Newly crowned NSW champions Michael Coxon , Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas continued their excellent form when they brought Thurlow Fisher-City home a comfortable winner of the Syd Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy race on Sydney Harbour today.
The trio gave a near perfect performance in the 18-20 knot southerly wind to defeat Yandoo, guest skippered by Trevor Barnabas, and crewed by Andrew Hay and Gary Phillips .
While the pair staged an exciting duel throughout the race, the Thurlow Fisher-City team finished too strongly to take victory by 1m27s.
Third home was Thurlow Fisher-Bankstown, Bruce Savage , which finished a further 1m4s behind Yandoo.
The strong wind took a toll on the fleet with leading contenders Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) and Rag & Famish Hotel ( John Harris ) both forced out with gear damage.
With the 3-buoys handicap system in operation for today's race, the fleet was closely bunched for the first spinnaker run from Clarke Island to Obelisk Bay .
By the end of the run Rag & Famish Hotel (with her #1 rig) held the lead from Yandoo, appliancesonline ( John Winning Jr.), Thurlow Fisher-Bankstown, Thurlow Fisher-City and De'Longhi ( Simon Nearn ).
Yandoo's smaller #2 rig was an advantage on the work to the Rose Bay YA mark.
Rag & Famish Hotel and Yandoo went around the mark together but Yandoo was a clear leader as the fleet completed the first lap of the course.
Thurlow Fisher-City made her move on the following windward leg back to the 3-buoys Clarke Island mark where she gained a 15s break on the chasers.
Yandoo, Smeg ( Nick Press ) and Rag & Famish all went around together, followed by De'Longhi, Thurlow Fisher-Bankstown, Fisher & Paykel ( Andrew Cuddihy ) and appliancesonline.
Smeg and Yandoo crews each set spinnakers shortly after rounding this mark while Coxon and his crew decided to 2-sail reach before setting their spinnaker.
The move was a winner and from that point Thurlow Fisher-City was never really in danger of defeat despite the persistence of Yandoo whose crew pushed hard to the very end.
There will now be a break over the Christmas-New Year period before racing resumes with Race 1 of the Australian Championship on Sunday, 10 January.
– Frank Quealey