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21 January 2005, 09:20 am
Event Starts With A Bang
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Skandia Geelong Week 2005
Geelong, Australia

Skandia Geelong week started with the bang of a start gun as a fleet of over 80 yachts started their first race of the Scotchmans Hill Series, a three-lap windward leeward course on Port Phillip Bay off Williamstown that got underway at 2.30pm today.
Over 80 yachts jockeyed for position on the start line for the first race of their seven race series, the major prize will be awarded to the winning IRC yacht at the end of the series on January 25.

The two big boats of the fleet, Skandia, a Volvo 60 (Grant WHARINGTON, Vic) and AAPT an Open 66 owned by Sean LANGMAN, (NSW), did not feature in the prominent starters. Wharington, as most know, was forced to charter a Volvo 60 after the keel fell off his 98ft Skandia during the Hobart race.

In fact, it was Skandia Contribution, Ray ROBERTs' (NSW) new DK46 having her first race after launching this week that got the best of the start. Roberts won this regatta with a former yacht two years ago.

Michael SPIES' near-new proven race winner, First National Real Estate (a Beneteau 44.7) also got away well mid line, in front of larger boats Dekadence a DK46 owned by Phil COOMBS, the Commodore of Sandringham Yacht Club and Stratcorp 97, a Farr 47 owned by Victorian Chris DARE.

As the yachts reached the first windward mark in a 10 knot breeze, it was defending champion, Matt ALLEN's Farr 52 Ichi Ban (NSW), that rounded first, then Hardy's Secret Mens Business, Geoff BOETTCHER's near new Reichel Pugh 46 (SA), then AAPT, Skandia Contribution and finally Skandia appeared.

As the breeze filled in to around 15 knots on a perfect Melbourne day, AAPT, the yacht that finished second on line in the recent Sydney-Hobart race, increased her lead.

Langman got AAPT to the finish line first; five mins 38 secs in front of Ichi Ban, followed by Skandia, then Hardy's Secret Mens Business and Skandia Contribution.

A huge number of boats will join this fleet tomorrow for the Melbourne-Geelong Passage Race starting at 9.30am which will finish on Corio Bay in front of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, host club for Skandia Geelong Week.
Di Pearson, Image: © Teri Dodds/Skandia Geelong Week 2005
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