Southern Cross posts a win
In one of the closest races seen on the harbour, Southern Cross Constructions had to withstand a brilliant finishing burst by appliancesonlin.com.au (John Winning Jr., Dave Ewings and Tim Austin) to win by just 4s in a thriller.
Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris, Peter Harris and Scott Babbage) also produced a strong finishing burst to grab third spot another 19s behind appliancesonline.
Although relegated to fourth place today, Active Air-2UE (Matthew Searle, Dan Wilsdon and Archie Massey) still leads the championship with a total of 12 points, closely followed by Southern Cross Constructions and Rag & Famish Hotel together on 13 and Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Tom Clout) on 15. Appliancesonline is fifth on 22 points with Smeg (Hugh Stodart, Daniel Phillips and Jim Beck) sixth on 36.
Today’s race was sailed in shifting southerly breeze which fully tested all teams as it constantly changed direction and strength throughout.
Pure Blonde (James Francis) won the race to the first windward mark where she held a two boat lengths lead over Thurlow Fisher (Bruce Savage), Gotta Love It 7, Southern Cross and Active Air-2UE.
The young Pure Blonde crew was outstanding on the long spinnaker run to Obelisk Bay as they stretched their lead to 30s from Active Air-2UE, Southern Cross and Gotta Love It 7, which was trailing 90s from the lead. With the breeze tending a little west, all teams were forced to gybe several times.
The following windward leg back to Rose Bay saw a four way battle develop as Southern Cross and Active Air-2UE put pressure on Pure Blonde, while Gotta Love It 7 edged closer. At the Rose Bay mark Southern Cross led by just 2s from Active Air-2UE, with Pure Blonde 10s back and Gotta Love It 7 a further 15s away. Southern Cross retained the lead (20s) on the run to Athol Bay East mark as all crews had to drop and reset their spinnakers to clear Bradleys Head.
There was yet another lead change when Active Air-2UE took advantage of her windward position on the work to Clarke Island. Active Air-2UE led Southern Cross by 15s with Pure Blonde still third and a 30s gap to Gotta Love It 7 in fourth place.
While their three opponents gybed to the northern shore on the second run to Obelisk, the Pure Blonde team continued on their starboard gybe and were rewarded when they picked up a southerly breeze off Rose Bay. It gave Pure Blonde a 10s lead over Southern Cross, while Active Air-2UE was now 40s further back in third place ahead of appliancesonline, which made up good time in mid stream. Gotta Love It 7 lost out badly on this run and was trailing in fifth place 1m30s from the lead.
The pressure was on as the fleet headed into Rose Bay as the five leaders were joined by Rag & Famish Hotel. Southern Cross grabbed the lead back at Rose Bay, but the race was far from over. They retained the lead downwind and held a 23s margin at the final windward mark.
The race to the finish was intense as the five leaders were spread across the course searching for every breath of breeze.
Race 5 will be sailed tomorrow with the final two races set down for Saturday and Sunday.
Results - race and overall: