Hardy Cup 2012, an ISAF Grade 3 under 25 match racing regatta, third day of racing got underway on Sydney Harbour. New Zealander Josh Junior and Australians David Gilmour, Jordan Reece and Jay Griffin and their crews emphatically won their way through to the finals today.
They will pair off tomorrow morning for two best-of-three match semi-finals with the winners lining up in the afternoon for a boat-for-boat, best-of-five match duel for this prestigious trophy donated by eminent Australian yachtsman Sir James Hardy.
This year marks the 10th Hardy Cup conducted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Australia’s senior yacht club that this year is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
At the end of another day of close competition, particularly among the top four teams, Josh Junior from Wellington’s Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club heads the leader board with a 15 wins over the three round-robins.
After losing his two races in the second round-robin, Junior stamped his authority on across-the-Tasman match racing, winning all six flights in the third round-robin.
Runner-up, with 14 wins, was David Gilmour from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, setting up a potential repeat of last week’s final of the Warren Jones International Regatta in Perth, which Junior won from Gilmour in a hard-fought encounter.
Today, they met twice, Gilmour winning the first match, Junior the second, but only seconds between them in both races.
Jordan Reece, representing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, won only one race of the third round-robin, but good results in the first two, gave him a total of 10 wins going into the finals.
Nail biter of a match as Jay Griffin (boat 3) manages to pass Josh Junior (boat5) on this final downwind - Hardy Cup 2012 - Rob Cruse Click Here to view large photo
Fourth finalist, with nine wins, is Jay Griffin from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
Today’s flights were sailed in challenging conditions, with a south-easterly seavbreeze of 10-15 knots that backed to the east-south-east, with some wind shifts of up to 40 degrees.
'It was a very shifty day and you had to get in phase with the wind,' commented David Gilmour. 'The shifts at times were very big, up to 40 to 50 degrees, but the match racing was still very close.'
Gilmour added that he and his crew were at a disadvantage in not having the same opportunity to sail Elliott 6 sports boats as most of their competitors.
Junior admitted he and his crew had started 'a bit slow' in the morning races today, but more than made up for this in the third round-robin. 'After losing our first race today against David (Gilmour), we had a great final race and a win in our second encounter this afternoon,' Junior said.
'We had some great tacking duels on the windward legs and came from behind to win by seconds,' the young New Zealander added,
The seven teams enjoyed steady a steady south-easterly sea breeze of 10-12 knots right from the start of competition today, with the final flights of the second round-robin and a third round-robin finished on schedule.
The second round-robin ended with three teams equal first in standings with nine wins and a fourth team with eight wins from the two round-robins.
Gilmour excelled with five wins in the second round-robin to share top place on the leader board with Reece and first day leader Junior.
Gilmour began the day with important wins over Josh Junior and Jay Griffin from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, who finished the first two round robins with eights wins.
However, Junior and Gilmour dominated the third round-robin, Junior unbeaten with six wins, Gilmour scoring five wins. Results at the end of the three round-robins:
1. Josh Junior (RPNYC, NZL) 15 wins
2. David Gilmour (RFBYC, AUS) 14 wins
3. Jordan Reece (RSYS, AUS) 10 wins
4. Jay Griffin (CYCA, AUS) 9 wins
5. David Chapman (RSYS, AUS) 6 wins
6. Tim Coltman (RPNYC, NZL) 5 wins
7. Ashlen Rooklyn (CYCA, AUS) 4 wins Event website