The basic course was a six-sided rectangle with the Racing Classes (Racers, IRCs Premier Cruisers and Sports boats) completing 14 miles with a straight upwind - downwind loop after the second mark. The multihulls on Course Seven skipped that but kept to the basic six legs over a ten mile stretch. The Club boats, live-aboards, cruisers and classics skipped mark four on the return.
As the horn sounded at 10:05 (local time) the Racing Class challengers charged but SonnenKoenig stumbled and let Yo get across first as kites flew and boats ran happily before the wind. At the first mark, Ulumulu slipped ahead of the others and rounded first. The other classes got started under a Blue Peter flag (no restrictions) at five minute intervals with no mishaps.
Race Official Hates Penalties
Principal Race Officer, Mark PRYKE told The Eagle that he 'never' uses penalty starts because, 'I'm a sailor and I hate penalties.' He frequently races a variety of boats, including 16ft skiffs, in Sydney Harbour. Other yachts following the leaders around the first mark at about 11:00 gained spirit as the wind shifted more easterly and picked up to about 15 knots from the east north-east making the next run a beam reach. The marks became crowded but the only reported glitch was a minor disagreement between Sedna and Lighten Up which failed to reach protest status.
The angular course and shifting winds resulted in all participants employing their full complement of sails and the steady breeze had boats smartly rounding the series of buoys as the first classes began to bear down on the finish gate. Bob MOTTS drove his cat Chameleon across quite far ahead of classmate trimaran F31 which almost closed the wrong gate and had to change tack at the last minute crossing at 11:52.
Racing Class Boats over-run
With the shortest of the three courses Regolarita II led all of the Club boats at 12:04 with Yo bearing down on her for the Racers and clocking a minute short of two hours for the course. The closer race was between SonnenKoenig and Ulumulu who, with Club Cruising yacht, Remington, sandwiched between them, charged the line together recording times of 12:20, 12:20:30 and 12:21 respectively.
Further back the Sports Boats mingled with a pack of cruisers and finally broke through and crossed the line with Sumtam Express first. Even the Classics were represented when Lady M 'tore' through at 12:24. The Premier Cruisers with a long course and not enough wind to get them planing were led in by La Samudra as the clock approached 13:00 and the first IRC class one, Abraxas, passed just after the hour followed by Minx a few seconds later.
By this point the race officials were pretty much stuck into lunch and shouts of 'great race!' were heard from passing boats!