A north-easterly seabreeze that freshened to 20 knots mid-afternoon played havoc with match-racing in the Hardy Cup, the Group 3 International Youth Match Racing series being conducted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on the Harbour yesterday.
Driving the Elliot 5.9 sports boats to the maximum in the fresh conditions, the under 25 year old sailors contributed to a series of gear breakages and ripped spinnakers that slowed down the racing schedule.
At the same time, the two unbeaten crews after stage one's two round-robins, Great Britain's Royal Yacht Association team skippered by Mark Campbell-James, and Australia's Nick Garland and his crew from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, found themselves struggling in the single round-robin of stage two to decide the semi-finalists.
Both the RYA and the RPAYC teams had won eight straight races to lead the six teams qualifying for stage two, the others being the USA's University of Hawaii, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Sandringham Yacht Club from Melbourne and the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron from Brisbane.
However, as the breeze freshened during the stage 2 round-robin, the RPAYC lost both of its matches and the RYA went down in one of its two matches,
On top after two flights, with three to sail tomorrow to decide the semi-finalists, were Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, skippered by Matthew Chew, and Sandringham Yacht Club, skippered by Scott Walton.
The RQYS and Sandringham won both their matches in the stage 2 round-robin, while the RYA had one win and the RPAYC went down in both flights.
The Hardy Cup, an event initiated by famous Australian yachtsman Sir James Hardy, ends tomorrow with the completion of stage 2's round-robin with the top four teams progressing to the sem-finals.
Stage 1, after two round robins:
1 Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (AUS) 8 pts
2 Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (AUS) 5pts
3 Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (AUS)
4 Bucklands Beach Yacht Club (NZL) 3pts
5 Royal Thames Yacht Club (GBR) 1 pts
1 Royal Yachting Association (GBR) 8pts
2 Sandringham Yacht Club (AUS) 4 pts
3 University of Hawaii (USA) 4 pts
4 Circolo della Erix (ITA) 2 pts
5 Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (NZL) 2 pts
Stage 2, single round-robin, after three flights sailed:
1 Sandringham Yacht Club 2pts
2 Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron 2 pts
eq 3 Royal Yachting Association 1 pt and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron 1 pt
eq 5 University of Hawaii 0 pts and Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club 0pts
Top four teams from stage 2's single round-robin move into semi-finals.