The penultimate day of racing at the Prince Philip Cup - Australasian Dragon Championship served up another superb day of Dragon sailing on the Swan River with an oscillating 10-14 knot breeze from the south west.
Day 5 Prince Philip Cup - Australasian Dragon Championship
After a clean start, the silver haired fox Gordon Ingate (Whimsical) pulled off his now routine pin end bolt alongside Tommy Muller (GER) (Sinewave) whilst Andrew Foulkes (Tatsu) looked famous mid line. The majority of the 26 boat fleet headed to the left of the course on the Swan River with a number of private duals taking place mid fleet.
After a shaky start Willy Packer (Scoundrel) worked hard to escape the clutches of Rob Campbell (Linnea) and after a couple of really good tactical calls from his crew (Denis Cullity and Julian Harding), broke clear to round the windward mark ahead of Gordon Ingate with John Anderson (Achernar) on his transom.
Despite a bit of confused chop, the downwind sailing was relatively ‘rock and roll’ free with few major dramas - but Willy Packer had the bit between his teeth and started sailing away from the chasing pack.
Throughout the second lap the battle for second through fifth was intensifying with a number of place changes. In the mix were John Anderson, (Achernar) Ron Packer (Icefyre) and Andrew Foulkes (Tatsu). Two Dragons were forced to retire with halyard breakages.
AUS214 Willy Packer horizon job - Day 5 Prince Philip Cup - Australasian Dragon Championship
On the third lap Willy Packer began to do a horizon job on the fleet, comfortably covering any moves from behind. Meanwhile the chase was on for the spoils between at least five Dragons.
Willy Packer crossed the finish line to take his first win of the regatta but there was more drama to follow behind. Ron Packer with his crew, John and Ned Longley cut across the bows of Andrew Foulkes to snatch second in a photo finish.
Four Seasons spectator boat, Day 5 Prince Philip Cup - Australasian Dragon Championship
There was a loud gasp from Peter Hay’s fully loaded ‘cake eating’ spectator boat (Four Seasons), as the next five boats finished within seconds of one another.
Gordon Ingate slid across the line in fourth a boat length ahead of John Anderson. Special mention of the day goes to a superb performance by Ray Chatfield’s Wizzardry, punching well above his weight with his best result of the regatta (sixth).
The regatta is now set for a thrilling climax with one more race to count. Willy Packer has a six point lead from Rob Campbell (Linnea) with another three boats still in striking distance of the podium.
Willy Packer sums up his win: 'Our start was not perfect but we were lucky, we got in the wind shadow of Gordon and Rob but we were able to pick up a hole and tack out through the fleet and then got a big shift that got us up from fifth to second, then after that we could see the shifts coming. We were going fast downwind. It was really nice to be back up front after a long time. The crew sailed faultlessly and I don’t say that enough!'
The infamous ‘Mug of the Day’ award for ‘bloopers’ was awarded to former International Dragon Class Chairman, Rob Campbell who rammed the aforementioned spectator/support vessel in order to take on more refreshments, and no doubt ‘cake’.
The Prince Philip Cup concludes on Thursday 9th January, organised by the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in conjunction with the West Australian International Dragon Association.
Results: (Top four after six races with five to count)
1 AUS214 William Packer/Denis Cullity/Julian Harding - 3,(7),3,2,3,1, 12pts
2 AUS210 Rob Campbell/John Moncrieff/John Low/James Stout - 1,2,(7),4,4,7, 18pts
3 GER1133 Thomas Muller/Mario Wagner/Richard Franklin - 5,(OCS),2,1,5,9 22pts
4 AUS217 Gordon Ingate/David Giles/Brad Sheridan - 2,1,9,9,(DSQ),4 25pts
5 AUS160 John Anderson/Tim Cummins/Matthew Wilson - 4,6,(14), 6,6,5, 27pts
For full results, click here