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31 July 2004, 08:50 am
Drifting Fleet As The Cannon Fires
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Ingles Sydney Gold Coast Race

Spectators chatted between boats and pelicans enjoyed the remains of lunch. This was about the extent of movement as the cannon was fired to signal the start of the Ingles Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race today from Sydney Harbour.
The fleet of 75 yachts drifted over the start line while the crews sat motionless to leeward and the skippers scanned the horizon for a puff indicating where the next breeze might fill in.

Around 30 minutes later it slowly filtered in from the northeast to the relief of those waiting along the eastern shore of Sydney Harbour for the forecast breeze.

In pole position for the new breeze was Julian FARREN-PRICE'S About Time, which led the fleet from the starting blocks, a 40-footer showing up the 98-footers that were buried in amongst the rest of the fleet, and Syd FISCHER'S champion Farr 50 Ragamuffin, which is always amongst the best starters for these long ocean races.

Eventually Grant WHARINGTON'S Skandia assumed its rightful position and never looked back as he cruised up the eastern shore of Sydney Harbour, thankful he'd left so many crew on the dock for this light race.

Early on it looked like Matt ALLEN and Roger HICKMAN on Ichi Ban had picked the losing side of the harbour but when the nor'easter kicked in, the gold coloured 52-footer found itself in plenty of clear air and eventually caught About Time at South Head to follow the second placed AAPT (Sean LANGMAN) out of the harbour.

This afternoon, Yacht Tracker shows the two 98-footers Skandia and Stewart THWAITES' Konica Minolta, which took a while to find its groove after the start, sailing the same latitude in first place with AAPT in second and Seriously TEN (Woodruff, Robinson, James) and George SNOW'S Brindabella, the race record holder astern.

Further details and full position reports are available on the event website at the address below.
Lisa Ratcliff (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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