Smuggler fires up for early lead in TP52 Gold Cup

Sebastian Bohm and his Smuggler crew fired up on Day 1 of Act 1 in the 2023 Pallas Capital TP52 Gold Cup series, first, third and second places giving the local crew a narrow one point lead over reigning champion, Matador.

Hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Day 1 consisted of three windward/leeward races, with David Doherty’s Matador claiming the opening race and the final race, a fifth in between blemishing their scorecard.

With the race wins accounted for under the predominant TPR scoring system, Craig Neil’s Quest is in third place following a pair of seconds and a fourth place. Quest is just two points off the lead. Tomorrow will determine the winner of Act 1.

“We had a great day,” Sebastian Bohm said. “We were back to our old form. We had a few anomalies in recent regattas, but now we’re back.”

Overcoming Matador was challenging, but Bohm said, “Our crew work was flawless and we had great boat speed. The 10-12 knots on the Manly Circle were perfect conditions for us.”

The fleet knows Matador will be taking no prisoners and Bohm agrees: “We have to keep doing everything right to win. If we pick the shifts, have good boat speed and crew work, we can beat them.

“Unfortunately, in the last race, we had an issue on the downwind leg. We couldn’t gybe after wrapping the staysail sheet around a pedestal, so we were locked out for a while. We would’ve done better otherwise.

“We love the TP regattas, it’s great having them all out there close racing on windward/leeward courses. It’s a great event and we really enjoy it. We’re lucky to have the sponsors, Pallas Capital and Zhik and our own sponsor, Fred Jewelry.”

At the end of the day, Matador’s David Doherty said, “We sailed pretty well. I’m happy with how it went, just the second race just wasn’t our race.”

On the fleet: “Pretty much the boats that were at the front last year are still there, the newer boats are still finding their feet,” he commented.

The Matador crew are a dominant force in the class at inshore regattas. Not even the mighty Ichi Ban could overcome her at this event or the Australian Yachting Championships last year.

“I enjoy the round buoys races, it’s my favourite way to sail – and as a class,” Doherty acknowledged.

Craig Neil, with his Class President’s cap on agreed: “It was a great day and good to finally get started. We had our brief this morning. The owners are all positive and it didn’t rain. It’s good to see some new faces on the circuit in Denali, First Light and Highly Sprung. There was 120 people sailing today, so that’s good for the class.”

As the owner of Quest, Neil shared, “It was a bit sloppy on the Circle, a little bit of swell, but it’s good to get out sailing again. We had a good tussle with Smuggler today. They beat us, but there’s always tomorrow…”

Under IRC, Matador came out on top on countback from Smuggler. Chris Townsend and Matt Donald’s Gweilo is third and just a point behind.

Act 1 concludes with more windward/leeward races tomorrow.

The the Pallas Capital TP52 Gold Cup series consists of 4 Acts. The final Act will determine the overall winner.

The overall winner and main prize is decided under TPR, a rating system created by Terry Wetton, the event founder and class captain. It ensures a fair playing field as it supports youth sailors (Under 25) and levels the professional field out with clicks added to the handicap.

Also scored under IRC, prizes will be awarded for first to third places in both handicap categories.

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Di Pearson/TP52 media

Credit for photos and video to Bow Caddy Media

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