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20 January 2005, 10:25 am
Three Super Maxis Down, One in Geelong
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Skandia Geelong Week 2005

Back before Christmas there were four big boats racing south to Hobart. The world saw the 2003 Sydney Hobart winner, the 30 metre Skandia, without her keel, and the 30 metre Konica Minolta almost broken in two after coming off an enormous wave.
Ludde INGVALL'S Nicorette survived the Bass Strait storm to become the 2004 Sydney Hobart winner, but was dismasted only two weeks ago on the Queensland coast. There is but one survivor of the big four, the 20-metre pocket maxi AAPT, and the second boat into Hobart.

As the last man standing, at least for the moment, AAPT wears the mantle as the fastest monohull in Australia and she will be the fastest boat at Skandia Geelong Week.

Owner/skipper Sean LANGMAN is a former 18 footer World Champion who has become a very successful big boat sailor. His AAPT, the former Grundig, is fast, very fast. She is capable of reaching 30 knots in 31 knots of breeze.

And she has a proud record. In the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart, Langman's red flier took an impressive second place on line honours and in the 2003 Hobart race she was third across the line behind Skandia and Konica Minolta.

Sailing conservatively AAPT finished second in the 2004 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, behind Nicorette.

However come Saturday, Sean won't be nearly so conservative. AAPT should sweep into Corio Bay leading the record fleet for the 2005 Skandia Geelong Week as it sails in the historic passage race from Williamstown.

Now twinned with Skandia Cowes Week, the 2005 Skandia Geelong Week has moved to another level on the keel-boat circuit, as a regatta of both National and International significance with over 40 of the top boats in Australia racing in the Grand Prix Scotchmans Hill series and in the One Design Sydney 38 Nationals.

While the supermaxi Skandia, who dominated last year's regatta, will not be there, Grant WHARINGTON and his Skandia Wild Thing team will be in Geelong.

They will be afloat once again and competing in the Scotchman's Hill series on a Volvo 60 raced south to Hobart as 'Howarth Merit'. The boat will be re-branded in Skandia colours and is being entered as Skandia for the regatta.

The Skandia team are no strangers to the VO60 set-up with Barney WALKER being a twice round the world Volvo veteran and Wharington a Volvo helmsman from the last Round the World race.

Keeping them honest will be Matt ALLEN'S gold-hulled Ichi Ban. This grand prix 52 footer almost stole the show in the Passage race from Williamstown to Geelong last year.

She led the supermaxi Skandia almost into Corio Bay and went on to win the Scotchmans Hill series. She will be keen to repeat the dose this year.

As Event co-ordinator Doug JARVIS commented 'Not only is it another record fleet, the really pleasing thing is the big growth in interstate and international entries. This is definitely the best Grand Prix fleet that has ever assembled at Skandia Geelong Week.'

Now twinned with Skandia Cowes Week, the 2005 Skandia Geelong Week has moved to another level on the keel-boat circuit, as a regatta of both National and International significance, with a major boost from the yachting sponsor Skandia.

Whilst its been operating on the Australian financial services scene for four years, the company is still best known in this country due to Grant WHARINGTON'S 98 foot sponsored Skandia, which won the 2003 Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race.

Racing starts on Friday at Williamstown in the seven race Scotchmans Hill series.

On the Saturday morning of the Australia Day long weekend, a large spectator fleet will witness the starting canon being fired from one of the tall ships, as an armada of at least 350 boats stream down the Victorian coast, around Point Henry to their finish in Geelong's Corio Bay.

Once in Geelong, the Scotchman's Hill fleet, the Sydney 38's, S80's, sports boats, trailer yachts, classic yachts, Thunderbirds, cruising boats, multihulls, Couta boats, plus a myriad of smaller boats - over 500 boats overall - will contest a range of events on Corio Bay and on the outer harbour over the weekend.

Most of these fleets will finish their regatta on Tuesday afternoon, before the climax of the Australia Day celebrations that night - a spectacular fire works display, with music simulcast booming out for the K-Rock Star Show.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Sydney 38 class will take centre stage for their final set of races on Corio Bay - an exciting conclusion to Skandia Geelong Week and the Australia Day celebrations!

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