Sailor-friendly light to moderate south-east winds are forecast to continue in Port Lincoln for the six-race Lexus Lincoln Week regatta over the next four days.
A fleet of 40 has entered the regatta, which has divisions for cruising yachts, multihulls, trailer-sailers and the Sydney 38 one designs, which will be contesting their South Australian championship.
Resuming their close battle both at the head of the fleet and in calculations are the very similar Scarlet Runner (Rob Date, Sandringham Yacht Club) and Secret Men’s Business 3.5 (Geoff Boettcher, Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia).
They finished first and second over the line in the Lexus Adelaide-Lincoln race with Scarlet Runner for the second year in a row also winning on corrected time from Secret Men’s Business 3.5.
Last year, they ended the Lexus Lincoln Week regatta tied on points. The nod went to Scarlet Runner in the tie-breaking countback of placings.
While the slightly bigger 52ft Reichel/Pugh design has shown herself to be faster downwind, the Reichel/Pugh 51 Secret Men’s Business has the edge upwind.
The regatta’s mix of four short-course windward-leeward race, with a bay and a coastal passage race, gives SMB3.5 a greater opportunity to exploit her slight upwind superiority.
The windward-leeward courses should also suit the two Beneteau First 45s Reverie (Alan Woodward) from Melbourne and Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson) from Sydney.
These relatively heavier racer-cruisers are able to sail deeper angles downwind under their symmetrical spinnakers, which on a short course in light air can give them a handicap advantage over lightweights like Scarlet Runner and Reverie, which with asymmetrical spinnakers have to sail faster at higher angles on a more pronounced zig-zag course downwind.
Reverie, with her crew including veteran sailmaker Col Anderson as tactician and helmsman, won the IRC division in the 2009 Lexus Lincoln Week regatta and was third last year behind Scarlet Runner and SMB 3.5.
The multihull division fleet is gathering strength with 13 entries this year. They include the division winner in the Lexus Adelaide-Lincoln race, Geoff Kneebone’s Farrier F9a trimaran from the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron and a similar Farrier F9a Trainer Wheels, skippered by veteran Port Lincoln sailmaker Jeff Schramm.
Schramm has been busy repairing the big spinnaker that Victoire blew out four hours from the finish in the Adelaide-Lincoln race.
By Bob Ross/Port Lincoln Yacht Club
Lincoln Week website