McNicol back on top
The British team of Andy Budgen, Matt McGovern and James Barker also gave an excellent display in the conditions and finished second in Project Racing. Third place today went to Southern Cross Constructions, which finished a further 13s behind Project Racing. For the Southern Cross crew of Euan McNicol, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas it was enough to give them a narrow lead in the championship with two more races still to be sailed. After discarding their worst performances to date, Southern Cross has a total of 10 points, followed by Active Air-2UE (Matthew Searle) on 12, Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) and Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) both on 13 and today’s winner appliancesonline on 16. Project Racing is sixth on 24 points.
With such a narrow margin separating the top five teams, there seems no doubt that the winner will not be known until late on Sunday afternoon.
From the start today, Project Racing and appliancesonline quickly established a lead over Active Air-2UE and Southern Cross Constructions. Project Racing held a 10s margin at the Beashel Buoy windward mark then increased it marginally downwind to the Clarke Island mark.
There was little change among the leading group on the spinnaker run although Southern Cross moved ahead of Active Air-2UE. After a poor start, Gotta Love It 7 recovered into fifth place just ahead of USA1, skippered by former Giltinan winner Howie Hamlin.
Project Racing and appliancesonline continued to stage their own personal battle for the lead on the following beat to the Beashel Buoy with appliancesonline grabbing a two boat length lead as spinnakers were set for the return run to Clarke Island.
The next three placings remained unchanged with Southern Cross holding third place ahead of Active Air-2UE and Gotta Love It 7. While the racing was close there was no change in the placings over the remainder of the course before appliancesonline crossed the line a clear winner.
Rag & Famish Hotel was well back in the pack early but her crew battled away to bring the skiff home in sixth place as so keep them well in championship contention. Thurlow Fisher (Bruce Savage) came home in seventh place ahead of Yandoo (John Winning), Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Cuddihy) and USA1.
Race 6 will be conducted on Saturday with the highly anticipated Race 7 set down for Sunday.