Race 5 of the JJ Giltinan Trophy started at 3.08pm today, Thursday.
Gotta Love It 7 scored another convincing win on Sydney harbour in very tricky conditions, when most of the fleet opted once again for the small rigs - hoping to be able to get through the soft spots.
Here's how the race unfolded in words and video 3.08pm
Winds are predicted to be 13-16kts from a southerly direction. Currently it looks a lot softer than that.
First start had a General Recall with most of the fleet over the start line. 3.16pm
Black Flag is flying for the second start - anyone over in the final minute, goes home for the day. 3.21pm
Start was all clear, Mojo got best start at leeward end but then the wind shifted to the right negating any advantage. 3.25pm
Big shifts have allowed Mojo to pull back into the front runners - which are Gotta Love It 7, Mojo, Thurlow Fisher. Gotta Love It 7 led around the first mark 3.29pm
Fleet of 18's are running in to a big ship and a Manly Ferry coming through the course, plus a second fast ferry, a navy training boat. 7 is still leading. 3.35pm
Back with the evening race fleet. De Longhi first around Mark 2. Mojo came close to a keelboat rounding the same mark and almost went in. 3.49pm
Now a seaplane about to take off through the fleet out of Rose Bay. 3.50pm - Mark 3
De Longhi roll over Mojo and is first around the mark, from Mojo, . De Longhi goes for a spinnaker. 7 is third. 3.55pm
Leaders fighting to try and get past Bradley Head with spinnakers set. De Longhi very close to the headland, but held onto their lead, with 7 behind, and Appliances Online in third, and Mojo 4th 4.02pm - Mark 4
Gotta Love It 7 leads with Appliances online second and De Longhi in third 4.24pm
De Longhi lost bowman while running second recovered without dropping a place Online Appliances 3rd and Mojo 4th at Shark Island. 4.35pm
Gotta Love It 7 first around the last mark headed for the finish. De Longhi second. Mojo ran up her transom in an unforced error. Appliances Online goes into 3rd. Mojo does turns and hold 4th 6.38pm
Gotta Love It 7 takes the race and their fourth win from five races. Thurlow Fisher have got into the lead group - forcing Mojo to duck her. Appliances through De Longhi, and take second. De Longhi third, with Yamaha coming from nowhere to finish fourth. Thurlow Fisher in fifth and Asko sixth, with Mojo dropping to seventh.
Next race is on Saturday with the Final on Sunday.
After the race Mark Heeley, of 18ft TV caught up with the three top crews. Mika Lane - Appliances Online:
We are fast with this little rig, every time we put in, it is easy to get a good result - if we get a good start and keep clear air. Today we got a bad start and got bounced out to the right hand side of the course. We were around the top mark first and from there it is a lot easier to sail with the top group. Asko forced us to tack on the first beat and we picked up a glamour shift. Simon Nearn - De'Longhi:
'I think a lot of the boats here are quick. I've never thought that we are not in the top three because of boatspeed - it is all about where you place the boat, and how ell you sail it. You've got to work very hard to stay there - especially the forward hand.
''We got bounced out to the right after the start and that was the biggest favour anyone could have done us.
'Everyone was gybing behind the tanker - we thought we'll just stay high, then there was a ferry behind the tanker, and then there was fast ferry behind the ferry, so you had to commit pretty early before you could cross all those three.
I think we were powered up maybe 60% of the time. the rest of the time you have just got ot keep working your height and working your weight, and just keep climbing up there.
On the bowman swimming on the wind: 'He'd had enough. He just left us. If you can't win the race I'm outta here. But seriously, he wasn't quite hooked in properly, and leant back. Luckily he had the cunningham around his hand, where it lives in those conditions and he managed to hang on. Scott Babbage - Gotta Love It 7
: 'We were fine off the line, we got a mid line start and went left in good pressure.
On taking the series with a 12th to drop: We need a point or two on Cocko (Michael Coxon - Thurlow Fisher) and we're done. And for a great interview with John Winning and Howie Hamlin - watch the on-shore video above.