by Bob Ross
The 37th Lincoln Week Regatta kicked off today, Monday 20th February, on the waters of Boston Bay and will run until Thursday 23rd February 2012.
Scarlet Runner opens out on Secret Men’s, race two - Lexus Lincoln Week Regatta 2012
While the biggest yachts in the fleet, Scarlet Runner from Melbourne and Secret Men’s Business 3.5 from Adelaide continued their spectacular duel at the head of the fleet, the Beneteau First 45s Victoire from Sydney and Reverie, from Melbourne shared the IRC handicap wins in the two short-course races.
The windward-leeward courses with 1.5 nautical miles legs and light to moderate 8-14 knot south-easter breeze suited the heavier First 45s with their more favourable handicaps.
They were able to sail at deeper angles downwind under symmetrical spinnakers than the lightweights Scarlet Runner, Rob Date’s Reichel/Pugh 52 from Sandringham YC and Geoff Boettcher’s R/P 51 Secret Men’s Business 3.5 (Cruising Yacht Club of SA) under their asymmetrical spinnakers.
Victoire won the first race by 49 seconds on handicap from Reverie with Scarlet Runner another 2min 22sec behind with Secret Men’s Business 3.5 fourth.
Reverie won race two by just six seconds on corrected time from Victoire with 1min 4sec to Scarlet Runner in third place. Secret Mens was eighth.
The two Beneteau First 45 were rarely separated by more than a few boat lengths and undoubtedly pushed each other to the top handicap results.
Reverie, which has a slightly more favourable IRC handicap, finished race two with a late surge at the line in a wind gust to almost pass Victoire, which had led all race.
Reverie’s owner/skipper Alan Woodward, from Royal Brighton Yacht Club, said: 'We always enjoy coming to Lincoln and we’ve got great boats to sail against, the big 52s Scarlet Runner and Secret Men’s business and a very close competitor in Victoire.
'Victoire and Reverie today had weather that suited us and were 1-2 and 2-1 but certainly the 52s will streak off in the long race tomorrow.'
Victoire’s owner/skipper Darryl Hodginson, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, who previously raced a Sydney 38 one-design, said: 'Boat on boat is what we like. We came from one design fleets and we replicated that today.
'We enjoyed the beautiful conditions; flat water and pretty steady breeze. This is too good to be true.
'We are a strong ocean racing boat set up mainly for Hobart but we wanted to work on our regatta mode because we have the IRC NSW championships in a month or two.
'One of our aims here is to tune up for the short-course racing. We are going to have a great rivalry with Reverie.'
Race one comprised three rounds over the windward-leeward course.
Secret Men’s Business 3.5 made the better start towards the pin end and rounded the first windward mark five boat lengths ahead of Scarlet Runner.
But an excruciatingly slow spinnaker set allowed Scarlet Runner, with a perfect set to rapidly go past. She was obviously faster downwind and led by 35sec at the first leeward mark.
From there, Scarlet Runner covered SMB3.5s’ every move upwind for slight gains and continued to make big gains downwind to finish first by 1min.45sec.
The wind shifted slightly more east for race two and lightened to 10-12 knots. Scarlet Runner from a good start led around all marks of the longer four-round course and beat SMB3.5 to the finish by 3min 38sec.
Rob Date explained that Scarlet Runner was slow on the first beat of race one, because the propeller blades were open.
'We had a bit of drag going on; somebody hadn’t folded the prop,' he said. 'We went around the top mark and could hear the prop had unfolded.'
Scarlet Runner matched SMB3.5 for speed on the remaining windward works. 'I think we have the legs on them. We are dramatically quicker downwind and I think fractionally faster upwind,' he said.
Lincoln Week Regatta website