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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

TP52s Set To Play On Pittwater - Southern Cross Cup


The final round of the 2013 TP52 Southern Cross Cup will dominate Pittwater this weekend, December 13-15, when the international fleet of grand prix yachts shifts to the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Photo: Saltwater Images/ www.saltwaterimages.com.au
As well as a new location, sponsor Premier Composite Technologies, cr of Matt Allen’s new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban, has put its name to the high profile class as naming rights sponsor of the round.
Racing inshore on Friday December 13, up to six TP52 crews are going to need their wits for the short runway. 
Photo: Saltwater Images/ www.saltwaterimages.com.au
Saturday is when the picturesque but narrow waterway fills with club fleets and the TP52s will head offshore for some elbow room. On Sunday they’ll squeeze up for more inshore racing, testing crew reaction time and putting on a thrilling display for spectators.
Photo: Saltwater Images/ www.saltwaterimages.com.au
Owners have been warned about the varying depths within the drowned estuary valley and the ‘naviguessers’ will need to stay on their toes to keep their yachts in deep water, and out of trouble.
Photo: Saltwater Images/ www.saltwaterimages.com.au
A local sailor’s dictum is “never rip up your ticket on Pittwater”. Visitors ignore at their peril the advice on what sailing between in the skinny space between the eastern ridge that extends out to Palm Beach and the western ridge of Ku-rin-gai-Chase National Park on a benign day can be like.

Karl Kwok’s Team Beau Geste (HKG) is aiming for a clean sweep of the inaugural four-part series, an initiative of a group of keen Aussie and Kiwi owners which began in Melbourne last summer at Sandringham Yacht Club with two rounds then shifted to Sydney after winter for the second half.
Rob Hanna’s Shogun V (AUS) from Geelong, the current Audi IRC Australian Champion, came within three points of Team Beau Geste last round and is the one most likely to spoil Kwok and helmsman Gavin Brady’s party.

“I’ll be trying to match race Gavin and make sure he doesn’t have a clean sweep, There’s no doubt Beau Geste is sailing strongly; the crew and the boat are well-oiled. Likewise if we make mistakes the others are ready to take advantage,” Hanna said.

Connel McLaren’s newly purchased Vamos (NZL), while slippery around the Sydney Harbour course in its maiden regatta, round three of the series last month, is baby steps into a steep learning trajectory.

The backbone is still there from Quest’s glory days but trialling a new light air configuration and breaking in some new crewmembers requires a settling in period. Quest’s owner Bob Steel has taken a trip to Antarctica, leaving his TP52 with what he calls “the brains trust” - Jamie MacPhail and tactician Andrew Pearson – for the boat’s series return.

Quest took a beating on day one of round three on Sydney Harbour a few weeks back and went home early with damage after one race. “Bob was looking forward to the rest of his first TP52 series on the harbour a couple of weeks ago when the headboard pulled away from the mast and the crew then by chance noticed some delamination in the forestay, which wasn’t a quick fix,” said Pearson.

“The boat’s now back to peak performance and we are looking forward to this final round. If it’s soft on Pittwater this weekend that will help the lighter, newer model TPs. Quest has been more of an ocean going yacht, but its new mode should make it more competitive on flatter water.”

Dr Tony Lyall’s TP52 Cougar II is currently making her way up the New South Wales coast from Hobart. The Tassie crew had an easy delivery until Montague Island where they ran into a strong nor’ easter and south running current. The boat is expected to arrive at Pittwater today.

Racing is scheduled to start at midday on Friday and Saturday and 1000hrs on Sunday morning. Up to three windward/leewards per day are anticipated.

Lisa Ratcliff

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