A powerful display from Sydney to Hobart winner Skandia in the first race of the 2004 Skandia Geelong Week series sailed on Melbourne's Port Phillip this afternoon.
Built in Mornington at Hart Marine to a Don Jones design, Grant WHARINGTON'S 98 feet ocean racing thoroughbred, the largest ocean racer in the southern hemisphere showed again that she is the fastest boat on the race track.
Matt ALLEN'S Farr 52 Ichi Ban, fresh from a convincing win in the 2004 Sailing South Week was second across the line some minutes behind Skandia.
Don JONES own Cadibarra was third across the line ahead of Prowler.
Today's race started in 15 to 20 knot south easterlies. Skandia was midline but quickly overpowered her rivals. Slick crew-work on Ichi Ban saw her well placed.
At the first mark, the fleet was separating Cadibarra was well placed ahead of Prowler, and then the surprise was the 38 footer Chutzpah. She had a break on Lou Abraham's Another Challenge with Phil Coombes No Farr.
She was ahead of the Farr 40 Brighton Star with the Tasmania's Skandia Cyclone taking the right on the inside the outside.
Fleet had trouble holding kites in the shy conditions, the Bull 1200 Bullistic persisted with her big red masthead spinnaker but she was punished as Peter YOUNG'S Warrnambool sheep shed built Monkey Puzzle, swept past her.
Further back in the fleet the Pomme lads on Charlie Fish were finding the lumpy seas tough. It took almost the first run before they managed to settle their kite. The fiercest battle was fought amongst the Sydney 38's with Bruce Taylor from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria steering his Chutzpah superbly.
In the short choppy seas there were some fierce tussles at the marks. The Sydney 38's Chutzpah rounded first and Lou Abraham's Another Challenge was forced inside the mark. She bailed out, spun through 360 and lost pace. That was the start of her problems. She tried to squeeze into another gap she contacted Paul BUCHOLTZ's Sydney 40 Extasea. Another 720 resulted.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.