Prince Philip Cup – Day 2 of Dragon fireworks on Sydney Harbour
Race 3. The start was delayed while the northeasterly wind settled but, once the fleet got underway in generally 8–12 knots, there were still significant variations in velocity and direction to take advantage of (or otherwise!).
Boats that continued on starboard from the line towards the left into and past Bradley’s Head subsequently were able to tack onto a good left-hand shift, which brought them across in front of those who had favoured the middle or right side of the course.
The knowledge of Sydney Harbour waters and winds on Whimsical AUS217 (Gordon Ingate, David Giles and Amy Giles) is unparalleled and this proved decisive up the first beat with them going furthest into the first shift before tacking. This set up a healthy lead over the rest of the fleet. The other major beneficiaries of being left early were Ascalon AUS209 (David Dunn, Andrew Howe and Edwin Delaat) and Wizzardry AUS201 (Ray & Karen Chatfield and Peter Massee), both of whom tacked before AUS217 and then worked across to the right.
AUS217 had gained what appeared to be a race-winning lead by the first mark, with AUS209 and AUS201 next. The gaggle of followers included Adios III AUS193 (Fred Haes, Graham Aldersea and James Aldersea) and Amazing Grace AUS176 (Chas Stanton, Matt Secker & Andrew Moss).
The run saw small lines of pressure providing good gains for boats that could find these and then effectively position themselves. The left gate was favoured by most, and boats were grouped at the rounding after the first three. AUS217 worked up the right of the course the second time up and extended her lead while the followers fought over the minor placings.
AUS209 reached the top mark about five lengths ahead of AUS201 and both put in early gybes. However, AUS201 glimpsed some stronger wind over their right shoulders coming down the course and gybed away from the majority of the fleet who were towards the left downwind.
Manoeuvring her way into this pressure and gybing on several smaller shifts AUS201 moved past AUS209 to grab second place at the downwind finish relegating AUS209 to 3rd. Indulgence AUS218 (Rob Campbell, Simon Cash and Robert Alpe) produced a particularly useful second half of the race coming forwards from the middle of the fleet on the upwind and maintaining these gains downwind to grab 4th from French Connection AUS211 (David Brittain, Geoff Totterdell and Brendan Moss).
Race 4 had the breeze more in the east and the course was shifted for a start nearer the Garden Island Wharf with a course bearing towards Shark Island in shifty 8–12 knots of breezes.
Again continuing to the left off the line provided better early outcomes and AUS218 was able to cross the fleet after the first tack with AUS193 not far behind; but with leads of only a few lengths. AUS218 then played the shifts to the top mark to round ahead of AUS209 and AUS193.
AUS209 kept to the far left downwind and found more pressure to move into the lead with Linnea AUS210 (Sandy Anderson, Brad Sheridan, Jodi Earnshaw and John Moncrieff) also making up ground on the leaders. The order was AUS209, AUS218, AUS210 and AUS193 at the rounding.
On the upwind, AUS210 was working more towards the right while other three were crossing tacks more in the centre of the course. Close behind, AUS217 was picking the shifts wells and making up ground on the leaders. At the start of the second run, AUS209 led narrowly from AUS218, AUS193 and AUS210 with AUS217 close behind. AUS217 managed to sneak inside AUS210 by positioning themselves close to the shore past Clark Island with their knowledge of water depths; however, AUS210 was able to break the inside overlap close to the left gate to maintain 4th while the status quo was maintained ahead.
The first part of the beat to the finish saw the leading three boats favouring the centre-left while AUS210 continued to favour the right-centre. A great Dragon race ensued in perfect conditions with each of the four leaders getting to the lead at various stages and looking like the winner. AUS209 managed to get there in the end from AUS218 and AUS210 with two lengths covering these three. AUS193 followed with AUS211 managing to move into AUS217 on the final beat.
The top five places after four races are:
Pos - Sail No - Boat Name - Club - Skipper - R1 R2 R3 R4 - Pts
1 AUS211 French Connection RSYS David Brittain - 2,2,5,5 - 14pts
2 AUS210 Linnea RFBYC Sandy Anderson - 1,7,6,3 - 17pts
3 AUS218 Indulgence RSYS/RCYC Rob Campbell - 11,1,4,2 - 18pts
4 AUS217 Whimsical RSYS Gordon Ingate - 14,3,1,6 - 24pts
5 AUS193 Adios lll Metung Fred Haes - 6,8,7,4 - 25pts
RSYS = Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
RFBYC = Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
by John Moncrieff
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