Wot Now comes out on top

Ragamuffin pipped at the post at the Rolex Trophy

Sunday December 21st 2008, Author: Lisa Ratcliff, Location: United Kingdom
Graeme Wood’s TP52 Wot Now has claimed IRC Division 0/1 overall honours in the Rolex Trophy sailed outside Sydney Heads, fighting off a serious challenge from Syd Fischer’s like boat Ragamuffin to win by three points.

Mirroring their results in the recent MHYC Short Ocean Racing Championship, Wood came from behind in the eight race series to sail the final two days error free.

“It’s becoming a habit,” Wood laughed cheekily, referring to the fact they have once again relegated Fischer and his crew to bridesmaid status. It was very tactical racing today, which adds to the spice when the results are as close as this,” said Wood this afternoon.

“Today was a re-run of yesterday,” he added, referring to their double win yesterday following a crew pep talk the night before when Wood took the opportunity to “breathe some fire” given the number of operator errors on the race track up to that point.

With a second and a third to close the series, it wasn’t the perfect finish for Wood but it was enough to deliver him the regatta silverware.

“Boat on boat we felt we were fast (against Ragamuffin). We think we’ve got the boat speed, now it’s a matter of putting the boat on the right part of the (Rolex Sydney Hobart) course and the crew staying awake,” added Wood.

Wood is rubbing his hands looking ahead to the forecast for Australia’s premier ocean race, which starts next Friday at 1pm from Sydney Harbour. “Hard running is good for us, we get up on the plane a lot earlier than the other boats,” Wood added.

Ragamuffin finished the Rolex Trophy with 16 points, three points adrift of Wot Now. Geoff Ross’ Reichel/Pugh 55 Yendys rounded off the podium places with a third on 17 points.

Alan Brierty’s brand new Reichel/Pugh 62 Limit scored its first wins since being launched in Melbourne a fortnight ago, taking out the double handicap victory today.

Limit really hotted up in the second race, they really stretched out,” said Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson.

In Division 2 Nicholas Bartels’ Victorian Sydney 47 Terra Firma and Sam Newton’s modified Farr 40 Kirribilli finished at the top of the pointscore after a four day long match race battle just as bloodthirsty as the tussle going on at the top of the Division 1 pointscore.

“It was really close racing in difficult conditions. We knew we had to stay in front of Kirribilli today to achieve the win, there was really close match racing between us,” said Bartels. “It was a great regatta. We had a good spectrum of weather conditions from very little to strong amounts of wind. The crew work on my boat was excellent; it proves all the racing we’ve done together has paid off. I’m very pleased with the boat and crew going into next week’s Rolex Sydney Hobart."

Kirribilli finished second on the pointscore, just two points off the top placing while Guy Stening’s Optimum placed third.

Today’s breeze fluctuated between 8 and 11 knots out of the east.

Tomorrow the NSW Bureau of Meteorology will release its long range weather forecast at 11am at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

Division 0/1
1st Wot Now 13 pts
2nd Ragamuffin 16 pts
3rd Yendys 17 pts

Division 2
1st Terra Firma 16 pts
2nd Kirribilli 18 pts
3rd Optimum 19 pts

More photos on the following pages...

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