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Prince Philip Cup Australasian Dragon Championship day 1

'AUS210 Rob Campbell'    Jonny Fullerton

On day one of the Prince Philip Cup Australasian Dragon Championship, the infamous ‘Freo Doctor’ had already started to blow by the time the fleet of 26 Dragons set out onto the blustery waters of the Swan River.

PRO John Taylor set a three lap windward/leeward course in a strong sea breeze that begun with 18 - 22 knots but steadily increased to 25+ with some blasts of a whole lot more.

After his OCS the day before, Rob Campbell (UK) sailing Linnea got a peach of a start just a nose ahead from octaganarian Gordon Ingate in Whimsical who again aimed at the pin end with great accuracy.

The first beat was nip and tuck but Cambell’s team rounded the first windward mark just ahead of Andrew Foulkes (Tatsu) with Willy Parker on Scoundrel in close contention. The first run of the day set the trend for some real ‘rock n role`downwind surfing mixed with a smattering of Chinese gybes!

Gordon Ingate continued to chip away up the second beat whilst Peter Bowman on the wooden boat (Aeolus) made gains along the shore. The second run provided plenty of drama and a lot to keep the sailmakers happy!

Peter Massee ejected from Wizzardry for a swim in the Swan River only to be picked up by Peter Hay’s support vessel. Rob Black broke his vang and struggled to keep his Dragon from going airborne. Early trend setter Andrew Foulkes (Tatsu) suffered damage to his backstay and ultimately had to retire with a cracked mast.

AUS214 William Packer -  Jonny Fullerton  

It was becoming a war of attrition with another lap and a half to go, but Rob Campbell (Linnea) and his team continued to stretch his lead beyond the grasp of the chasing pack. Local Western Australian Willy Packer enjoyed a close tacking duel with Sydneysider Gordon Ingate for second with John Anderson (Achemar) working through the wounded fleet. Tommy Muller, the keelboat ace from Germany, also ploughed his way steadily through the fleet to join the leading pack.

The final downwind run saw several Dragon’s sailing with no spinnakers due to earlier damage and even the lead boat, Rob Campbell, dropped his kite to complete his final gybe only to round with a very late jib hoist!

Despite closing on the final leg, Gordon Ingate and crew David Jiles and Brad Sheridan just run out of runway to catch the flying Campbell and had to settle for second. William Packer, Denis Cullity and Julian Harding rounded off the podium.

'The last two tacks we overstood the finish but I just needed another leg to overtake Rob!' beamed a tired looking Gordon after the race.

AUS210 Rob Campbell finish -  Jonny Fullerton  

Rob Campbell was very complimentary of his crew members, John Moncrieff, John Low and particularly 14 year old Jame Stout.

'We started near the pin with a good clean start, went left and the wind backed so we were able to tack across the fleet. We kept extending with good boat speed. Having four onboard, including this heavy chap here helps in these conditions! I have an outstanding crew who got us out of a few difficult moments including 14 year old James who is the eyes and ears outside the boat.'

The Dragon class award the infamous ‘Mug of the Day’ silver bowl for the biggest blooper which was a tough decision considering the vast number of candidates.

A strong contender was Geoff Totterdell who bailed out the back of the boat when approaching two female spectators enjoying cocktails on the back of a luxury motor cruiser, leaving his hapless crew, Steve Collibee and John Gardiner to fend for themselves!

However, they were usurped by John Hay, who sailing with two 75 year old sailors, Rob Black and Syd Lodge, had to act as a human vang for two thirds of the race!

Despite an extremely tough day on the water, only seven Dragons retired and all crews came ashore slightly battered but with smiles like cheshire cats.

The second day of racing is scheduled for a 1500hrs start on Saturday 4 January with similar conditions forecast.

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.

AUS109 Peter Bowman -  Jonny Fullerton  

AUS170 Ron Packer -  Jonny Fullerton  

AUS210 & AUS217 first leg -  Jonny Fullerton  

AUS210 & AUS217 pin end start -  Jonny Fullerton  

AUS217 Gordon Ingate -  Jonny Fullerton  

Results Prince Philip Cup (top five)

1 AUS210 Robert Campbell/John Moncrieff/John Low/James Stout - 1pt
2 AUS217 Gordon Ingate/David Jiles/Brad Sheridan - 2pts
3 AUS214 William Packer/Denis Cullity/Julian Harding - 3pts
4 AUS160 John Anderson/Tim Cummins/Matthew Wilson - 4pts
5 GER1133 Thomas Muller/Mario Wagner/Richard Franklin - 5pts

For full results, click here

by Jonny Fullerton


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4:49 PM Fri 3 Jan 2014GMT

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