Photos: Frank Quealey

Victory for the new Rag on her first outing

Fickle conditions for race 7 of the 18ft skiffs' 3-Buoys Challenge on Sydney Harbour

Sunday December 1st 2013, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: Australia

The new Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel was christened in the rigging area just before the race then Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Mark Kennedy put the finishing touch to the day of celebration with a great win in Race 7 of the 3-Buoys Challenge on Sydney Harbour today.

After a slow start, Coopers 62-Rag recovered brilliantly to grab the lead on the final windward leg before taking the race by 17s.

It was a fine reward for the Calligeros family, who have been sponsoring skiffs at the Australian 18 Footers League since George Calligeros began sponsoring in the mid-1990s.

Chris Nicholson, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge finished second on Mojo Wine, with Sydney City Marine (David Witt, Tom Clout and Keagan York) a further 16s back in third place.

In an exciting spinnaker run to the finish line, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) took fourth place by just 6s from series leader Rabbitohs-Kenwood (Brett Van Munster). (Micah Lane), Yandoo (John Winning), Smeg (Nick Press) and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) were in the next group and have set up a great finale next Sunday with only six points separating the top five teams.

Rabbitohs-Kenwood leads Mojo Wine on count back, each with 23 points, followed by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on 25 points, Yandoo 26 and Smeg 29.

Today’s race was sailed in a 6-10 knot ENE breeze, which was a nightmare for competitors as it continually changed direction throughout the entire race.

Pure Blonde (Nick Daly) took the lead soon after the start before being caught on the wrong side of a directional shift and went back to last in just one leg. That pretty much summed up the type of action both on and off the wind.

Last week’s winner Rabbitohs-Kenwood was brilliant on the first of the three laps and held a lead of almost two minutes as the fleet headed onto the second windward beat. Asko Appliances was second ahead of Yandoo with Grant Rollerson’s Fisher & Paykel in fourth place.

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish was only seventh at that point with Mojo Wine eighth.

In the conditions, Rabbitohs-Kenwood found it hard to protect such a big lead as both Sydney City Marine and Mojo Wine closed in with better breeze.

This time it was Sydney City Marine’s turn to head the fleet back to the bottom mark where she held a narrow lead over Mojo Wine.

Skippers Witt and Nicholson were two of the stars from the Grand Prix Sailing era in the 1990s and it looked as though their rivalry was about to be re-ignited again for the win today.

Ironically, it was Jack Macartney, son of the Grand Prix Sailing chief Bill Macartney, who spoiled their party with great crew work and boat speed over the final lap of the course.

Today's full results here



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