Brisk Start to Lipton Cup Regatta

Bruce McCraken, Ikon, flew straight to the top of the Division A IRC leaderboard with three wins from three starts. Robert Date’s Scarlet Runner was next with Reverie (Alan Woodward) third at the end of the first day.

As racing drew to a close today, all eyes turned to the sky to see Past Commodore Michael Smith coming in to land his tiny amphibious aeroplane to complete a successful circuit of the globe. After landing on the water at Williamstown, Smith casually “drove” his plane up the launching ramp without assistance to a waiting throng of wellwishers.

Division 2 is developing into a very close contest between Moneypenny (Langford Spencer) and The Bookmaker (Andrew Slagmolen) on both IRC and AMS handicapping systems, with James Heywood’s Serious Yahoo ready to pounce if either slips up in tomorrow’s long race.

There was also close racing in the Bluebird fleet, which is enjoying a resurgence of interest. Veteran Peter Roberts, who sailed as crew today after joining the class in 1997, said: “We have nineteen boats sailing regularly this season and racing is as tight as it has ever been.” Peter Wright’s Fiz IV heads the leader board with two wins and a second, followed by Sue Burke in Swallow, just one point behind.

In division E for cruising yachts with spinnaker, Gary Prestedge’s One for the Road started well but was run down on the first two tight reaching legs by the Beneteau 49 Biddy Hu II to trail by 50 metres or so at the half way mark. Some slick crew work at the end of a long spinnaker leg and a strong windward performance saw Prestedge’s Archamault 40 surge to the front and take line honours with a margin of just over a minute. Ray Borrett’s Northshore 38 Laurelle won the race on corrected time, with One for the Road Second and Biddy Hu II third.

So the stage is set for some serious racing in tomorrow’s long race to finalise this excellent showcase regatta hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.

– Bernie Kaaks 

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