Saturday, February 20, 2010

Britannia Rules

Photo: Lulu Roseman
It was hard to wipe the smile from helmsman Rob Greenhalgh’s face as he steered Team PSP/Aust Asia/Benny across the finish line ahead of Gotta Love It 7 to win Race 6 of the JJ Giltinan Championships this afternoon.

It makes up for a tough week for this British team who have struggled to find their feet among this highly competitive fleet who they haven’t raced with for five years and in a brand new boat to boot.

“It was great to get out on the water today and sail in the best conditions we have had all week,” Greenhalgh said.

Today’s result should push the English team further up the leader board from their current 10th position. The outcome of several protests will impact today’s results and overall standings in the championship point score.

But whichever way the cookie crumbles, Greenhalgh and his crew of Dan Johnson and Phil Harmer vow they will be back to compete in this event in 2011.

An ambitious charge from Seve Jarvin of Gotta Love It 7 wasn’t enough to get the gun but sufficient to keep Rag & Famish at bay, who sailed a superb race with consistency around the course.

Sydney turned on the sunshine with a steady 12-16 knot north easterly breeze that gave spectators a thrill as several boats picked up speed and became airborne during the first spinnaker run from the Beashel Buoy towards Shark Island and around Clark Island.

While the ferries ruled the harbour, it was the pleasure craft jostling for the best vantage points that caused a few headaches for the fleet. One spectator yacht had no scruples and after slowly crossing the stern of the media boat to the annoyance of the photographers, remained in the path of one crew who expressed their emotions in a verbal exchange that could only be described as being in technicolour.

Neville “Croaky” Crichton, last year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart line hours winner was clearly enjoying the action as he steered his impressive speedboat, powered by three 300 horsepower outboard motors, around the fleet. To say that certain blokes were drooling for an invitation to jump onboard was an understatement.

Race 7 is the final race in this championship and will will be held on Sunday 21 February.

Lulu Roseman

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