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25 January 2006, 01:37 pm
Quantum Racing Takes Early Lead
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Skandia Geelong Week 2006

There were mixed fortunes today in the opening two races of the Scotchmans Hill Series at Skandia Geelong Week sailed off the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, Australia. Skandia took line honours in both races, but it was Ray ROBERTS' DK 46 Quantum Racing that outpaced everybody to lead the series overall - the same series he won back in 2003 with a former yacht.
ROBERTS won the first race and finished fourth in the second to take the lead from the well sailed Wild Joe, Steven DAVID's Reichel/Pugh 60 and XLR8, Graeme TROON's Reichel/Pugh 46.

Racing got away on time at 1230 hours local time and Grant WHARINGTON's super maxi Skandia led the way from Sean LANGMAN's AAPT and Wild Joe. This is not the first time the three have raced against each other, but it is the first time at this event.

WHARINGTON, from Mornington in Victoria, had only docked in Melbourne yesterday after completing leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race, but looked fresh and relaxed as he stepped aboard Skandia for the first time.

Sailed in light five knot south easterly breezes under sunny skies, Skandia was overtaken by DAVID's Reichel/Pugh canting keeled 60, but managed to pull Wild Joe back in on the last run before rounding the mark to the finish.

AAPT, steered by LANGMAN, chose the right side of the course early on and came home third on line.

Breeze Kicks In For Race Two

Come race two, sailed started in a ten knot breeze that built throughout the afternoon to around 15 knots from the south. Skandia got off the line well at the pin, with AAPT in pursuit and Wild Joe a little further up the line with Lou ABRAHAMS' Sydney 38 Challenge.

As the breeze increased, so did the swell, and Skandia left her counterparts well behind to take line honours from Wild Joe on the trapezoid course. AAPT finished well back after shredding a kite which blew from the back of the boat until the crew was able to pull it down some time later.

At the boat end there was consternation as Roger HICKMAN's Wild Oats kept others out of the equation amidst a lot of shouting. Geoff BOETTCHER's Hardys Secret Mens Business was squeezed out and lost time having to go around and consequently started late.

Victorian entry, XLR8, Graeme TROON's sistership to Hardys SMB, got away well and was fourth boat around the top mark the first time. TROON, from Royal Geelong Yacht Club, sailed well throughout and although BOETTCHER recovered well, he could not catch TROON's boat. However, it was BOETTCHER home first in the earlier race, although the two finished close together.

ROBERTS on Quantum Racing also had a good day. He finished well in front of the other DK46s, Dekadence and Royal Geelong entry, Shogun. Living Doll and Goldfinger, the former Ichi Ban now owned by Peter BLAKE did not live up to expectation today, but that may change with tomorrow's race to Geelong.

Of the Sydney 38's, ABRAHAMS was best placed in both races to lead the Sydney 38 One Design division from CHUTZPAH, steered today by Col ANDERSON.

However, at the end of the day, a number of yachts were requesting redress following the removal of one of the race marks and this may change the leaderboard.

Racing continues tomorrow with the 34 nautical mile Williamstown-Geelong Passage Race. Weather experts say to expect a 42 degree northerly which should bring the 400 plus boats home quickly.

Di PEARSON (As Amended by ISAF)
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