Back in their stride
Gotta Love It 7 trailed the current NSW team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers in the early stages of today’s race but proved too strong over the final lap of the course to win by 1m26s.
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers looked to be safe in second place for most of the final lap, but a brilliant finish from Smeg, led by replacement skipper Hugh Stodart, with regular crew Dan Phillips and Jim Beck, saw that skiff take second place by just 9s right on the finish line.
Andy Budgen’s new Project Racing skiff took an early lead at the first windward mark and was in close contention with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Gotta Love It 7 for the next lap of the course.
They held on to finish fourth, another 33s behind Thurlow Fisher.
Former Australian champion John Winning finished fifth in Yandoo, ahead of Andrew Cuddihy’s Fisher & Paykel, De’Longhi (Trevor Barnabas) and Appliancesonline.com.au (John Winning Jr.).
While most of the fleet carried their smaller #2 rigs, John Harris’ Rag & Famish Hotel went big and struggled to finish nineth, almost eight minutes from the winner.
For the first half of today’s race there was a three way battle between Gotta Love It 7, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Project Racing.
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers grabbed the lead from Gotta Love It 7 on the work back from Obelisk Bay to Shark Island (Rose Bay).
The spinnaker run across the harbour to Athol Bay East enabled Gotta Love It 7 and Project Racing to reduce the lead when Thurlow Fisher Lawyers had to drop their spinnaker to clear Bradleys Head.
The three skiffs were separated by just six secs. as spinnakers were set for the next run back to Obelisk.
Gotta Love It 7 rolled Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on the run but the latter team lost all hope when they had to drag a crew member “water skiing style” through the water.
Once a good lead had been established, Gotta Love It 7 was never in danger of defeat.
Race 2 of the championship will be sailed next Sunday 17 January. The following three races will be sailed on 24, 26 and 31 January.