Hat trick for Karl Kwok
Having experienced four seasons in three days, Sydney put its best foot forward for finals day; cool 10-12 knot sou’east breezes and picture postcard conditions for the deciding three windward/leewards on a short course from Taylors Bay, Mosman to a top mark off Shark Island.
Karl Kwok’s Hong Kong registered 52-footer, Team Beau Geste, sailed a quiet and classy series. They came to this Sydney round with a cherry-picked mostly Kiwi crew and impeccably prepared boat, strategically picked the nearest TP52 in terms of calibre and made sure that boat was jammed up at the start, then stayed between them and the finish line.
For round three Rob Hanna’s Shogun V from Geelong was fair game. Prior to this edition Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan, now in transit to a new overseas owner, was the marked boat.
Long-time Beau Geste helmsman Gavin Brady “almost wrote the book on port approach at the start,” acknowledged Hanna back at the host club, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. “You have to beat Gavin at the start otherwise you make it hard. We had our moments this series, but Beau Geste had more of them.”
Shogun’s impressive rear-guard of winning AC mainsheet trimmer Kyle Langford, tactician Stu Bannatyne and strategist Ben Lamb wasn’t enough to tackle the might of Brady’s bunch, though they did take two wins off them to finish second overall with 11 points, three points off the gun boat.
“We knew from the first race Hanna was going to put up a fight,” said the New Zealand helmsman of Team Beau Geste. On today’s conditions Brady added, “That shifty stuff is awesome; the combination of short courses, flat water and shifts is a great equaliser”.
Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Principal Race Officer Rob Ridley shortened the leg length in the final race to just 0.6nm, a move applauded by Brady.
“It sometimes surprises yacht clubs when semi-professionals can sail half mile legs. The TPs might be big, but it doesn’t mean you can’t throw them around short courses.”
Brady says to win the series, with no discards allowed, crews need the platform of a reliable boat.
“Karl runs his business like his boats, and there’s a lesson there he has instilled in us. Each item of equipment on the boat has its hours of use recorded so we know when to service and when to replace. It’s preventative maintenance, and we haven’t broken anything yet.”
It wasn’t all expensive champagne and back-slapping for the winning crew once berthed at the RSYS this afternoon. Brady plus four of the TBG crew were made to swallow pungent marinated duck eggs, called 100 year-old eggs. Kwok keeps the Chinese delicacy handy to initiate the newcomers on the boat, and for anyone who makes a mistake.
Third overall on 18 points after six races was Connel McLaren’s Vamos (formerly Shogun IV) making its racing and TP52 series debut for the new Kiwi owner. Vamos shone today thanks to snappy crew work and some intelligent calls by tactician Laurie Dury that had them leading the fleet in race four and second at the finish both on line honours and IRC results.
“It was important for us to be at this regatta to benchmark against the other crews,” said McLaren. “The highlight for me is always the start and it was cool beating Shogun across the line today in the first race. There was no lane for them, and I didn’t feel obliged to give them room."
On the class camaraderie McLaren had this to say, “All the other crews were really helpful for our first regatta, particularly with the manoeuvres we were struggling with."
PHS winner Mick Martin was voted “MVP” (most valuable player) by TBG crewman Rob Salthouse and Brady. The Corinthian crew on Martin’s Frantic get a real kick out of TP52 class racing when really the boat’s set up for long ocean races.
Trophies were presented to the placegetters at the host club and the winning skipper’s weight in Coopers 62 awarded to Kwok before interstate and international crews headed home.
Yesterday it was the gargantuan Perpetual Loyal that caught the eye of TP52 sailors on the harbour, today it was Matt Allen’s glossy Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban, straight out its wrapping paper and readying for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart.
The closing stage of the inaugural four-part TP52 Southern Cross Cup will be hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Sydney’s northern beaches on 13 December for a boosted final round of up to seven starters.
TP52 Southern Cross Cup 2013 Round 3, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron - results
|1||IVB1997||TEAM BEAU GESTE||Karl Kwok||8||2||1||1||1||1||2||16|
|2||AUS280||SHOGUN V||Rob Hanna||11||1||2||3||2||2||1||22|