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26 January 2004, 10:03 am
Ichi Ban Wins Skandia Geelong Week Title
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© Andrea Francolini

Skandia Geelong Week

For two year's running, a Farr 52 from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney has won the prestigious Scotchmans Hill Series at Geelong Week under IRC.
Ray ROBERTS' Hollywood Boulevard was the victor last year, this time, with new sponsor Skandia, it was Matt ALLEN'S successful Ichi Ban.

Allen and his mixed male/female crew sailed for the host club, Royal Geelong Yacht Club, in the Teams event. They also took third place overall under IMS, winning the series on count back from Lou ABRAHAMS' Sydney 38, Another Challenge (SYC), the winner overall of the IMS class this year.

Bruce TAYLOR'S Sydney 38, Chutzpah (RYCV) took third place overall under IRC, finishing second in IMS.

Ichi Ban, meaning No. 1 in Japanese, has proved her point, producing a number of successes in the past few months, winning the JPMorgan Regatta just prior to racing to Hobart, then going on to win Sailing South Week in Tasmania.

Allen a CYCA director, is originally from Victoria. On being presented with the Scotchmans Hill trophy said, "This is my first time back racing in Geelong for ten years. This is a fantastic event, and it's a pleasure to be back. The organisers have done a great job, my crew did a great job and so have Skandia."

He went on to say, "Lou ABRAHAMS is a great competitor and it is always a great privilege to sail with him and against him."

Included in Allen's crew was wife Lisa, internationally renowned yachtsmen Gordon MAGUIRE and Tommy BRAIDWOOD, sailing master fellow CYCA director Roger HICKMAN and talented Melbourne sailor, Robert CASE, a 35 year-old with 20 Sydney-Hobart's to his credit, including a number of wins at this and other events.

Lou ABRAHAMS, had to do with second place again - it seems to be happening to the 76 old a number of times in the past twelve months at various events, a couple of them in count back situations.

Having said that, Abrahams has also had his share of wins, both in Australia and overseas, and a first under IMS at Skandia Geelong Week is nothing to sneeze at.

It was not unusual to see Bruce TAYLOR feature in the top three again - that number one spot seems to elude him, even though he is always well prepared, as are his crew. Darren PICKERING, Taylor's Geelong navigator for today's final race, received a surprise of his own this afternoon at the prize giving, Skandia's Andre Oszmann awarding Pickering and his Thunderbird 'Larrikan II' crew the trip to Cowes for Skandia Cowes Week later this year.

Today's Skandia 'around fixed marks in Corio Bay' race started at 10.00am and according to competitors was 'a bit of a soldier's course.'

Sailed in 15-18 knots of consistent winds, the course took the 330 competitors from the start off Royal Geelong Yacht Club for a reach to No. 12 Hopetoun Channel, then a run to No. 7 Corio Channel, close hauled to No. 2 Channel, reach to No. 14 Hopetoun Channel, a run to No. 5 Channel, close hauled to a buoy off Smorgy's, to the finish line off RGYC.

During the race, the Sydney 38's had a tussle between themselves, Jock MACADDIE'S Clockwork Orange, with Sydney Yachts reps Simon REFFOLD and Martin 'Tacka' THOMPSON on board, getting the better of Another Challenge, Chutzpah, Andrew PLYMPTON'S 38 Degrees South, Terry HALL'S Live Wire and David URRY'S Into the Mystic.

Another Challenge and Clockwork got away at the pin end, Chutzpah slightly to windward of them, but never able to overtake, the pin paying dividends, and that's the way the order stayed throughout, Grant WHARINGTON'S Skandia, shot off as if fired from a cannon, Ichi Ban giving chase.

They finished their day just that way on handicap, Skandia first from Ichi Ban and Skandia's designer, Don JONES in third with Cadibarra. This result also gave Wharington line honours for every race (he has not lost one since the yacht's launch in October), and the Australia Day Cup trophy.

Coming into this morning's final race, the results showed Phil SIMPFENDORFER'S Veloce in first place, with Chutzpah second and Ticket of Leave third. Due to protests overnight, the situation changed somewhat, giving Ichi Ban the opportunity to grab first place.

In other happenings at the prize giving this afternoon, a Sunsail charter trip to Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday's, courtesy of Sunsail, was drawn, the winner being Ali Murphy, partner of Royal Geelong Yacht Club Commodore Peter STEPHENS.

Murphy very kindly donated what could have been her honeymoon trip back to Stephens to be auctioned, the result being a happy RGYC member, John KINT, whose pockets are now a fair bit lighter and an extra $6,000 in the kitty for Skandia's charity, Sail 4 Cancer, much to the delight of Sail 4 Cancer reps, Andrew HAYWARD and Richard GROOME.

This regatta could not have been a success but for the help of all the volunteers from the host club, Royal Geelong Yacht Club.

Also announced yesterday afternoon was the team selected to represent Geelong at the Skandia Cowes Week regatta - The Larrikins.

As part of their twinning program, Skandia had selected the crew of Charlie Fish from Great Britain., to come and participate at Skandia Geelong Week. The lucky crew were flown to Australia and accommodated courtesy of Skandia. The crew also received Henri Lloyd clothing and a charter yacht, renamed Skandia Charlie Fish, and today, a lucky Australian crew received the same deal for Skandia Cowes Week, which happens in August this year.

And the lucky crew is Geelong's leading Thunderbird crew Larrikin II. When the yells and cheers subsided and the speeches were over co-skippers Darren PICKERING and Stefan TREUNIET was given the choice, by their crew of jumping into the waters of Corio Bay or being thrown. They chose to jump, but like true leaders they took their team with them. The two sailors and their crew are similar in age and nature to the Charlie Fish Crew and when the Pomme boys came to town, they sailed together, drank together, partied together and eat Kangaroo steaks together. Their boat is called Larrikin II, so the two sailors are naturally called the Two Larrikins. For our international audience, we best explain a larrikin is an Australian term for a fun loving, sometimes naughty but always endearing Aussie Boy. Winners of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club Thunderbird Championships for the last four years, the Larrikins are certain to be great ambassadors for Australian sailing. The full crew is Darren PICKERING, Stefan TREUNIET, Chris BERETTA, Aaron MARCHANT, Scott AUSTIN, Dale DUFF and James CRABTREE

They will be sailing in August at Skandia Cowes Week in the Hunter 707 Sports Boat division against Charlie Fish.
Di Pearson and Rob Kothe (As amended by ISAF Secretariat)
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