Grey Power - 82 year old leads Dragon Nationals

Gordon Ingate is all smiles at the beginning of Race 5. - Prince Philip Cup
Jane Austin

Veteran International Dragon sailor Gordon Ingate leads the 2008 Prince Philip Cup heading into the final day of racing on Hobart's River Derwent.

Sydney yachtsman Ingate, nearing 82 years of age and probably 70 years or more of sailing, has represented Australia at the Olympics, the America’s Cup, the Admiral’s Cup and finished a close second in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 35 years ago.

Sunday, on Hobart’s Derwent River, he has a strong chance of achieving another lifelong sailing ambition – winning the prestigious Prince Philip Cup for the classic International Dragon class.

Consistent sailing throughout the week long regatta, including a second and a third place today at the helm of Whim from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, has Gordon poised for victory going into tomorrow’s seventh and final race.

With Tasmanians Nick Rogers and Simon Brothers, both Prince Philip Cup winners (Nick seven and Simon once) as his crew, Ingate has steadily moved up the leader board with placings of 15-2-4-1-2-3 and, discarding his first race 15th is on 19.7 points, using the old Olympic scoring system.

His nearest rivals, both on 24.7 points, are the fellow RSYS crew of Ian McCrossin, Martin Burke and Rick Hall, sailing Riga, and the top Tasmanian boat Kirrbilli II from The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, helmed by Andrew Crisp with David Graney and John Gardner as crew.

'The nearest I’ve got to winning the Prince Philip Cup is a tie with Bill Fesq, but I ended up second on a countback,' the veteran but sprightly Ingate said after today’s two races.

Images courtesy of Tasmanian photographer Jane Austin.

Close racing as the fleet hit the bottom mark in Race 6. - Prince Philip Cup
Jane Austin

Kirribilli II holds out Freycinet on the start line of Race 5 - Prince Philip Cup
Jane Austin

Prince Philip Cup 2008 - Prince Philip Cup
Jane Austin

Tasmanian Hugh Wardrop's Leander gets away cleanly from one of the oldest Dragons still racing, Wayne Wagg's Mystere. - Prince Philip Cup
Jane Austin

Gusty winds caused havoc in Race 6. - Prince Philip Cup
Jane Austin