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17 December 2006, 07:02 pm
One Second Wins
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Rolex Trophy Rating Series 2006
Sydney, Australia

After eight races over four days sailed in a full gamut of conditions, a one second split on corrected time in the final race was the difference between first and second in IRC Division 1 of the pre-Hobart Rolex Trophy Rating Series.
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Stephen AINSWORTH's Reichel/Pugh 60 Loki finished 0.1 of a point ahead of Geoff ROSS' Reichel/Pugh 55 Yendys when the pointscore was tallied with the final race of the series the cruncher.

A false start could have cost AINSWORTH the regatta but the crew recovered well and re-started without paying too higher price for their mistake. Not only did they manage to claw back the IRC Division 1 fleet, they also recorded the deciding win.

'We are very encouraged,' said a delighted AINSWORTH this afternoon. 'We were really concentrating and it was nice to get the result. Full credit to the Yendys team.'

AINSWORTH and his crew will spend the final week before the Boxing Day start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart testing a new sail wardrobe and practising man overboard drills.

Loki has recorded a series of top results recently including placing second to Steven DAVID's Wild Joe at Hamilton Island Race Week, winning the Savills Short Ocean Racing Championship earlier this month and now IRC Division 1 winner of the Rolex Trophy Rating Series.

Despite being so close to a win today, Geoff ROSS was delighted with the performance of his new boat sailing in its debut regatta.

'It's a stunning boat and we have learnt a lot,' said ROSS.'It was great regatta - we had from seven to 30 knots. We have the boat which is up to the job.'

Yendys silenced yesterday's argument with a win in light airs over Stephen AINSWORTH's Loki in race one today. AINSWORTH was claiming an advantage yesterday after appearing to be the better upwind performer in the 12-15 knot range but today he was faced with the fact that Yendys is going to be a tough all-rounder come Boxing Day.

Racing began in a 10 knot east sou'easter before fading to 6 knots which postponed the start of race two by close to two hours. Gradually the breeze flicked left before the nor'east sea breeze filled in at 10-12 knots for the final race of the regatta.

Ray ROBERTS' Cookson 50 Quantum Racing finished first overall in IRC Division 0 despite hooking a weather buoy and losing around four minutes of race time in the first race today.

Chris DARE's Victorian 49 Flirt sailed a brilliant series with podium finishes in every race, including winning half of the eight races sailed, to finish the standout boat in IRC Division 2.

Despite constant pressure from Stephen ELLIS' Splash Gordon, Howard DE TORRES' Nips n Tux and Syd FISCHER's Ragamuffin, DARE, sailing with Yachting Australia president Andrew PLYMPTON on board, recorded a divisional win with 11 points.

Splash Gordon finished second on 17 points and Nips n Tux placed third with 24 points.

'We have won a regatta sailed over a whole spectrum of breeze which is what you get in a Hobart,' said DARE. 'We have to take some confidence from that.'

With the Rolex Sydney Hobart just nine days away, DARE is looking forward to the opportunity to separate the Yendys/Loki Reichel/Pugh duopoly and the chance to race against Ray ROBERTS' canting keeler Quantum Racing, which sailed in a different division for the Rolex Trophy Rating Series and wasn't scored against the Division 2 fleet.

While the main players on the Rolex Sydney Hobart handicap form guide were wrestling for top honours in the Rolex Trophy Rating Series off Sydney Heads, all three 30 metre maxis contesting the 628 nautical mile ocean classic were being pulled from the water at Woolwich for final checks and repairs.

Skandia, Wild Oats XI and Maximus were cradled out of the water today and tomorrow Matt ALLEN's Ichi Ban will join the 30 metre maxis on the hard stand for a final check of the underside.

Lisa Ratcliff (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from today © ROLEX/Carlo BORLENGHI
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