Victorian super maxi skipper Grant WHARINGTON and his all conquering Skandia crew were convincingly out sailed in the important Hahn Premium Race Week Baynham Island race south of Hamilton Island today.
New Zealand super maxi skipper Stewart THWIATES and his Konica Minolta crew gave the Australian champion Skandia a light wind sailing lesson in conditions that were expected to allow the Australian champion to firm a strong grip on the prestigious Hahn Premium IRC class championship trophy.
Skandia winner of the line and handicap double in the 15 n/ml Whitehaven Beach race on Thursday was again favoured to win the 30 n/ml Baynham Island race but that fell apart midway up the first windward beat.
Skipper Grant WHARINGTON and tactician Ian WALKER had Skandia in a dominating position out of the closely contested start when they surprisingly preferred to tack on a course towards Maher Island allowing the New Zealand crew to sail alone without cover into an ominous wind bearing cloud further out to sea.
The tactical move changed the complexion of the race when Konica Minolta locked into a favourable wind shift which carried her from a distant second into a race controlling lead leaving the Skandia crew to lick their wounds when Konica Minolta held a 3 minute lead as her crew set the huge spinnaker after rounding Baynham Island.
Her leading margin was extended on the spinnaker run where Konica Minolta always seemed to have an edge in speed finally winning by the commanding margin of 5 minutes 33 seconds while the Bob OATLEY skippered Wild Oats finished third.
This performance by Konica Minolta completed a light wind sailing demolition on Skandia which still remains in a strong position to win the IRC class championship in the 22 n/ml Lindeman Island race tomorrow.
Cydon Poised to Win Trophy
Leon CHRISTIANAKIS and his clever one-design racing crew including Olympians Jamie and Bobby WILMOT have firmed a vice type grip on the intensely competitive Sydney 38 Class championship in the Hahn Premium Race Week regatta at Hamilton Island.
Skipper Christianakis relatively unknown as a top class match racing helmsman before winning the Pan Pacific championship at Airlie Beach last week has emerged as one of the top performers in the high class International Race Week series.
He has been allowed to enjoy first use of clear wind and water while steering Cydon to an impressive 1-1-1-1-4-2-2 score and a commanding championship lead after seven intensely competitive tactical races.
The Cydon crew sailed onto the course today full of confidence knowing that all they needed was to remain consistent and finish in the top three to stake a further claim on being crowned the champions after the final race of the series is contested over the 22 n/ml Lindeman Island course tomorrow.
However, while they held a comfortable 10 point (10 place) championship lead over Wayne KIRKPATRICK'S Hamilton Island Yacht Club sloop Asylum the Cydon crew were shocked into reality when they were comprehensively out sailed by the Geoff BONUS skippered Sydney sloop Calibre.
Calibre sailing to a carefully calculated tactical race plan provided by veteran tactician Fraser JOHNSON scored a runaway 4 minute 6 second win over Cydon which survived an intense match race with the James MAYO helmed Team Lexus to clinch the important second place by 2 seconds.
This performance has provided the Cydon crew with an unassailable lead while the battle for the minor places will be decided between Asylum and the Lou ABRAHAMS skippered Victorian sloop Another Challenge when the stage their own mate against mate match race during the Lindeman Island race tomorrow.