image: The happy winners Gordon Ingate, Amy Giles and David Giles with the Prince Philip Cup
Final day of racing goes down to the wire
The PPC Dragon fleet was again privileged to wake up to another warm, sunny day in Sydney and by the time the crews began drifting down to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron the northeaster was filling in at about 12-15 knots. The stage was set for a classic battle between the two leaders, Indulgence AUS218 (Rob Campbell, Simon Cash and Robert Alpe) and Whimsical AUS217 (Gordon Ingate, David Giles and Amy Giles) for the prestigious Prince Philip Cup. Just one point separating them on the leader table at the beginning of the day after dropping their worst results; however, the drop does not come in until after the final race 8 of the series. Both the leaders had poor results in race 1 and so they could not afford slip-ups or the title could go to one of the five boats vying for the overall 3rd: Linnea, French Connection, Adios III, Wizzardry and Ascalon.
Race 7. The north-northeasterly was a steady in at 12 - 15 knots at the start and things immediately looked pretty interesting. Linnea AUS210 (Sandy Anderson, Brad Sheridan, Jodi Earnshaw and John Moncrieff) flew out of the blocks and was quickly establishing a lead over Liquidity AUS216 (Richard Franklin, Stephen Collibee and Steve Tracey), Amazing Grace AUS176 (Chas Stanton, Matt Secker & Andrew Moss) with Kirribilli AUS204, being sailed by the visiting team from Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (Norman Allyn, Lane Rud & Oliver Gribert) who were in a chasing pack about five boats, several lengths to weather of Linnea. Meanwhile the series leaders were in trouble. AUS217 had to tack away from her standard close-to-pin-end position at the start and was finding it difficult to get a clear laneway to get into back onto starboard. AUS218 also had to clear her air by heading out to the right, which had not been favoured over recent days. Ultimately AUS217 worked over to the far right of the course hoping for some right handers off the eastern shore while AUS218 began moving forwards towards the middle of the course. AUS216 was managing to just hold onto AUS210, although by the top mark the lead was about seven lengths with AUS216 only a couple of lengths ahead of AUS218, followed by AUS176 and then AUS217 grouped with several other boats. There were likely huge sighs of relief on board ASU217 and ASU218 at their recoveries from their earlier poor positions.
AUS210 was able to sail her own race for the remainder of the race and gradually extended from the chasing pack to win by a very comfortable margin. Boat on boat duels were occurring behind her with ASU218 getting through AUS216 on the downwind and AUS217 getting into 4th. Also moving forwards was Adios III AUS193 (Fred Haes, Graham Aldersea and James Aldersea) who got the 5th ahead of ASU176 and Hooligan AUS226 (Andrew Blakney, Leigh Behrens and Stephen Henley).
The PPC was now all down to the final race, with three in it: AUS217 having to get one boat between them and AUS218 to take the title and AUS210 having to get three boats ahead of AUS217 and four ahead of AUS218. The north-northeasterly had freshened and was humming through at 18-20 knots with gusts to 25 knots with the course set slightly further left for race 8. This time fireworks did occur during the last minute of the line-up for the start first with AUS210 having to take drastic evasive action to avoid a port-tacker causing them to be over early along with AUS193, but fortunately at the pin end which they both were able to gybe around to restart. Then there was mayhem at the pin end inside AUS210’s gybe leading to a long night in the protest room after racing had finished. AUS217 got off the line comparatively well and AUS210 despite being on port and behind the fleet at the gun tacked back onto starboard in a slight right-hand phase and began making gains as the leeward boats fell off in lighter pressure. By a third of the way up the leg AUS210 was leading with AUS217 about three lengths to leeward with her bow slightly forwards. AUS218 was not far back further out to the right. The course had been lengthened from the about 1 km legs to about 1.5 km for this last race. AUS210 tacked off half way up the beat while AUS217 continued on and tacking into a left hand breeze line she was three lengths ahead of ASU210 at the cross. AUS218 was several lengths back and being pushed by AUS193 and Imagination AUS179 (Damien Daniel, Stephen Peel & Rob Scrivenor). The positions remained on the run and at the gate it appeared that the PPC was AUS217’s to lose on the final long beat. AUS210 fell off her line and below the following AUS218 on the leg out to the left. She then put in a series of tacks onto AUS218’s wind forcing her further to the left. On the port tack towards the line the gap to AUS217 was reducing but AUS218 was also gaining with good height out to the left. Things had closed up towards the line but the previously established gaps were large enough for AUS217 to take the win from AUS210, AUS218, AUS163 and AUS211. However, the subsequent busy protest room saw AUS218 given a DSQ for a start line incident.
So the master, Gordon Ingate at 90 years of age!!!, with his excellent crew of Brad Giles and Amy Giles have taken out the 2017 PPC from Linnea (Sandy Anderson, Brad Sheridan, Jodi Earnshaw and John Moncrieff) and Indulgence AUS218 (Rob Campbell, Simon Cash and Robert Alpe). At the presentation Gordon mentioned, in the manner only Gordon can relate a tale, that it had taken him 52 years to win a PPC but he now seems to have found the knack as his name is now three times on the trophy.
The regatta was magnificently run and the traditional Dragon commradery flowed effusively in the after race “could have, would have, should haves” over a beer or two. The Metung Yacht Club contingent has gained great experience for next year’s event to be held in the stunningly picturesque environs of the lakes in eastern Victoria where crews will be getting into the warm-up phase for the 2019 World Championships to be held off Fremantle in Western Australia amongst the famous “the doctor”.
The top five places overall are:
Pos - Sail No - Boat Name - Club - Skipper - R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 - Pts
1 AUS217 Whimsical RSYS Gordon Ingate - (14),3,1,6,1,3,4,1 - 19pts
2 AUS210 Linnea RFBYC Sandy Anderson - 1,7,6,3,2,(20),1,2 - 22pts
3 AUS218 Indulgence RSYS/RCYC Rob Campbell - 11,1,4,2,3,4,2,(20) - 27pts
4 AUS193 Adios lll Metung Fred Haes - 6,(8),7,4,6,2,5,3 - 33pts
5 AUS211 French Connection RSYS David Brittain - 2,2,5,5,7,7,(12)6 - 34pts
RSYS = Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
RCYC = Royal Corinthian Yacht Club (UK)
RFBYC = Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
Full results at: http://www.etimeteam.com/Yacht/SeriesRe ... 98&did=758
Second overall Sandy Anderson, Brad Sheridan,
Jodi Earnshaw and John Moncrieff
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