One glance at Rob Greenhalgh's face as he emerged from the protest room this morning (Sunday) was enough to tell that he had been disqualified from yesterday's Heat, in which he had finished first by a huge distance.
However, he and his team mates Dan Johnson and Jonny Meers were able to put their disappointment behind them and come up with the perfect response by winning Heat 2 in convincing style on Sydney Harbour this afternoon.
A building nor' easter saw the fleet get away from the start in a 10 knot breeze, with Tim Robinson's 'Great Britain' being disqualified for a premature start. He later explained that he had not seen his recall number displayed, and had mistaken a hand signal from an official as indicating that he needed to do a penalty turn after tacking close to another boat, when he was in fact being asked to return.
'RMW Marine' got away to a good start, and soon began to put distance between herself and the remainder of the fleet. Defending champion John Harris on 'Rag & Famish Hotel' initially held a good second place, but by the first windward mark Victor Brellisford sailing 'White Stuff' had moved ahead to round behind the flying 'RMW Marine'. Unfortunately, the spinnaker pole on 'White Stuff' then broke, forcing them into retirement.
Howie Hamlin on 'General Electric-US Challenge' caught up several places to claim third position behind 'The Rag', and later moved ahead into second place, with the wind now building towards 15 knots.
The final place change at the head of the fleet occurred when 'The Rag' was forced to drop her spinnaker on the approach to the Shark Island Totem Pole, allowing Hugh Stodart on 'Express Post' to move into a well deserved third position.
There was one more minor piece of drama to come shortly before the finish as the topmast of 'General Electric-US Challenge' broke off at the third speader, but the Americans were able to hold on to their second place.
As we now approach the first lay day tomorrow (Monday) 'General Electric-US Challenge' holds the points lead, but the 'RMW Marine' team have demonstrated that they are still the ones who will take some beating despite, as Rob Greenhalgh put it, having got their discard in early.
Result of Heat 2:
1. 'RMW Marine', Robert Grenhalgh, Great Britain
2. 'General Electric-US Challenge', Howard Hamlin, USA
3. 'Express Post', Hugh Stodart, Australia
4. 'Rag & famish Hotel', John Harris, Australia
5. 'Derwent Racing', Daniel Phillips, Australia
6. 'Newport Arms Hotel', Matt Felton, Australia
7. 'Omega Smeg', Trevor Barnabas, Australia
8. 'Sunday Telegraph', Michael Coxon, Australia
9. 'SP Systems-Team Alfa', Tim Webster, Australia
10. 'Terry Hogan Prestige Cars', Graham Turner, Australia
1. 'General Electric-US Challenge', 3 points
2. 'Newport Arms Hotel', 14.7 points
3. 'Sunday Telegraph', 22 points
4. 'Express Post', 22.7 points
5= 'Omega Smeg', 23 points
5= 'Rag & famish Hotel', 23 points