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12 December 2001, 10:23 am
Sydney Hobart Race Hopefuls On Form
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Southern Cross Cup/British Trophy Regatta

Bumblebee 5 leads after first day of racing of the Southern Cross Cup/British Trophy Regatta sailed off Sydney Heads, Australia today.

America's Cup and successful ocean racing yacht designer Iain Murray clearly has his sights set on another Sydney Hobart Race Overall win, judging by his performance at the helm of the 62-footer, Bumblebee 5, in the opening races of the Southern Cross Cup/British Trophy Regatta sailed off Sydney Heads today.

Created by his design company, Murray/Burns/Dovell (MBD), Bumblebee 5 is sailing better than ever before, following up her win in last weekend's final IMS race of the JPMorgan Regatta with a first and a third today.

Murray and his crew picked the right side of the course in the shifty easterly breeze in which race one was sailed to not only win on IMS corrected times but also beat the 80-footer, Brindabella, around the course.

Bumblebee 5 was forced to retire from the 2000 Telstra Sydney Hobart Race when she encountered structural problems to her keel off the East Coast of Tasmania and has only recently returned to racing after extension repairs in Hobart.

In today' first race, Bumblebee 5 took first place on corrected time from last year's Overall IMS winner of the Sydney Hobarty, the Adelaide owned Farr 47, SAP Ausmaid skippered by Roger Hickman, third going to last year's Telstra Cup winner, Howard de Torres' IMX-40, Nips N Tux, with veteran yachtsman Syd Fischer placing third with his powerful Farr 50, Ragamuffin.

Race two was sailed in a freshening nor'easter late in the afternoon with Brindabella clearly in command this time to take line honours from Bumblebee 5 and the newly launched Farr 52, Hollywood Boulevard, skippered by Sydney yachtsman Ray Roberts.

IMS overall winner was Ragamuffin, with Sean Kirkjian on the helm, with Roger Hickman again steering SAP Ausmaid well in the lumpy, two metre seaway, third going to Bumblebee 5, fourth to Graham Gibson's Ninety Seven.

After two races, Bumblebee 5 shares equal first place in the IMS division with SAP Ausmaid, both on 4 points, followed closely by Ragamuffin on 5 points, then Nips N Tux and Ninety Seven on 9 points each.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia plans to race the IMS and IRC divisions on the Harbour course tomorrow with the Farr 40 OD and Mumm 30 classes offshore.

Peter Campbell/News Editor
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