A margin of eight seconds in the final race gave Terry Mullens’ Farr 49, Sting, first place overall in the grand prix IMS division of the JPMorgan Regatta off Sydney Heads today.
In a head-to-head clash in race four, Sting won the series by one point from Syd Fischer's Farr 50, Ragamuffin, the two boats placing second and third in the last race.
It was very much the relatively rookie ocean racer versus the veteran of 32 Sydney to Hobarts, including line and handicap wins. Mullens is in his first grand prix IMS racing season with Sting, which as Yendys won the 1999 Sydney Hobart Race.
Going into the final race the two yachts were equal on points after Fischer sailed back into contention with a hard-fought win in this morning's race three of the regatta for Middle Harbour Yacht Club's short ocean racing championship.
Ragamuffin's helmsman, Sean Kirkjian, made a perfect start at the pin end of the line in race three, even forcing the maxi yacht Brindabella to bear away to leeward to pass as they began the 1.5 nautical mile beat to windward in a 10 knot east-north-easterly seabreeze.
Their task was made easier when Sting, winner of both IMS races yesterday, broke the start and lost at least a couple of minutes in re-starting; she eventually placed sixth on corrected time.
Knowing they had to beat Ragamuffin on corrected time in race four to win the IMS championship, Mullens and his crew worked to gain every fraction of boatspeed and to use every tactical advantage to lead or, at least keep within a few boat lengths of Ragamuffin throughout the 7.5 nautical mile race.
They crossed the line only 34 seconds astern of Ragamuffin after a boat-for-boat duel throughout the race, hoping they were within the time needed to beat Rags on corrected time.
In the end, John Kahlbetzer's MBD 62, Bumblebee 5, helmed by designer Iain Murray scored her first win of the JPMorgan Regatta, beating Sting by 53 seconds on corrected time, with Ragamuffin just eight seconds back in third place.
Sting, with the helming shared by owner Mullens and talented Tasmanian yachtsman Julian Freeman, finished the regatta with placings of 1-1-6-2 for 10 points, Ragamuffin with 11 points from placings of 5-2-1-3, third overall going to Bumblebee 5 with 19 points (7-3-8-1) on a countback from Ashley Reed and Michael Spies' Beneteau 40.7, Shipping Central also on 19 points (3-5-2-9).
In other classes:
Emotional Hooligan, skippered by former Australian champion Marcus Blackmore, won race three of the Farr 40 One Design class to virtually clinch first place overall, with minor placings still subject to protests involving several boats being heard tonight.
The JOG Super 30 division saw an overall win by husband and wife team Martin and Lisa Hill in their Young 30, Hill PDA Bullet, winning three of the four races.
Final results in the IRC division were provisional tonight with a protest against the overall winner, Stephen Ainsworth's Swan 48, Loki, which claims a rules infringement at the start of the final race.
The little Peterson 30, Marigot Bay, skippered by Gregg Davern, won the PHS division from Abracadabra (Gavin Ward) by just two points.