The CYCA Trophy Passage Series 2013 came to a dramatic end as Ichi Ban avenged their painful defeat in Race 2 after edging 98ft Lahana for the overall crown by just a single point.
Ichi Ban may have been pipped to the post by 98ft Lahana for line honours victory in Race 2 of the CYCA Trophy Passage series today, but Matt Allen and his crew on the Jones 70 got their own back by winning the race overall to clinch the series from Lahana by one point.
Peter Millard and John Honan were disappointed their 98 footer missed out by that lone point after their fifth overall place today, but were still savouring their double victory of yesterday. Sam Haynes’ Celestial Assistance Dogs has finished third overall with fifth and second places in the series, with Haynes also taking the top place in ORCi and PHS ahead of the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
Bruce Taylor’s Chutzpah (Vic) was also fast out of the Heads and came home third in today’s race. He too, was pleased with his crew and boat’s performance as he heads into his 32nd race to Hobart.
Competitors knew there was trouble brewing when the predicted nor’ easter could puff out no more than 6 or so knots at the start and wrestled for prominence with a nor’ wester. Those in the middle and to the east got caught. Going hard left to the western side of the Harbour, such as Ichi Ban did, made the best of a peculiar situation.
Ichi Ban’s owner, Matt Allen, takes up the story: 'The boat end of the start line was favoured; we couldn’t be there. We wanted to sail low and fast, so we went for the pin end. You could see the breeze on our side.
Allen’s boat jagged every little bit of breeze exiting the Harbour, they did not miss a single puff. 'Spiesy (noted skiff sailor Michael Spies) did a brilliant job calling the breeze,' Allen acknowledged after his yacht charged out of the Harbour leaving daylight between them and the rest of the fleet.
Ichi Ban took a big dig out to sea. 'It was tricky out the Heads; we even got a puff of south-east and there was too much joggle closer in to North Head,' said Allen, who was happy to find 16-17 knots at the top mark (at Long Reef) and beat Lahana around the mark by around 15 minutes, knowing full well the bigger 98 footer would mow them down sailing home to the Watsons Bay finish under spinnaker.
However, Lahana pipped Ichi Ban just short of the line and only 21 seconds separated the two in what Principal Race Officer, Robin Morton, called 'the most exciting finish I’ve seen – it was that close – I thought Ichi Ban had it till they gybed.'
Allen explained they had not gybed earlier, because the breeze had dried up to 4 knots, so waited instead till the last. He said with the Rolex Sydney Hobart looming, the crew, including three Volvo Ocean Racers, was in a happy place. Joining the crew also is Athens 2004 Olympic 49er medallist, Rodion Luka from the Ukraine, who today was leading the UON SB20 Worlds at Hamilton Island with five races put away.
'It’s good to know everything is going according to plan and we have a bit of time between now the Hobart to correct anything that may crop up,' Allen said, adding his boat was not sailed all year long like others, so needs to be checked ahead of the big day.
Meanwhile, back in the early stages of the race, Lahana, along with two thirds of the fleet, was languishing on the eastern side of the Harbour when the breeze line faded as Millard tacked and drove towards it. 'We got caught between the nor’ easter and nor’ west breeze,' crew member Geoff Cropley remembered.
Cropley also noted that New Zealander Gavin Brady had 'added a lot of depth to the crew – he’s a great addition to the boat,' he said of the gun match racer and big boat sailor.
Aboard with Cropley today was 10 year-old son Archie, who has been learning to sail in the Optimist dinghy. 'I enjoyed it and the crew did a good job today,' said Archie, who will be at Greenwich, where Lahana is kept, to see his Dad off on Boxing Day.
Others to make it out of the Harbour in good time were Tony Kirby’s X41, Patrice Six, Peugeot Surfrider with Nicolas Lunven in charge, Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40 Chutzpah, Bob Cox’s DK46 Nine Dragons and Sam Haynes’ Rogers 46, Celestial Assistance Dogs.
Many were unlucky, some starting too early, meaning a return to the start line, while others, such as Jim Cooney’s Brindabella, were left wallowing aimlessly off Watsons Bay, with little Velocity, the Beneteau 31.7 owned by Brian Carrick, last seen drifting backwards in the Harbour.
Eight boats retired, some without even leaving the Harbour; Rob Hanna’s Shogun (Vic), Englishman Chris Bull’s Jazz, Darryl Hodgkinson’s 2011 Blue Water Pointscore champion Victoire, Warwick Sherman’s Occasional Course Language Too, Larki Missiris’ Wild One, Leslie Green’s new Ginger, Les Goodridge’s Wax Lyrical and Velocity.
On Wax Lyrical, two crew members ran into each other, one of whom had previously had two neck injuries. 'As a precaution, we got an ambulance to meet us at the Club and make sure she was alright,' owner skipper Les Goodridge told, adding that paramedics had given the crew the all clear as far as further injuries go, but took her to hospital to make sure the previous injuries had not been exacerbated.
For full results log on to: Trophy Passage Series
by Di Pearson
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8:19 AM Sun 16 Dec 2012GMT
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