by Al Constable
After a general recall, PRO Arthur Hodges gunned the fleet away at 12:40 in a 5-7 knot easterly. There were 15 OCS’s in the 84 boat fleet. Amongst them Grant Wharington’s Satu II and John Bertrand’s Two Saint’s and a Magpie. However some other notable contenders including the Menace himself Dennis Conner and Glen Collings were red flagged and their 20% penalty effectively takes them out of contention and now the third place in the regatta is definitely up for grabs.
At the first windward mark, Mark Thornburrow from Hong Kong lead from Steve Gunther with series leader and likely World Champion Peter McNeill’s Tom Pepper XV!!! in third place followed by Noel Nitro Drennan. Julian Plante in tenth place, now a podium contender. Cameron Miles buried at 39th.
McNeil is unbeatable form here, assuming a clean round.
However there are still incomplete protests from previous races and Dennis Conner is unlikely to quit without another visit to the Protest Room, so the young Pittwater crew of Julian Plante does not have the deck hardware yet.
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2:36 AM Sat 7 Aug 2004 GMT
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