Phenomenal start

Geoff Ross' new Yendys cleans up at Rolex Trophy Rating Series (plus - more top images from Carlo Borlenghi)

Thursday December 14th 2006, Author: Lisa Ratcliff, Location: Australasia
A delighted Geoff Ross had made the perfect debut in the Rolex Trophy Rating Series with his brand new Reichel/Pugh 55 Yendys finishing with two divisional wins from two races on the opening day of the four day regatta.

With a top boat speed of 24 knots, the same top speed achieved today by Bob Oatley’s 30m maxi Wild Oats XI, Yendys’ performance surprised everyone on the race track off Sydney Heads – including owner Geoff Ross.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for 12 months,” said an ecstatic Ross this afternoon. “The boat has done what we asked the designer to do and we were only hoping to get around the course today!”

Sailing with 15 crew aboard, helmsman Sean Kirkjian steered Yendys for both races, the boat’s first match up against some of the other contenders vying for an Overall win in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh 60 Loki, with 1999 world Etchells champion Cameron Miles on the helm, finished third and second to Yendys respectively . Ainsworth admitted they were a little taken aback by Yendys’ speed but also they suffered the consequences of two mistimed starts, one due to the fact they underestimated the strength of the ocean current on the start line. “We have a lot of improving to do,” said Miles this afternoon. “We were surprised at Yendys’ performance.”

At the end of two races in the northeasterly which began at 10-12 knots and freshened to 25 knots throughout the afternoon, Yendys finished first on the pointscore in Division 1 ahead of Leslie Green’s Swan 60 Ginger with Loki third on equal points.

In Division 0, Ray Roberts’ Cookson 50 Quantum Racing took on the big end of town and won, finishing with two firsts ahead of Steven David’s Reichel/Pugh 60 Wild Joe and 30m maxi Wild Oats XI.

In Division 2, Chris Dare’s Corby 49 Flirt from Melbourne also finished two from two today. “We had good starts, we got around the course nicely and we were fast downhill,” said Dare, who believes this year is the boat’s best chance for the Tattersalls Cup which is awarded for Overall handicap honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin finished second in both races in Division 2 and Stephen Ellis’ Splash Gordon finished third.

As the breeze freshened, most handled the conditions without incident however a spectacular broach by Paul Clitheroe’s Balance put them well and truly off balance.

Racing will continue tomorrow and will conclude on Sunday.

The Rolex Trophy Rating Series is the final precursor to the Rolex Sydney Hobart starting Tuesday 26 December.

Yesterday at 5pm was the final day for skippers to confirm their Rolex Sydney Hobart entries and following the withdrawal of Xena and Victorian boat Joint Venture, which would have been the only entry skippered by a woman, the fleet stands at 80.

More of the maestro Carlo Borlenghi's outstanding images on the following pages...

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