Friday, February 8, 2013

Australian TP52 Southern Cross Cup - Day 1

Under sunny summer skies on the eastern shore of Port Phillip with the Melbourne city skyline to the north back dropping racing, eight boats and 100 sailors competed in the first day of the TP52 Southern Cross Cup hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club .
Photo: Teri Dodds
Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson completed three races and was able to throw a downwind start in the mix for race two, a decision that turned results on their head.
Photo: Teri Dodds
Hong Kong based Karl Kwok’s Chinese New Year commitments have kept him from competing in the inaugural Australian TP52 Southern Cross Cup, but his presence is strong thanks to the excellent results his Kiwi crew on Team Beau Geste posted on day one.
Photo: Teri Dodds
Two seconds and a first have given the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club registered Team Beau Geste, originally Bribon, an early three point break. Tactician John Cutler and an all-star New Zealand crew led by Gavin Brady and broken up by a single “token” Aussie, Cam Ward, have given the locals something to ponder.

“It was an interesting day,” said Brady dockside this afternoon at the club. “Downwind starts are the great equaliser whether you are starting a short course race, a Sydney Hobart or a Volvo Ocean Race. Hopefully the older generation TPs had a good day and enjoyed the middle race.

“Today wasn’t so much about boat speed; it was about starts, crew work, tactics and manoeuvres.”
Photo: Teri Dodds
As a concept, Brady is fully behind the TP52 Southern Cross Cup. “This has got to be the future of the sport. Instead of 12 hour sailing days owners spend half a day on the water, which means they can work in the morning, be back at the dock around 3:00pm o’clock and have dinner with the family.”

Jason Van Der Slot’s Calm 2, one of the local favourites, settled in early and sits second on the pointscore this evening. Barney Walker was steering and Matthew Turner calling the shots and the combo worked brilliantly in race one and three, their two wins putting them near the top of the points table with two days and plenty of life left in this class battle.

“We had really great racing with Team Beau Geste and Hooligan, we all had our noses in front at one point,” said Turner post-racing. “Trying to herd them up one side of the course was challenging. Our crew did an awesome job today and the mood was constant. We have been sailing together for 12 months and we have focused heavily on teamwork. Now the results will show.”

Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan from Sydney is third by one point after recording three thirds. They enjoyed some one-on-one time with Brady and Beau Geste, the pair going tack-for-tack as the America’s Cup contingent on both boats showed off their match racing prowess.

Cutler was circumspect about their controlling tactics. “If you are out in front, you’ve got to get your elbows out. You can’t underestimate the competition here.”

Race one began in a light southerly and by mid-race a course change was necessary thanks to a 40 degree wind shift left. As the afternoon progressed the slow building sou’easter reached nine knots, the average was 7-8 knots during the day.

Noticeably absent from the top results at the close of racing was Rob Hanna’s Shogun, Hanna admitting this afternoon he’s had better days.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for variable winds tending north-westerly to 10 knots during the morning. The breeze is likely to tend southerly during the afternoon and increase to 15 to 20 knots, which will up the tempo on today’s gentle regatta start.

Full results at >>>

Lisa Ratcliff

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