Prince Philip Cup – Day 3 of Dragon fireworks on Sydney Harbour
Another warm sunny day on Sydney Harbour greeted competitors for the penultimate day of racing for the PPC. It was a swimming morning for some crews cleaning any film from hulls that had developed during the rest day. The water temperature made it (almost) a pleasant activity!
Race 5. The northeasterly came in on time and was blowing at a steady 12–15 knots for the first start of the day with everyone behaving and getting off clearly. The majority of the fleet continued towards the left with only a few choosing, or having, to tack across to the right. It was a sprint with the fleet lined up waiting to get into the first shift. It was Whimsical AUS217 (Gordon Ingate, David Giles and Amy Giles) from towards the pin end who went deepest to the left and Linnea AUS210 (Sandy Anderson, Brad Sheridan, Jodi Earnshaw and John Moncrieff) from the boat end, tacking below AUS217 as she came across, who were neck and neck on the long port tack that followed. However, they were being closely pressed by Indulgence AUS218 (Rob Campbell, Simon Cash and Robert Alpe), French Connection AUS211 (David Brittain, Geoff Totterdell and Brendan Moss) and Wizzardry AUS201 (Ray & Karen Chatfield and Peter Massee).
This was the order at the top mark despite AUS218 breaking one of the shackles on her main sheet half way up the beat leaving Simon to ‘strong arm’ any coarse main sheet changes.
The run saw AUS217 and AUS210 move away from AUS218, who was comfortably holding onto 3rd, and the leaders were about a boat length apart as they rounded the right gate. AUS210 did a tight mark rounding, began climbing off AUS218 and appeared to have done enough to prevent AUS218 from clearing once they tacked. However, AUS217 managed to regain her advantage during the second half of the starboard tack out of the mark through the more sloppy water and tack. She was immediately followed by AUS210 and it was again neck and neck over the first half of the port-tack beat but then AUS217 hooked into small lines of more pressure in the freshening northeasterly, and she began to creep to windward off AUS210. Meanwhile AUS218 was putting a loose cover on AUS201 who had moved past AUS211 while keeping in front of Ascalon AUS209 (David Dunn, Andrew Howe and Edwin Delaat) and Adios III AUS193 (Fred Haes, Graham Aldersea and James Aldersea) who were snapping at their heels. AUS217 had a four length lead by the top mark and carried that through to the finish from ASU210, AUS218 and AUS201. Some very close finishes downwind, involving crash gybes and throwing the boats at the line, provided great excitement for the spectators.
Race 6. The northeasterly had freshened to 15–17 knots and again it was a clean start. AUS201 flew off the line with AUS217 below her and AUS218 on her windward hip. She crossed the fleet on the first tack but was being pressed by the usual suspects, AUS217, AUS210 and AUS218. Several of the close-following boats took an extra dig into the left and this paid off handsomely when, after they tacked, they soon hooked into a line of stronger breeze allowing then to climb off the leaders. So by the top mark Liquidity AUS216 (Richard Franklin, Stephen Collibee and Steve Tracey), coming in on this breeze line crossed closely in front of AUS201 within the zone and tacked, but AUS201’s starboard-tack momentum allowed her to get inside for the rounding. They were followed by AUS217 and then AUS193, who had managed to get through AUS210 and AUS218 on the port-tack windward edge to the mark. Despite considerable jockeying downwind, the order remained by the gate with the leading three bunched at the rounding.
Good positioning by AUS201 allowed her to execute a tight rounding putting the following boats in her wind shadow and they had to go low to retain clear air. AUS201 then began to extend her lead. AUS193 was clear 4th with AUS210 also rounding tightly and managing to force AUS218 to tack off about a minute after the mark. AUS201 this time was able to hook into the port lifting breeze and continued to move away from the chasers. The order remained until the bottom of the next run when both AUS216 and AUS217 had kite problems leading AUS216 to retire, a cruel blow to her crew who had sailed magnificently up to that point in the race. AUS217 managed to recover but not before letting AUS193 through into 2nd and allowing AUS210 and AUS218 to close-up significantly. These last two boats had a great duel up the beat with lee-bow tacks and close crossings by AUS210 trying to push AUS218 further back. The order was maintained to the start of the final beat, when again most of the action was the fight for 4th between AUS210 and AUS218. It was a fabulous win by AUS201 and yelps of delight from the Wizzards could be heard as they crossed the finish a very happy crew. AUS193 had to fight hard to hold off a fast-finishing AUS217 with AUS210 also holding off AUS218. However, a port and starboard incident on the second-last beat later saw AUS210 disqualified bringing Ascalon AUS209 (David Dunn, Andrew Howe and Edwin Delaat) up into 5th.
It’s close at the top of the leader table and the drop comes in after the final of the eight races. Racing will be completed tomorrow with races 7 and 8 scheduled in moderate to strong north-northeasterlies.
The top five places after six races are:
Pos - Sail No - Boat Name - Club - Skipper - R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 - Pts
1 AUS218 Indulgence RSYS/RCYC Rob Campbell - 11,1,4,2,3,4 - 25pts
2 AUS217 Whimsical RSYS Gordon Ingate - 14,3,1,6,1,3 - 27pts
3 AUS211 French Connection RSYS David Brittain - 2,2,5,5,7,7 - 28pts
4 AUS193 Adios lll Metung Fred Haes - 6,8,7,4,6,2 - 33pts
5 AUS201 Wizzardry RFBYC - Ray Chatfield - 9,11,2,9,4,1 - 36pts
RSYS = Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
RCYC = Royal Corinthian Yacht Club (UK)
RFBYC = Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
by John Moncrieff
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