Audi Hamilton Island Race Week sparring partners Geoff Ross (Yendys) and Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats look set to recreate the scene at the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta which got underway on Sydney Harbour today.
Ross won the trophy at Hamilton Island, with Island owner Oatley coming off second best.
The scoreboard looks similar at the end of Day 1 at the Middle Harbour Yacht Club hosted Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta.
Yendys has the early lead after scoring 1-3-2 results for six points overall, Michael Hiatt’s Victorian entry Living Doll is one point adrift after scoring 3-1-3, whilst Wild Oats X finished the day with 2-2-4 results for eight points overall. The margin is small, and with a day of racing remaining, the battle for honours and the chance to win an Audi A4 will be strong.
In IRC Division 2, Stephen Ellis’ Splash Gordon is the early leader on five points following two bullets and a third place. Le Billet (Bill Ebsary) is second overall on equal points with a pair of second’s and a win, with Ian Box’s Toy Box just three points away in third place. All three will be strong contenders for the win.
IRC Division 3 is currently led by the Audi IRC Championship co-leader Peter Sorensen who is very keen to take home an Audi one way or the other. Sorensen sailed Philosophers Club to three straight wins for a four point lead over nearest rival Arajilla (Geoff Pearson) from the host club.
Middle Harbour YC Commodore Martin Hill and wife Lisa left the dock with a cast of Olympians old and new on their Sydney 38 Estate Master. Rather than sail in the One Design division, Hill opted for what he called “a bit of a cruise” in PHS Division 1. A couple of other ‘38’s joined them.
Onboard Estate Master was the Hill’s son-in-law to be and Sydney 2000 Olympic bronze medallist Michael Blackburn, now coach to Beijing bound Laser Radial sailor Sarah Blanck and other Beijing bound Aussie sailors Nathan Outteridge and Malcolm Page, along with their Head Coach Victor Kovalenko and his son Vladimir, enjoying the first sail ever together.
“It was fun, something different to do,” said Outteridge. Page, who has sailed with the Hills for some time agreed. “We didn’t do it too tough out there, although we did race against the maxi Brindabella.”
In fact there were a number of Australian sailors headed to Beijing sailing at the regatta today. Tessa Parkinson, 470 dinghy Women’s crew sailed aboard Cameron Miles’ Rush, one of the most competitive Sydney 38’s on the scene.
“It was quite different to what I’m used to and my first real offshore race,” Parkinson said. “We only had two races, because the first one was three windward/leeward returns and went forever. The second one we did two laps, but I enjoyed myself,” she said.
Her skipper, Elise Rechichi, had a slightly different day. “I was part of the Try Sailing Day in the Optimist dinghies. I took a few teenagers out who hadn’t ever been sailing before and they really enjoyed themselves – and so did I,” said Rechichi, who like her crew, comes from Western Australia.
Tom Slingsby, who last week retained his Laser World crown at Terrigal and heads to Beijing with the rest of the Aussie contingent sailed aboard Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Sydney 38 Transfusion and notched up two wins.
Lucky Slingsby. The generous Belgiorno-Nettis has said should they win the Audi A4, he will put all crew names into a hat and draw one out – and that person will take the car home.
Slingsby, as part of the Australian Sailing Team, has already had the privilege of driving an Audi in Europe, courtesy of the German carmaker which is a sponsor of the team.
Cameron Miles’ Rush is second placed in the Sydney 38’s after scoring third and second and places and Alan Brierty’s Limit is third with seven points.Competitors aboard the record 267 entries faced strong southerly and south-easterly winds throughout the day and the Sydney 38’s sailing on an offshore course encountered huge swell and waves as well.
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