Asko takes race one
Stodart, with regular crewman Niall Kinch and replacement Tim Webster trailed in second place for more than half the course before going on to a comfortable 51 second win over John Harris’ Rag & Famish Hotel with NSW champion Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) a further 18 seconds back in third place.
Fiat (Michael Coxon) finished fourth, with Club Marine (Adam Beashel) fifth and defending champion Macquarie Real Estate (Micah Lane) sixth.
Coxon timed his start to perfection and led the fleet across the harbour to Bradleys Head where Fiat led narrowly from Asko Appliances and Gotta Love It 7.
The right hand side of the course proved more successful in the light winds and the young Gotta Love It 7 crew did best to lead Asko by ten seconds at the windward mark.
Fiat fell back to third (45 seconds from the lead) with Rag & Famish Hotel fourth and Club Marine fifth.
The wind was very much in the east as the fleet sailed to the wing mark under spinnakers with many skiffs barely moving as they entered Rose Bay.
Gotta Love It 7 was equal to the conditions and increased her lead over Asko at the end of the first lap. Asko closed the gap to within two boatlengths after the first tack of the next windward leg.
Jarvin and his crew were again up to the challenge as they maintained their lead back to the windward mark.
The race had developed into a match race with Gotta Love It 7 just six seconds ahead of Asko as the pair began the spinnaker run down the middle of the course. Fiat was still third, ahead of Rag & Famish, Club Marine and Thurlow Fisher, but the group were a long way from the two leaders. The spinnaker run was critical and saw the race take a dramatic change.
Asko was further right on her line to the leeward mark and grabbed a 20 second lead from Gotta Love It 7 when that team didn’t appear to cover their rivals. Rag & Famish did a similar move and took over third from Fiat.
A freshening breeze over the final windward leg brought about a major change as Asko opened up a race winning margin of one minute as they headed for home. ‘ The Rag’ also showed great pace to grab second place ten seconds ahead of Gotta Love It 7.
Placings remained unchanged on the run to the finish.