The Prince Philip Cup Australasian Championship 2013 gave the 21 crews of International Dragon class yachts one of the hottest sailing conditions they ever had as temperature climbed up to 42.5 degree on the second day of racing on Botany Bay.
Despite the heat, races four and five were successfully sailed with matching hot competition.
After five races, Akula (Matt Whitnall) has had four wins to lead the championship on 0 points after one discard, but he has had to sail exceptionally well to hold that position in a highly competitive fleet of Dragons from New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia.
Sidewinder (Carl Ryves) is second overall while third overall is octogenarian international yachtsman Gordon Ingate, helming Whimsical.
Race four was sailed in a 12 to 15 knot nor’wester with the fleet geting a clean start and by the first mark Matt whitnall in Akula had established a small lead from Anthony Armstrong in FrenchConnection and Gordon Ingate in Whimsical.
After some jostling in the downwind leg, Whimsical established a small lead on FrenchConnection that was held till the end, but neither boat could catch Akula. As the three yachts pulled away from the fleet, the wind steadily built.
Race five stated immediately after race four with winds now well over 20 knots, with solid 25+ knot gusts.
This race saw Matt whitnall again take an early lead, but he was challenged by Carl Ryves in Sidewinder and former Fying Dutchman world champion Ian McCrossin, steering Riga for owner Martin Bourke.
Also challenging was Gordon Ingate in Whimsical and Marcus Blackmore in Hooligan.
The final result saw a very close win by Akula , followed by Sidewinder and Riga, with less than a minute separating all three boats.
Today is a lay and after five races and allowing for one drop, Akula is in first place on 0 points followed by Sidewinder on 17.4 points, Whimsical on 27 points and Riga on 31.7 (the Prince Philip Cup is still scored using the old Olympic system).
This year’s Prince Philip Cup includes a number of wellknown yachting personalities in addition to the veteran Gordon Ingate, whose long career has included representing Australia at the Admira’s Cup, America’s Cup and Olympic Games.
Marcus Blackmore is a successive TP 52 owner who has recently joined the Dragon Fleet. Sailing with Marcus is current world champion crew and CEO of Dragon boat builder Petticrow, Tim Tavinor, a former English Olympian in the Finn class.
Sailing with Gordon Ingate is Australian Olympian David Giles while sailing with Geoff Totterill from WA is Australia II legend John Longley.
Of course, Sidewinder’s regular crew, Dick Sargeant, is an Olympic gold medal winner in 5.5's and two-time America’s Cup crew. Carl Ryves and Dick Sargeant also represented Australia at the Mexico City Olympics, sailing a Flying Dutchman also named Sidewinder.
by Peter Campbell
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2:32 AM Wed 9 Jan 2013GMT
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