Gotta Love It 7 shows her colours
With the Australian Championship already decided in favour of the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team, today’s Race 5 of the championship on Sydney Harbour almost became a one race test for the upcoming JJ Giltinan Championship in March.
Although the title was theirs, Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas had to be content with a second placing today as the defending champion Gotta Love It 7 proved far too good in the 20-knot northeast wind. Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage sailed brilliantly from the start and were never on danger of defeat as they steered Gotta Love It 7 to a 38s win from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers. Third placing today and second overall in the championship went to Yandoo (John Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson) which finished a further 52s back. Red Claw Wines (Matt Searle) was fourth, followed by Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) and Panasonic (Jonathan Whitty)
The final pointscore in the championship was Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on 6, Yandoo 14, Gotta Love It 7 15, Red Claw Wines 15, Project Racing (Andy Budgen) 22 and Smeg (Nick Press) on 24.
Gotta Love It 7 was amongst the leaders from the start and quickly established a lead on the beat to the windward Beashel Buoy mark. Simon Nearn’s De’Longhi-Rabbitohs was in second place, 30s behind ‘7’, followed by Smeg and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, which trailed by 50s. US champion Howie Hamlin had CST Composites in fifth place, just ahead of Yandoo.
The fleet ‘flew’ downwind to the wing mark off Shark Island then to the bottom mark at Clarke Island. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers had worked her way through into second place, but was still 40s from the lead.
Yandoo had closed up to third, ahead of Smeg, De’Longhi-Rabbitohs, Red Claw Wines and Grant Rollerson's SLAM.
On the following beat, the same seven teams were leading the fleet, although De’Longhi-Rabbitohs had been relegated to seventh place.
While Gotta Love It 7 held a commanding lead, the battle for minor placings was gripping as Yandoo and Red Claw Wines were also striving for overall results.
7’s lead was out to 1m20s as she headed for home on the final spinnaker run via the wing mark at Shark Island, while Thurlow Fisher Lawyers finally shook off the challenge from Yandoo to take second place.
Full results here