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23 November 2004, 10:29 am
Konica Minolta Faces Challenge
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Savills SORC Regatta

This weekends Savills Short Ocean Racing Championship sailed out of Sydney's Middle Harbour Yacht Club will have a record Grand Prix fleet of 100 boats, the largest of any regatta so far this summer.
The Savills Regatta (formerly known as the JP Morgan Regatta) is the major grand prix event leading up to the Summer's big ocean races, the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs Race.

The IRC Division will be very strong with the New Zealand supermaxi Stewart THWAITES' 98 footer Konica Minolta sailing into Sydney yesterday to contest the Savills regatta. This will be a particularly interesting division and the weekend's four race series will provide the first form guide for the 60th Rolex Sydney to Hobart race.

The Kiwi crew, keen to prove they are now battle hardened and ready to take on Skandia in the Hobart race are aiming to win the IRC prize but they have lots of competition.

Their first hurdle will be the Reichel Pugh 60 footer Wild Joe. With Iain MURRAY on the helm, this Admiral's Cup winner, formerly Wild Oats will be keen to show she is a winner in her new Sydney to Hobart configuration.

The production boats will present more challenges with Hamilton Island runner up, the Beneteau 44.7 Prime Time and sistership Greg MCMAHON'S Afternoon keen to continue the 44.7's IRC domination, but Hamilton Island IRC Cruising division winner, John BACON'S Sydney 39 Hussy will be having her first full IRC series and is keen to spoil the party.

Other interesting entrants include the heavily IRC optimised Farr 40 AFR Midnight Rambler and Rob REYNOLD'S DK43 Pla Loma IV making her Australian debut.

Once again the One Design fleets have come to fore and they continue to be a major feature in Australian offshore events. The Sydney 38 fleet will be a new record 27 boats, the Sydney 32 One Design racing in their second Nationals will have 12 boats and the Farr 40's, preparing for their World titles in a few months nine.

With the Sydney 32's sailing with the JOG fleet, a record 24 Jog boats will face the starter next Saturday morning, with three Mumm 30's, the off the breeze rocketship The Cone of Silence and performers like Raging Bull and Krakatoa likely to provide some spectacular racing.

Leading international property consultants and real estate agents Savills has become the naming-rights sponsor of the Middle Harbour Yacht Club's Short Ocean Racing Championship starting at 1100 on November 27 and November 28.

The Regatta comes as Savills drops its longstanding prefix FPD internationally and the new, streamlined moniker will be showcased in an event, which has attracted the cream of Australia's offshore and one-design fleets.

Savills chief executive officer Walter CARPENTER is also a director of Middle Harbour Yacht Club. He commented this afternoon 'Naturally Savills is very pleased to see the record fleet in our first year of sponsorship. As a director of MHYC, I am even more delighted, as the Club is positioned for major growth, with ever improving facilities, the new floating marina and a major regatta.'

The full entry list will be published online today.

Rob Kothe (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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