Prince Philip Cup - Australasian Dragon Champs - Closing in on day 4

Start Race 4
Jonny Fullerton
At the Prince Philip Cup - Australasian Dragon Championship, day four was another picture postcard day on the Swan River in Perth for Races 4 and 5 - with hot summer temperatures in the high thirties and a gentle 8-12 knot breeze from 230-250 degrees.

Race 4 sponsored by Pantaenius started at 1400 hrs with one boat called OCS, Peter Bowman skippering Jennie Fitzharding’s beautiful 50 year old wooden Dragon (Aeolus). Out of the blocks sailing at speed at the pin end was Hotspur skippered by Ken Stevenson, but as usual it was Gordon Ingate’s Whimsical timing his start to perfection.

The majority of the fleet headed out to the centre of the river, but the shallows either side of the course made for a tricky working leg. Tommy Muller and his German crew sailed a very strong beat aided by his new (Fritz) jib, which was still blowing the creases out! He rounded in the lead, followed by Andrew Foulkes, (Tatsu) with Rob Campbell (Linnea) close behind.

Muller extended down the run as the breeze got light, but at the bottom gate disaster struck for Andrew Foulkes who doused his spinnaker under the bow to go prawn trawling and effectively ended his race. Meanwhile, Willy Packer sailing Scoundrel, was never far from the action moving up to third.

Photo finish in Race 4 - Day 4 - Prince Philip Cup - Australasian Dragon Championship 2014
Jonny Fullerton

On the final run on the shorter course, Muller looked comfortable until the West Australian local Willy Packer, picked up a little zephyr of breeze approaching the finish line. Muller gybed over to protect and the pair drifted over the finish line with kites collapsed for a photo finish. Muller and his overseas team mates, Mario Wagner and Richard Franklin, got the nod by a nose with Packer settling for second and a strong finish by Ken Stevenson and his crew, Stephan Eyssautier and 14 year old Ethan Low for third.

Tommy Muller sums up his day: 'We found the right spots going upwind and downwind, on the last leg Willy got very close and we both crossed the finish line centimeters apart'

'The water is very shallow in the light patches on the edge of the course and it’s very tricky for foreigners but its great sailing on these waters. The temperature and the water is unbelievable.'

'I have been sailing Dragons since 1980 after sailing many times in the Admirals Cup and I have had a very impressive time, I like the Dragon Class very much and all the people around the class, they are a big family.'

Downwind Race 5 - Day 4 - Prince Philip Cup - Australasian Dragon Championship 2014
Jonny Fullerton

Race 5 sponsored by Pantaenius began soon after with a light breeze swinging between 225-235 degrees. Again Gordon Ingate (Whimsical) shot out from the pin like a scolded cat. He tacked and looked to cross the fleet on port tack, but several shifts later it was the Dragons that had hit the shore that looked good.

These included Andrew Foulkes (Tatsu) still seething after his earlier misfortune, and determined to make amends. Also going well was former RFBYC Commodore, John Anderson (Achernar). These two boats led through the first lap with another newcomer to the front end of the fleet, Bunn Lynn (Saphira) sailing a blinder.

The drama begun on the second windward mark rounding when John Anderson appeared to foul Grant Alderson (Taranui) in a port/starboard incident. Anderson began his turns of shame losing ground in the process. In the second pack another mark rounding incident saw the red protest flags flying when a close call between Gordon Ingate and Willy Packer caused steam to blow out of ears! This one would have to wait for the protest room.

AUS203 Andrew Foulkes - Day 4 - Prince Philip Cup - Australasian Dragon Championship 2014
Jonny Fullerton

On the third lap, Andrew Foulkes sailed a faultless race easily taking the gun from Alderson in second and third to be decided in the ‘naughty boys room’ back onshore. The protest was decided in favour of Willy Packer who was given third whilst Gordon Ingate had to settle for a DSQ.

AUS144 Ken Stevenson - Day 4 - Prince Philip Cup - Australasian Dragon Championship 2014
Jonny Fullerton

After five races a discard comes into play and with two races remaining, the overall placings could not be closer. Tuesday is a lay-day to rest aching muscles with racing resuming on Wednesday at 1500hrs local.

The Prince Philip Cup continues to Thursday 9th January, organised by the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in conjunction with the West Australian International Dragon Association.

Results: (Top five after five races with one discard)

1 AUS 210 Linnea - Rob Campbell - 1,2,(7),4,4, 11pts
2 AUS 214 Scoundrel - Willy Packer - 3, (7), 3,2,3, 11pts
3 GER 1133 Sinewave - Tommy Muller - 5, (OCS), 2,1,5 13pts
4 AUS 217 Whimsical - Gordon Ingate - 2,1,9,9, (DSQ) 21pts
5 AUS 160 Achernar - John Anderson - 4,6,(14),6,6 22pts

For full results, click here