A breeze from the west, varying in strength from almost nothing to 12 knots, and with shifts of up to 30 degrees, gave the 18 foot Skiff sailors an extremely difficult time in Sydney Harbour this afternoon (Tuesday).
Thoughout the first of four laps, defending champion John Harris on 'Rag & Famish Hotel' was in complete control of the race, and appeared to be a certain winner.
Towards the end of the second long windward leg to the Athol Rounding Mark, however, 'The Rag' and her nearest competitors ran completely out of wind, and watched helplessly as Daniel Phillips on 'Derwent Racing' picked up enough breeze to sail round them at top speed.
'Computer Associates', skippered by Alistair Saunders, also profited from the new wind and rounded in second place, ahead of Tim Robinson on 'Great Britain' and Pietro Sibello on "Avaya Communication'.
Trevor Barnabas lay fifth on 'Omega Smeg', followed by 'Vodka Cruiser', skippered by Greg Paterson, with 'Rag & Famish Hotel' now down to seventh place.
A lap later, the Italians on 'Avaya Communication' had done some great work in the light breeze to lead from 'Derwent Racing', with 'Rag & Famish Hotel' back up to third. On the tight reach to the Clarke Island Rounding Mark, 'The Rag' team did the best job of holding their spinnaker, allowing them to retake the lead.
On the final leg of the course, within 200 metres of the finishing line, there was a shouting match between 'The Rag' and 'Derwent Racing' before they finished in that order. A protest was subsequently lodged by 'Derwent Racing', and the hearing will take place tomorrow morning, together with another between "Omega Smeg' and 'White Stuff'.
Series leader Howie Hamlin on 'General Electric-US Challenge' had a trying day, and only managed twelfth place, while Rob Greenhalgh had an even worse time on 'RMW Marine' and only achieved a lowly twenty first position. 'General Electric-US Challenge' retains the lead after three heats, with 'Rag & Famish Hotel' snapping at their heels, and Matt Felton on 'Newport Arms Hotel' not far behind.
Provisional result of Heat 2, subject to protest:
1. 'Rag & Famish Hotel', John Harris, AUS
2. 'Derwent Racing', Daniel Phillips, AUS
3. 'Avaya Communication', Pietor Sibello, ITA
4. 'Great Britain', Tim Robinson, GBR
5. 'Computer Associates', Alistair Saunders, AUS
6. 'Express Post', Hugh Stodart, AUS
7. 'Aristocrat', Gary Phillips, AUS
8. 'Newport Arms Hotel', Matt Felton, AUS
9. ''d'Albora Marinas', John Winning, AUS
10. 'Sunday Telegraph', Michael Coxon, AUS
Provisional points after 3 heats, subject to protests:
1. 'General Electric-US Challenge' 21 pts
2. 'Rag & Famish Hotel' 23 pts
3. 'Newport Arms Hotel' 28.7 pts
4. 'Express Post' 34.4 pts
5. 'Sunday Telegraph 38 pts
6. 'Omega Smeg' 44 pts
7. 'Derwent Racing' 46 pts
8. 'Great Britain' 46.7 pts
9. 'Avaya Communication' 47.7 pts
10. 'd'Albora Marinas' 48 pts