20 knots down-under
Gotta Love It 7 had the boat speed upwind and were spectacular under spinnaker to win by 24 seconds from Ssangyong Yandoo (John Winning) with CST Composites (Chris Dixon) a further 12 seconds back in third place.
Behind the placegetters were Macquarie Real Estate (Micah Lane), Fiat (Michael Coxon) and Asko Appliances (Hugh Stodart).
Gotta Love It 7 led a tightly bunched fleet to the windward marks, where the three-buoys came into play for the first of three times during the race.
Macquarie Real Estate took advantage of going to the middle mark and was first to set her spinnaker, ahead of Sean Langman’s Thurlow Fisher, 7, Asko, CST and Ssangyong Yandoo.
The spinnaker run to the wing had the spectators cheering loudly as the skiffs jumped across the water at tremendous speed.
7 took the lead off Steel Point to lead at the wing mark but Ssangyong Yandoo was putting plenty of pressure on to grab second place ahead of Macquarie Real Estate.
Keith Piggin Real Estate (Peter Morrison) joined the leading group on this leg and was holding sixth spot before breaking a mast at the gybe.
The three leading teams worked back up the second windward leg with little between them.
Ssangyong Yandoo rounded the blue marker 15 seconds ahead of Gotta Love It 7 which had to go to the further white buoy. Macquarie was next to the blue buoy and actually split the others with the distance advantage over 7.
Once again Gotta Love It 7 was brilliant on the long downwind leg to the start mark and from that point was never headed to score an excellent victory.
The strong winds took a toll on the fleet with only 14 of the 21 starters completing the course.
Next week is race one of the Club Championship and is also the first selection race to determine Australia’s 15 boats to contest the 2008 Giltinan Championship in February.