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18 March 2003, 09:49 am
Buffalo Boys
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No Fearr©Doyle Fraser Sails

Tasaki Osaka Cup
Melbourne - Osaka

In yacht racing we all remember the time we were the 'Buffalo Boys' coming round the outside to Glory and of course we'd all like to forget the time we crashed and burned.
A major tactical play is unfolding in the 2003 Melbourne to Osaka race and it's a classic 'Buffalo Boys' game.

Up front there is still a rubber band between the two lead boats. At first light Maverick II, the Elliott 14, was 2.5 miles ahead of Kontrol, her Don Jones designed dueling partner.

During the day Maverick II has been unable to escape her partner and the gap is only 500 metres between the two. These boats have rhumblined for Gabo Island, the exit point for Bass Strait.

Team FGI, the Jon Sayer designed 11 metre competing in Racer Class C, was the first boat out of Port Phillip Bay and is still holding onto 3rd place. She is less than 30 miles behind the leaders with the fleet sailing hard on the breeze(in 30 knot north easterlies)towards Gabo Island.

In a 'Buffalo Boy' play two of her Racer Class C competitors No Fearr, Phil Coomb's Cookson 12 and Bill Gray's 11.9 metre Matrix have fallen back in the fleet. They are well off the rhumbline as they cut eastwards across the south flowing East Coast current as it fans out into Bass Strait.

No Fearr has dropped back to 11th overall and Matrix is now lying 16th in the fleet but they are having an easier time and are aiming for a rewarding north following back eddy.

It will be fascinating to follow their course overnight to see if this will be a bar boasting gain, or a never to be mentioned gamble.

In Racer B, its Lulu now fifth overall 3 miles ahead of Mad Max 6th overall.

In Cruiser Class B The Wizard is starting to clear out and is now 44 miles ahead of Naniwa with Fine Tolerance escaping the clutches of Wilson's Promontory at last.

Tomorrow she will have the first use of the following breeze and will close up on the leaders.

In Cruiser Class C, Louise is now 84 miles south west of Gabo Island, just over the horizon from Boots. Salaku after starting late has made excellent progress today and will shortly round the Prom and start climbing towards Osaka.
Rob Kothe/ISAF News Editor
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