Two windward leeward races took place in the Scotchmans Hill Series on Corio Bay at Skandia Geelong Week today, each in very different conditions.
In the first race of the day that got underway at 13.30 hours local time today, winds were in the 6-8 knot range on flat seas, the skies clear, the large fleet getting away to a clean start.
On the pin end of the line, Philip COOMGS' Cookson 12, No Fearr (SYC), showed just that, getting a perfect start, leading the big boats, including Ichi Ban, Matt ALLEN's Farr 52 (CYCA) and Grant WHARINGTON's super maxi Skandia up to the first windward mark.
Thorry GUNNERSON's beautiful timber sloop, Tilting at Windmills (SYC) also got away beautifully, as did John GARNER's Jutson 10.6, the Bookmaker (RGYC).
Skandia sailed low on the course and it was only a matter of a blink before she charged into the lead, lifting as she did, Ichi Ban bringing up the rear.
Up to windward, Christian JACKSON's Elliot 49, Prowler (RGYC), looked comfortable as did Kevin WOOD's Beneteau 40.7, Ticket of Leave (SYC).
As they went up the course, David URRY's Sydney 38, Into the Mystic (CYCSA) and Ticket of Leave chose the middle path avoiding congestion on the right and left sides of the course. In the latter's case, the tactics paid dividends.
As the boats went round the windward mark, the breeze increased to 10-13 knots, Skandia going around first, Ichi Ban 30 seconds later, then came Indec, Prowler, Nigel JONES' Cadibarra (MYC) and the first of the Sydney 38's, Bruce TAYLOR's Chutzpah (RYCV), the other 38's not even in sight. Phil SIMPFENDORFER's Elliot 11, Veloce (SYC) was also up in the money, ahead of many larger boats.
During the race, the breeze lightened again, Skandia powering her way around the course to lead Ichi Ban by four minutes by the second windward rounding, lapping the tailenders in the fleet.
By the time Skandia had crossed the finish line, just over an hour after the race start, she had taken another four minutes from Ichi Ban, in what many said were 'fabulous sailing conditions.'
Chutzpah maintained her lead, sailing well the entire course to win from Veloce, with Mark BALLARD's Jones/Hart 39, 42 Degrees South (RYCT) in third place, Ticket of Leave finishing fourth.
In Race 5 this afternoon, the winds kicked in somewhat around 16-20 knots on some swell and chop, a number of boats having difficulty holding it together under spinnaker. Photographers had a field day capturing broaches and near-broaches, the fleet going round the course quickly.
Once again, it was the smaller boats; No Fearr showed good pace, as did the Sydney 38's - Chutzpah, Lou ABRAHAMS' Another Challenge (SYC) and Andrew PLYMPTON's 38 Degrees South (RBYC) - and Veloce was there again, not to be shaken.
John ROUSE's Inglis 12, Rousebout 3 (MYC) also revelled in the heavier airs, outpacing many she should not have.
As they went round the windward mark for the last time, it was Skandia by a country mile to Ichi Ban, then David GOTZE's Volvo 60 Indec (RBYC), Cadibarra, Another Challenge, followed quickly by a pack led by Chutzpah, Len KINT's Adventedge, 38 Degrees South, Prowler, Stephen KEAL's Frers 50, Skandia Cyclone (RYCT), Graeme TROON's Farr 40, Brighton Star (RBYC) and No Fearr.
Behind them, many of the backmarkers had problems setting and holding their spinnakers, many broaching out of control as the zigzagged down the course.
Skandia took line easily - as she would at 98 feet, Ichi Ban home second once more.
On handicap, it was the well-sailed No Fearr, with Chutzpah second with Another Challenge third.
Veloce, having a fantastic regatta so far, finished fourth to carry over her overall series first position of yesterday, going into tomorrow's final race with 11 points in IRC Division 1.
Chutzpah and Ticket of Leave are equal second with 13 points, then comes Another Challenge on 16 points, then 38 Degrees South with 20 from Ichi Ban on 29 points.
In IRC Division 2, Jon KLESTADT's Borresen 10 (RYCV) leads with 4 points from Luke REINEHR's Swarbrick 8, Intrusion ((SYC) and Gordon Mather's Carter 33, Revenge (SYC).
Under IMS, Chutzpah is the leader on 8 points from Another Challenge on 12, Ichi Ban with 19, The Bookmaker with 21 and No Fearr on 23.
Tomorrow's final race is due for a 10.00am start local time.
For results, stories and photos in the Scotchmans Hill Series in IRC, IMS, VYC and AMS, go to the Skandia Geelong Week website via the link below.