The last race of the seven race Telstra Cup series was held offshore from Sydney Heads on Sunday.
The 50 yacht fleet was subjected to a lengthy two hour postponement due to a lack of wind early in the afternoon, but racing finally got underway in a light 5 to 8 knot easterly breeze.
The battle of the day was between David Coe's Farr 52, Loco, driven by Michael Coxon, and 62-footer, Bumblebee 5, owned by John Kahlbetzer and steered by designer Iain Murray. Loco led the race from the outset and increased the margin early in the race. However, Bumblebee 5 worked her way back into contention race and at the final mark she made her move into the lead in a close mark rounding, capitalising on an inside advantage. Bumblebee 5 held onto the IMS line honours win by a boat length from Loco, on corrected time Loco placing fifth and Bumblebee 5 back in 15th place.
World champion Farr 40 One Design yachtsman John Calvert-Jones today clinched victory in the 2000 Australian championship and the Telstra Cup, maintaining his remarkable consistency in the highly competitive 'owner-driver' class. A third in race seven today placed Calvert-Jones, helming Southern Star six points clear of the 16 boat fleet, and he clinched victory with a fourth in the final race.
Southern Star's scoreboard added up to 30 points, with second place going to American yachtsman Philippe Kahn who won both races today, the first sailed in an 8-10 knot easterly seabreeze, the wind freshening to 12 to 15 knots for the second and backing to the north-east. Kahn, sailing his Malaysian-built, Sydney-based brand new Farr 40, Pegasus, won five of the eight races to finish with 35 points. Third overall was class newcomer, Simon Whiston, sailing Smile, the same name as that of his previous boat, the Beneteau 40.7 IMS ocean racer in which he represented Australia at the Kenwood Cup in Hawaii in August.
Kahn, like a growing number of prominent ocean racing yachtsmen, has been attracted by the strict one-design and 'owner-driver' rules and amateur emphasis of the Farr 40 One Design class. While John Calvert-Jones, with America's Cup yachtsman Grant Simmer as his tactician, won the Australian championship with a model of consistent sailing, Kahn and his crew outsailed the locals yesterday and today with brilliant crew work. Kahn's tactician was Mark Reynolds, back in Sydney where he won the Gold Medal in the Star class at the recent Sydney Olympic Games.
In the final race this afternoon, Reynolds had Kahn perfectly placed at the leeward end of the starting line to tack full advantage of the freshening breeze at it backed to the north-east and freshened to 12 to 15 knots. The Americans won five of the eight races and might well have won the no drop-race series but for missing race three after breaking the mast crane before the start and then being recalled in race five. However, they would not have completed the regatta but the generosity of John Calvert-Jones who made available his spare mast to Kahn.
Shockwave, Neville Crichton's 80-foot maxi, again collected the line honours win in the IRC division to make it a line honours clean sweep in all seven IRC races of the Telstra Cup. Loki (Stephen Ainsworth), a Swan 48, secured the overall IRC victory on corrected time by a two-point margin from Shockwave. The Sydney 38 division also came down to the wire with The Business (Vaughan Stibbard) winning by three points from Victorian Lou Abrahams' Another Challenge.
1 Loki Stephen Ainsworth 7 3 1 1 7 1 5 322 pts
2 Shockwave Neville Crichton 2 1 4 3 1 7 7 320 pts
3 Addiction Stewart Lewis 1 2 5 5 3 5 3 318 pts
1 Southern Star John Calvert-Jones Vic 5 8 4 2 2 2 3 4 30 points
2 Pegasus Philippe Kahn USA 6 1 17 1 7 1 1 1 35 points
3 Smile Simon Whiston NSW 2 9 8 4 1 8 2 8 41 points
4 Buon Giorno Steve Ellis NSW 3 5 3 6 5 5 5 11 43 points
5 Corinthian Doors Richard Perini NSW 8 2 1 10 13 3 10 6 43 points
Sydney 38 Division
1 The Business Vaughan Stibbard 4 1 1 3 1 2 2 329 pts
2 Another Challenge Lou Abbrahams 6 3 2 1 2 1 3 326 pts
3 Blowfly Barry Moore 1 4 5 5 6 6 1 316 pts
1 Nips n Tux Howard De Torres 1 6 2 3 2 2 1 327 pts
2 Yendys Geoff Ross 2 1 4 2 1 12 2 326 pts
3 Loco David Coe 5 5 1 1 3 6 5 318 pts