The 50-boat Telstra Cup fleet today provided some spectacular racing on Sydney Harbour, with the 20 to 25 knot southerly breeze producing several "wipe-outs" and casualties.
The IMS, IRC and Sydney 38 divisions completed races three and four inside Sydney Harbour, but the Farr 40's called it a day after only one race offshore.
The recently imported Farr 52, Loco, skippered by David Coe, revelled in the strong conditions to collect the IMS handicap double in both races of the day. With America's Cup sailor Michael Coxon on the helm, the 52-foot yacht matched boat speed with some of her large counterparts, most notably beating the 62-foot Bumblebee 5 across the line in race four. Loki, a Swan 48 skippered by Stephen Ainsworth, also thrived in the conditions collecting the IRC handicap double in both races.
The damage list and subsequent retirements from the day's racing included a broken mast crane on American yacht Pegasus who went into today's racing leading the Farr 40 One Design fleet. The crew from Pegasus lifted the damaged mast out of the boat immediately upon return to shore, but hope to borrow a mast for the continuation of racing over the weekend. Eureka and Loki sustained sail damage. Xena retired after spinnaker problems. Icefire broke their steering cables and Quest tore their mainsail, both during the starting sequence of race four. The Farr 46, Nintey Seven retired after owner/skipper Graham Gibson was injured during a gybe in the freshening conditions, requiring several stitches.
The Farr 40's who were racing offshore from Sydney Heads in the fresh winds, opted to only race one race today, not the two races as previously scheduled. Corinthian Doors (Richard Perrini) won the race from Emotional Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore). After three races Corinthian Doors and Buon Giorno (Steve Ellis) are in equal first place.
Some of the Sydney 38's struggled to keep under control with a couple of big broaches. After winning race three, The Business (Vaughan Stibbard) lost control of the yacht early in race four when they were under spinnaker. The yacht gybed uncontrollably and virtually capsized, losing precious time. Doctorglobal.com (Craig Malouf/Matt Wenke) also broached under spinnaker as they surfed towards the finish line in race three. Another Challenge, a Sydney 38 from Victoria, under the experienced hand of Lou Abrahams, had a good day with a second in race three and a convincing win of more than four minutes in race four.
The seven-race Telstra Cup series continues on Saturday following Friday's Canon Big Boat Challenge which has attracted 14 maxis and pocket maxis to the harbour course.