Close to two minute win for 7
The young team took an early lead and were never headed before recording a one minute 48 second win from five times champion Trevor Barnabas in Omega Smeg.
New Zealand’s CT Sailbattens, skippered by Phil Airey, was third, a further 35 seconds behind Omega Smeg.
After two general recalls, the race began in an eight to ten knot South-East breeze with the series favourite Gotta Love It 7 getting the jump at the committee boat end of the line.
Pure Blonde (James Francis) and Macquarie Real Estate (Micah Lane) led the group at the flag end. ( Pure Blonde, however, was declared over the line at the start and disqualified by the starter).
As the fleet worked their way to the windward mark in Rose Bay the class of the Gotta Love It 7 crew prevailed and the national champions crossed the fleet with a narrow lead over Macquarie Real Estate.
When they reached the mark the 7 team’s lead was seven seconds from Macquarie Real Estate, with the UK skiff TMF Group (Jarrod Simpson) in third place.
Club Marine (Adam Beashel), Omega Smeg and Asko Appliances (Hugh Stodart) were next ahead of a closely bunched fleet as spinnakers were set for the long run to Athol Bay West mark.
The angle of the breeze forced all teams to gybe but Gotta Love It 7 maintained her lead over Macquarie Real Estate as the pair extended their margin over third placed TMF Group.
Club Marine was still fourth ahead of Asko, Fiat (Michael Coxon) and Omega Smeg but this group had lost ground on the run.
7 was far superior on the work back to Clarke Island where she established a lead of 40 seconds over TMF Group. Macquarie lost out badly and was back in third place, some 45 seconds from the lead.
Club Marine maintained fourth place while Omega Smeg, Asko and CT Sailbattens had edged ahead of Fiat after electing to sail to the RHS of the course.
7 and TMF set spinnakers early for the tight run to Chowder Bay while Macquarie preferred to two-sail reach for more than half the run before setting their kite.
At the lee mark Gotta Love It 7 was still a 25 seconds leader but Macquarie’s tactic had helped move the skiff to within 25 seconds of 7.
Club Marine and TMF were the only other teams within one minute of the leader.
7’s domination upwind was again rammed home as she increased her margin again on the windward leg across the harbour to Rose Bay.
While the winner looked certain at this stage, the battle for the minor placings took on a whole new dimension.
New Zealand’s CT Sailbattens had moved into second place ahead of Omega Smeg, followed by the defending champion Fiat, Club Marine, Asko, Macquarie and TMF.
From that point Gotta Love It 7 was always going to win and the experience of Trevor Barnabas saw Omega Smeg gain the upper hand over CT Sailbattens after a tight struggle over the concluding legs of the course.