline just led De Longhi but superior spinnaker work by the De Longhi crew grabbed what proved to be a race-winning lead.
Keith Piggin Estate Agents made a final lunge only metres from the finish but Nearn and his team were equal to the task and got home as narrow winners.
Racing will recommence on Sunday 6 January 2008 with race one of the Australian Championship. The committee, officials and staff of the Australian 18 Footers League wish our sponsors and supporters a merry Christmas and happy New Year.