Big breeze win for 7
The trio were near the lead throughout in an incident-packed race and finally crossed the finish line a one minute six seconds victor.
Omega Smeg, with replacement skipper Trevor Barnabas at the helm finished second with Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) a further 17 seconds back in third place.
Just behind the placegetters were Ssangyong Yandoo (John Winning), Club Marine (Adam Beashel), race one winner Asko Appliances (Hugh Stodart) and defending champion Macquarie Real Estate (Micah Lane).
The current point standing is Gotta Love It 7 on four points, Rag & Famish on five, Asko Appliances on seven, Club Marine on ten, Ssangyong Yandoo on 11 and Macquarie on 13.
The race was sailed in a 20-knot North East wind and big seas and was incident-packed from the start. The First casualty was the current Giltinan (world) champion Fiat team, skippered by Michael Coxon. Fiat was the pre race favourite but snapped a centerboard at the start and took no further part.
Asko, Ssangyong Yandoo, Gotta Love It 7 and Omega Smeg were the early leaders and maintained their advantage to the windward mark.
Asko and Yandoo went to the left under spinnakers while Gotta Love It 7 and Omega Smeg went to the right. At the end of the run Asko held a very narrow lead over Yandoo while Omega Smeg had moved ahead of Gotta Love It 7. There was a small break to Club Marine and Rag & Famish then another gap to Macquarie Real Estate and Maytag.
Asko was 20 seconds ahead of Gotta Love It 7 at the next windward mark but her winning chances went soon after. Stodart and his crew came off a wave and buried Asko into another before cartwheeling out of contention.
From that point Gotta Love It 7 was in control but the spectators were treated to some brilliant skills from a very talented team.
It was a great exhibition by the entire fleet as 19 of the 23 starters completed the course – although some will need gear repairs before next weekend’s race three of the championship.
Photos continue on the following page.