In an incredidibly tense last windward leg to the finish, Olympic sailor Daniel Phillips took the victory on "Derwent Racing".
He took the win by a mere sixteen seconds in Sydney Harbour this afternoon (Saturday) from Hugh Stodart on "Express Post", followed one second later by "Aristocrat", skippered by Gary Phillips.
Daniel Phillips commented: "It was pretty windy before the start - we had a couple of swims, and thought we had the wrong rig on, but the wind slowly died later in the race. It was a pretty good day, I guess!"
The southerly wind was patchy throughout the race, and as it lightened those who had chosen the smaller rig found themselves at a serious disadvantage.
After a general recall, the fleet of sixteen Skiffs soon spread out on the first windward leg, and, when they came together again at the windward mark, "Rag & Famish Hotel", skippered by John Harris had a good lead from "Epress Post" and "Derwent Racing".
By the halfway stage of the race, "Rag & Famish Hotel" had an apparently unassailable lead, with her nearest rivals also well spread out, and it seemed that the race was over.
However, the fleet began to compress as they headed towards Shark Island for the second time, and "Derwent Racing" rounded the Totem Pole only a couple of lengths behind "The Rag", with "Aristocrat" and "Express Post" in close attendance. At the start of the final leg, these two boats, together with "Terry Hogan Prestige Cars" sailed by Graham Turner, were within about one length of each other, and the lead changed several times as the skippers desperately sought out the favourable shifts.
It was Daniel Phillips who made the best job of the beat, to take the second heat of the New South Wales Championship, which is also the qualification series for the twelve boats that will represent the state in the JJ Giltinan International Championship next month. After two heats, "Derwent Racing" leads from "Sunday Telegraph" (Michael Coxon) and "Rag & Famish Hotel". Heat 3 is scheduled for tomorrow (Sunday).
NSW Championship, Heat 2 results:
1. "Derwent Racing", Daniel Phillips
2. "Express Post", Hugh Stodart
3. "Aristocrat", Gary Phillips
4. "Rag & Famish Hotel", John Harris
5. "Terry Hogan Prestige Cars", Graham Turner
6. "Avaya Communication", Peter Morrison
7. "Computer Associates", Alistair Saunders
8. "Sunday Telegraph", Michael Coxon
9. "Omega Smeg", Trevor Barnabas
10. "Bell Partners", Tony Hannan