David Griffith’s JV62 Whisper set the early tone to open the 2021/22 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, winning fully-crewed overall and line honours in the Flinders Islet Race.
Jules Hall and Jan Scholten were the first ever two-handed overall winners in the race’s history, with Jules’ J99 Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth claiming the handicap win ahead of two-handed line honours winner Salt Shaker (Peter Franki and Drew Jones).
A fleet of 40 boats was on the start line in Sydney Harbour on Saturday 6 November, greeted by a clear sky and a 10-12 knot freshening breeze clocking NNE to NE.
Whisper was first out of the Heads and hit speeds of 16 knots to slowly pull clear of Matt Allen’s Botin 52 Ichi Ban and the chasing pack of TP52s.
She averaged 9.5 knots in varying conditions, crossing the line in a time of 9 hours, 28 minutes and 30 seconds.
Griffith is pleased to see the continued progress of his JV62.
“We had a wonderful run down the coast,” he said. “The boat is totally different to when I bought it a couple of years ago – new keel, longer bowsprit, all sorts of new sails and great people.
“I think we’ve transformed the boat from a point where, a couple of years ago, we couldn’t beat the TP52s to Flinders Islet, but this time we were in front of them and holding our own.
“With a lot of talented crew, we got home. It was a pretty good day all around.”
This was the second consecutive line honours win for Griffith and Whisper in the Flinders Islet Race, having edged out No Limit in a close battle in the 2019 edition (the 2020 race was cancelled due to COVID-19). Whisper also claimed ORCi honours.
Ichi Ban was second across the line and second overall, less than two minutes away on corrected time from backing up her 2019 overall win.
The six TP52s closely followed in the fully-crewed IRC standings, with David Doherty’s Matador third ahead of Matt Donald/Chris Townsend’s Gweilo (the 2020/21 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore champion), Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen, Seb Bohm’s Smuggler, Sam Haynes’ Celestial and Craig Neil’s Quest.
Seb Bohm, owner/skipper of Smuggler said: “It was great to be out there again. The boat was very well prepared.
“We had a great downwind run, then it was a bit of a bash back, but we kept up with the big boys.
“We’re very pleased with the result, we loved being out there again.”
Rob Aldis’ DK46 Khaleesi, Mark Griffith’s DK46 Old School Racing and Mark Spring’s Beneteau 45 Highly Sprung were the nearest fully-crewed challengers on IRC. Highly Sprung claimed PHS honours.
After more than 17 hours of racing, the battle for line honours in the Two-Handed Division came down to just two minutes.
It was 0303hrs when Salt Shaker crossed the line, with Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth just over two minutes behind.
Disko Trooper stayed close enough to claim the overall win on IRC, ahead of another J99, Rum Rebellion (Shane Connelly and Graeme Dunlop).
Peter Franki, owner/skipper of Salt Shaker, was pleased to be part of a competitive race.
“We got a pretty good start, we got out of the Harbour ok,” he said.
“Disko Trooper was in front of us at that stage and they were our main challenger, but we had a lovely sail down to Flinders Islet.
“It was a nice sail back up in varied conditions – the maximum wind speed we had was around 25 knots and it was mostly NNE.
“It was quite a scenic trip up the coast. We came right in close to Port Hacking at night, then short tacking up the coast between Port Hacking and Sydney was quite tiring.
“We were tacking every six or seven minutes, I guess. We made a couple of big gains and a couple of big losses.
“But I had a great co-pilot, Drew Jones, and the competition was keen but very friendly. It’s great to see so many people embracing this new dimension to sailing.”
The Bird Island Race on Saturday 13 November will be the second race of the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.
For the full results, see: https://bwps.cycaracing.com/Standings?categoryId=744&raceId=153&seriesId=11