The Rag to the fore
After two months of championship racing, the Australian 18 Footers League returned to Sydney Harbour today when it conducted the Club Trophy 3-buoys race.
A few skippers and crew members swapped boats for the day but it was the tried and true combination of John Harris, Scott Babbage and Peter Harris on board Rag & Famish Hotel which won the day. They took the honours by 48s from the UK team of Project Racing, led by Andy Budgen. Third place went to Kinder Caring Home Nursing, guest skippered today by Nathan Outteridge, which finished a further 36s back.
Rag & Famish and Project Racing won the start at the windward end of the line and both elected to go to the western side of Shark Island. The rest of the fleet, headed into Rose Bay by Bruce Savage’s Thurlow Fisher, went to the left. When the two groups met at the 3-buoy windward marks, Thurlow Fisher took advantage of a red buoy rounding to grab the lead.
The Rag was superior downwind to lead Thurlow Fisher around the Robertson Point mark. John Winning Jr. had Gotta Love It 7 into third position, closely followed by Asko Appliances (Evan Walker) and Project Racing, which lost time after a premature spinnaker set. Smeg (Daniel Phillips) and De Longhi (Simon Nearn) were next ahead of a closely bunched group of boats.
Gotta Love It 7 narrowly led Rag & Famish at Clarke Island, but The Rag was again superior downwind to retake the lead. From that point the Rag & Famish team was faultless and always in control.
Project Racing came back strongly to regain second placing over the loop section (Rose Bay-Taylors Bay-Rose Bay) of the course, but never really looked likely to take the lead.
Australian Olympic 49er sailor, Nathan Outteridge showed his talent with a guest stint as skipper of Kinder Caring Home Nursing. After a slow start, he led the Kinder Caring team back through the fleet for an excellent third placing ahead of Smeg, Southern Cross Constructions (Euan Mc Nicol) and Gotta Love It 7.