A margin of just one second gave Tasmanian yachtsman Nick ROGERS his eighth Prince Philip Cup, the elite Australasian championship for International Dragon class yachts, in a dramatic final heat today on Sydney Harbour.
One second was the difference between fifth and sixth place across the finish line, enabling Rogers to place fifth and force a countback of placings after Sydney yachtsman Carl RYVES had won the race to finish equal on points.
Rogers won the Prince Philip Cup on the countback, with three wins to Ryves' two over the seven heat championship; had he placed sixth in the final heat, he would have lost.
"This has been the closest series I have ever won,"
an elated Rogers said as his crew of Leander, Hugh WARDROP and John ROCHE, celebrated their victory at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. "We had some problems in the strong and gusty conditions. We broken the mainsail outhaul and lost several vitals placings, falling back to seventh.
"We never really got the boat going properly again, but we fought back to fifth place. Then West Australian Geoff Black in Gazelle VIII passed us again; but right on the finish line we got a surge and just got our bow in front - the margin was just one second!"
Rogers, a former Dragon class World champion and member of The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, said that for'ard hand John ROCHE had sailed the series with a broken finger. "We were hoping not to have a hard race and he was having difficulty in getting the extra pressure today,"
Ryves, a former Olympian, sailed a brilliant race in the strong sou'-easter to win the last race with Sidewinder, despite close duel with Sydney rivals Matt Whitnall steering Abracadabra and Ian MacDiarmid at the helm of Imagination, in an exceptionally close race that saw only 60 seconds between the first six boats at the finish.
Imagination finished third overall, fourth place going to Abracadabra.
Two yachts, Isis, skippered by New York Yacht Club member George Carmany III and Adios, skippered by John Badshaw, hooked rigs as they crossed tacks near Bradley's Head, both being dismasted while other boats suffered gear and sail damage.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.