by Di Pearson
Having lost out in the first race of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Ocean Point Score Series to Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire two weeks ago, Julian Farren-Price was back at the top of the scoreboard in Race of the series today, triumphing over the relentless ‘Beneteau Brigade’ in the Botany Bay Race.
About Time in the winner’s seat again.
Farren-Price overcame the Beneteau 45, Balance (Paul Clitheroe) by nearly five minutes overall with his Cookson 12, About Time. Noel Cornish’s ever reliable St. Jude, a Sydney 47, was in third place under IRC, while Victoire, also a Beneteau 45, was fifth after a slow start.
Today’s placings mean About Time is back at the top of the OPS Series which it has won for the past two seasons. Balance is second on countback, with Victoire third, however, there are still seven racings remaining, meaning the event is still wide open.
Farren-Price is only too aware that winning the OPS for a third season is going to prove difficult. 'I asked Darryl (Hodgkinson) to come and do the OPS this season, but I knew it would be a double-edged sword when I did,' the Sydney yachtsman acknowledged.
SAILING - Audi Sydney to Gold Coast 2012 - start in Sydney ph. Andrea Francolini BALANCE
'Victoire had a terrible start - I don’t know what went wrong, but we didn’t even realise it was racing until we got to Botany Bay – then we only beat it home by about 100 metres. They cream us to windward; they’re going to be tough competitors…'
However, About Time’s owner was pleased with the conditions, as they probably saved him from being swallowed up by the two Beneteaus. 'It was mostly close reaching and that’s what my boat does best,' he said.
'The wind was better than predicted, but it was a bit of a washing machine offshore. We took a mid-course between Imagination (Robin and Annette Hawthorn’s Beneteau 47.7) which went out to sea and I don’t think it worked for them - and St Jude, Minerva (Tim Cox’s DK43) and Balance, which went in close to Bondi on the way up – so it seems our tactics paid.'
Farren-Price said racing against Balance was 'a bit of an arm wrestle. We kept swapping places all through the race. Paul ended up beating us over the line, so he won the battle, but we won the war!' The Sydney jeweller likened his trouble with the two Beneteaus to a 'New Zealand versus France for the tile,' referring to the design origins of the three boats.
As expected, the big boat in the fleet, Jim Cooney’s Brindabella, took line honours on an overcast and drizzly Saturday, which was in stark contrast to yesterday’s sunny 30 degree day. The Jutson 80 finished at 13.27.25, taking five hours 27min 25sec to complete the course.
SAILING - Audi Sydney to Gold Coast 2012 - start in Sydney ph. Andrea Francolini BRINDABELLA
Cooney also claimed overall honours under PHS from Minerva and Merlin, the Kaiko 52 owned by David Forbes from Middle Harbour Yacht Club, which leads the PHS Pointscore from Minerva.
Grant Dawson and Brent Lawson’s Ker 11.3, Kerisma, won under ORCi from About Time; only 19 seconds in it. Balance was third, a further 11 seconds adrift. It does not get much closer.
The 19 boats in the CYCA’s annual OPS got away on time at 10.00am off Point Piper. 'They got a nice light easterly that built during the day to 12-15 knots. It went north-east during the afternoon, so the boats were coming home quite nicely,' Principal Race officer, Denis Thompson said from the Rushcutters Bay finish line.
Race 3 in the Ocean Pointscore Series is the Port Hacking Race on November 17, starting at 10.00am.
For full race results and provisional Ocean Point Score standings click here