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11 December 2006, 10:20 am
News article - Style G 17898
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Rolex Trophy One Design Series 2006
Sydney, Australia

A newcomer, Ivan WHEEN's Sputnik, infiltrated the Ichi Ban/Mascalzone Latino Farr 40 duel in yesterday's final three races of the Rolex Trophy One Design Series and looked set to cause a major upset but an uncontrolled gybe on the last run ruined their chances and delivered Matt ALLEN's Ichi Ban the regatta win.
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Ichi Ban, which means 'number one' in Japanese, finished the three day regatta in first position on 22 points - two points ahead of the current Rolex Farr 40 world champions from Italy, Mascalzone Latino, skippered by Vincenzo ONORATO.

'We had a bit on today and it all came down to the last race - the last run downhill was make or break,' said a delighted Allen from the CYCA this afternoon.

'It was awesome to be able to sail against Vincenzo once again and Ivan WHEEN and the Sputnik crew have well and truly shown their potential', he added.

Ivan WHEEN's Sputnik drew first blood today, winning race one and two. With a 13 second margin in race one back to Lang WALKER's Kokomo and only a three second difference in race two back to the current world champions Mascalzone Latino, the finishes were heart stoppers.

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© Carlo BORLENGH/Rolex
Sputnik's crew of Olympic 470 gold medallist and tactician, Tom KING, Volvo Ocean Race sailor and bow person Abby SEAGER and some of former World Champion Richard PERINI's crew combined with WHEEN to put some serious pressure on the world's number one and two.

At the end of the first two races today, Ichi Ban's pointscore lead had narrowed to just two points heading into the decider with Sputnik elbowing out the Italians to claim second on the pointscore with one race to sail. They needed to finish first ahead of Ichi Ban to take the title in the last race but their bad luck was Ichi Ban's and Mascalzone Latino's gain.

In the third and final race of the regatta, Sputnik was making an easy meal of the freshening 26 knot nor'easter, leading Mascalzone Latino and Ichi Ban around the final top mark but a Chinese gybe half a mile from the finish ended the infiltrator's crack at the prestigious Rolex Farr 40 win.

'It was a lot of fun. Today's racing was fantastic and definitely worth coming down to Australia for - we will be coming back every year,' said Vincenzo ONORATO dockside this afternoon.

'Matt ALLEN confirmed today he is a very good campaigner and it was a privilege to sail against him,' ONORATO added.

Sputnik crewman Darren JONES commented, 'in the last race we led all the way around the track until the last downwind leg, then Mascalzone managed to get through us.'

'We then Chinese gybed and ended up finishing just under mainsail,' said JONES.

'We are disappointed but still had an awesome regatta and we are really pleased we have finished every regatta on the podium this season.'

In the Sydney 38 division, Guido BELGIORNO-NETTIS' Transfusion continued their near clean sweep of this regatta, picking up eight firsts from nine races to finish with an almost perfect score of 11 points.

Tony WALLS' Acuity fought hard but wasn't able to match Transfusion's brilliance over the three days, finishing second on 26 points ahead of the third placed Sydney 38 The Tavern, skippered by Ian GUANARIA, on 31 points.

In the Sydney 32 division, for which this weekend's three day regatta was their National Championship, pointscore leaders heading into today's final three races, Anna and Martin CROSS' If were contemplating victory until they broke their forestay in the final race putting them in second place by one point from Stuart MUIRHEAD, Angus KENCH and Bruce CALDWELL's Quickie. Third went to John GROBES' Reality.

'Commiserations to the crew on If. It was unfortunate that a breakage cost them the regatta,' said a very pleased Stuart MUIRHEAD this afternoon.

'The boat speed between the top five boats is incredibly close so we were really pleased to pull off the win. Thanks to Rolex and the CYCA for putting on a great regatta,' MUIRHEAD added.

Lisa Ratcliff (As Amended By ISAF). Image,Ichi Ban © ROLEX/Carlo BORLENGHI
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