by Di Pearson
Sailing the chartered DK46 Drumstick, the same yacht that won them the King's Cup in Thailand in December, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia crew has notched up three straight wins from three races in the IRC Racing class.
Only two days of racing remain before the eventual winning team can claim the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy prize; an all expense paid trip to Valencia to meet the BMW Oracle Team and watch some of the next America’s Cup Act’s action – all courtesy of BMW Malaysia.
‘It’s a beautiful place and the sailing has been fantastic, really good – and can you believe the prize BMW are putting up – we’ll be doing our best to win that,’ McConaghy enthused this morning. The event organisers have put on a really good show for all the competitors too – we’ve been really well looked after,’ he said.
Competitors sailed a passage race of around 25 nautical miles in 10-15 knots on day one, the winds fading late in the race as the yachts struggled against a 1½ knot tide. Two windward leewards were sailed yesterday in 12 knots, with winds again dying mid second race.
We’re looking in good shape for this regatta – we brought two jibs and two newish spinnakers with us – all Quantum of course – and it’s all working well,’ McConaghy said.
Windward/leewards will be sailed today and tomorrow. Following their many wins of late, the latest being the Scotchmans Hill Series at Skandia Geelong Week, the Quantum crew is quietly confident of taking home the major trophy this week.
Skipper, Roberts, said his crew had enjoyed some close racing with Thomas Blixt's V060 Ericsson (SWE) and in fact had to chase Blixt down to win overall in the Passage Race. ‘It was close, we thought they might have it, but then the wind died and it gave us the opportunity – we scraped that one in,’ Roberts said of their 26 second win.
Currently, Ulumulu Quantum Racing leads Malik Sulaiman’s Malaysian entry Zuhrah by six points with Ericsson holding down third.
Tomorrow after racing, Roberts and his core crew of McConaghy, navigator Brian Northcote, Stuart Broom, Scott ‘Scooter’ Hinton, Marcus Jones and Aaron Linton will fly straight back to Sydney to contest the Farr 40 Sprint Series being from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on February 18 and 19.