TP52 Southern Cross Cup 2013 witnessed a dominating run from the Karl Kwok owned and Gavin Brady helmed TP52 Team Beau Geste, which has comfortably out-sailed the Australian fleet contesting round one of the inaugural class sailing event on Port Phillip.
Sailing: TP52 Southern Cross Cup, Sandringham Yacht Club, Melbourne
Hong Kong registered and campaigned by a majority New Zealand crew, Team Beau Geste proved too strong for the locals, finishing four points ahead of Marcus Blackmore’s class act, Hooligan.
'What a fantastic regatta,' Brady announced. 'It’s what you see in Europe and what an environment for pushing seven and a half tons of boat and massive spinnakers around the course.' On the level of competition Brady grants it’s the best in Australia at the larger end of the IRC keelboat scene.
While Kwok couldn't be at this regatta due to Chinese New Year commitments, Brady says he plans to be at the next one, at the end of April.
Blackmore’s aim today was to keep the lid on hometown favourite, Jason Van Der Slot’s Calm II, and relegate them to third. That’s exactly what they did - by a single point.
On the regatta’s success Blackmore was triumphant. 'Four different boats won races and that augers for the next event.'
The full eight-race series was completed over three days, today’s equally fluky but fresher sou’east to south breezes averaging 12 knots and gusting up to 18 knots allowing Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson to squeeze a third and final race in before the cut-off designed to give interstate and overseas crews an early mark to make flights this afternoon.
Rob Hanna’s Shogun V finally found its groove today, the lumpy seas and pressured-up conditions suiting the Geelong boat, which, given their Audi IRC Australian Championship win a fortnight ago, was surprisingly left found wanting in the wake of the dominant trio of Team Beau Geste, Hooligan and Calm II. Today’s two race wins from three starts were Shogun’s saving grace and they managed a fourth when all points were tallied.
Given they are without a benchmark to race against on the winterish waters of the Derwent River, Tony Lyall’s Cougar II from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania sailed an impressive regatta, their slippery speed in light air and tidy crew work delivering a fifth on the points table.
The eight owners who sat down yesterday morning to discuss the format for the remainder of the series came away agreeing that everyone is on the same page, and with a number of resolutions.
Terry Wetton, Marcus Blackmore’s crew boss, is the newly elected Australian TP52 Class President, Denis Thompson is the series’ ongoing Principal Race Officer and event manager New Tack is class secretary.
'It’s been a massive success,' said Wetton, both organiser and competitor this afternoon. 'I don’t think these owners would have ever raced boat-on-boat like they had the opportunity to do at this regatta. Everyone’s skill level rose as the level of competition rose, and there are still a few things we can do to bring the racing even closer.'
Wetton praised host venue, Sandringham Yacht Club, and Thompson and his race management team on the success of this first stage of the brand new series, the brainchild of Australian TP52 owners who are setting the agenda on how they want to race their like boats.
Crew numbers were discussed and in the interests of safety it was agreed that all boats can carry one more amateur crew member, taking the total crew to 13 for the newer TPs and 15 for the earlier generations, which are also eligible for an age allowance.
Owners also talked about upper wind ranges for downwind starts and for racing.
So owners don’t have added delivery costs, the next stage of the Australian TP52 Southern Cross Cup will be held back at Sandringham Yacht Club from 26 – 28 April, taking advantage of the Anzac long weekend and coinciding with the Sandringham Yacht Club Centenary Trophy Regatta.
Melbourne’s international airport allows sailors to conveniently fly direct to the regatta and SYC’s newly built clubhouse and floating marina, and club philosophy on staging such high caliber events, have made it the perfect venue for the series opener. The yacht club deck and breakwater wall with its full public access created a unique platform for stadium sailing, without the ticket price.
Owners will look at a four-part series for this year, two in Melbourne and two in Sydney in the second half of the year following the Queensland winter circuit. The Sydney venues haven’t yet been determined.
Round one prize for first was the owner’s weight in Coopers 62 Pilsener, which Brady donated back to the post-race celebration. The stunning perpetual trophy donated by Marcus Blackmore will be awarded at the series conclusion.
Based on early indications, a fleet of 10 TPs could be on the start line for the remaining three stages of the first-ever Australian TP52 Southern Cross Cup.
Series Results [TPIRC] for D1 up to Race 8 (Drops = 1)
1. Team Beau Geste - Karl Kwok (12.0 points)
2. Hooligan - Marcus Blackmore (16.0 points)
3. Calm II - Jason Van Der Slot (17.0 points)
4. Shogun V - Rob Hanna (26.0 points)
5. Cougar II - Anthony Lyall (35.0 points)
6. Scarlet Runner - Rob Date (37.0 points)
7. Calm - John Williams (40.0 points)
8. Frantic - Michael Martin (56.0 points)
TP52 Southern Cross Cup