Despite Loki's record breaking run in the Cabbage Tree Island Race yesterday, Bob Steel's Quest, last year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race winner, arrived at the Sydney Harbour finish line in time to take overall honours in the race, denying Stephen Ainsworth his wished-for race trifecta.
Steel's TP52 finished the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's (CYCA) 180 nautical mile race second on line, 1hour 37min 47sec behind Loki, which translated to a corrected finish time of just over 21 minutes in front of Loki, Ainsworth's Reichel/Pugh 63 relegated to second place overall.
The Geoff Ross owned and skippered Yendys, a Reichel/Pugh 55, finished third over the line and overall. Ross and crew had a close battle with Quest throughout the race and finished 3min 10secs behind the overall winner. The top three are all from the CYCA.
“The first three hours weather was totally opposite to what the forecast said (easterlies were forecast), and it was very up and down in pressure,” Steel's sailing master Mike Green said.
“Yendys and Quest sailed straight up to Loki going to the Island, but when the gradient breeze came through, Loki took off,” said Green, going on to explain, “Waterline length always comes into play when you're reaching and in those conditions the small boats don't stand a chance.”
Green said Yendys beat Quest around the Island by 10 minutes, but they overcame Ross's yacht off Stockton on the way back to the Sydney Harbour finish line: “We were fortunate, we had worked our way out to seaward and that was the end of the race between us. Carl Crafoord did a great job calling the weather for us. It's nice when it happens right.”
A race veteran of 30 Rolex Sydney Hobart races, Green said: “Our result tells us the boat is on track for Hobart. We're confident in ourselves and the boat. Having said that, this will be the hardest Hobart race in 10 years; look at the talent, and not all of us have sailed at the same regattas. It's not going to be easy.”
The Cabbage Tree Island Race, which started on Sydney Harbour at 8.00pm on Friday evening, finished early this morning with the last of the yachts trickling across the line.
The races for the prestigious Blue Water Pointscore (BWPS) and the Tasman Series are well and truly on, with the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race the penultimate event, for which BWPS points awarded may not be discarded and first place shall receive zero points, the series working on the low point scoring system.
Sixth in the BWPS going into the Cabbage Tree Island Race, Stephen Ainsworth pointed out, “there are still two events left and a drop to come in. The scores are close and we could still win it. When we drop our 14th from Race 1, we are in really good shape and it would be an honour to win it.”
The two series winners will be decided at the end of the Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Race in March and following the Cabbage Tree Island Race, points will be updated on the CYCA site tomorrow morning.