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25 January 2005, 10:04 am
First National Real Estate Seals Scotchmans Hill Series
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2005 Skandia Geelong Week
Geelong, Australia

Last night, Michael SPIES' Beneteau 44.7 First National Real Estate sealed the Scotchmans Hill series with consistent performances across the first six races and so she did not need to race the 15.5 mile final race, around fixed marks on Corio Bay.
However as part of the strong Cruising Yacht Club of Australia team, she needed to do well to help the team triumph in their tight battle against the Sandringham squad.

Today, she finished in eleventh place and, as the team results are yet to be finalised, we will have to wait a little longer before the 'ultimate team' is announced.

Today First National Real Estate's sister ship, Alan Whiteley's Beneteau 44.7 Cougar, had an excellent start and kept moving in the light conditions to win race seven on handicap. Alan WOODWARD's Beneteau 40.7 Reverie was second, with Timothy NELLINGAN's 2 Top Cats, third.

After seven races in the overall Scotchmans Hill series, First National Real Estate was the official handicap winner, with Cougar leaping into second place with today's good result, ahead of Phil COOMB's DK46 Dekadence, who suffered back in tenth place today. Fourth overall was Steve and Mary CHIODO's Sydney 47 Gomez.

As the fleet rolled into the Royal Geelong Yacht club marina, there was a period of frantic activity as some of Sydney boats prepared to leave.

Last year's series winner, Matt ALLEN's Ichi Ban fuelled up with diesel, delivery sails and food and left for Sydney within a hour of finishing. Close behind her was First National Real Estate.

These two boats are amongst the leaders in the highly competitive Sydney Blue Water series, which includes the Sydney to Southport race, the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race and the Sydney to Mooloolaba race. The reason for today's rush is a 500 mile ocean passage between Corio Bay and the 10am Saturday morning startline of the Sydney Harbour to Lion Island and Botany Bay race.

Dockside Michael SPIES, the Sydney to Hobart race record holder, the 2003 Rolex Sydney to Hobart winner and two weeks ago the Sailing South Regatta winner, was wearing a grin with the confirmation that he was the new Skandia Geelong Week champion, and commented, 'Skandia Geelong Week is now a 'must do' regatta on the Australian circuit. Good sailing conditions, a top quality national fleet and outstanding shore side facilities. And most enjoyable of all, the event is really engaged with the community.'

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