to a flying start...
In the last few months Todd Keeler and a consortium of partners have worked tirelessly developing Fishhead Island into a private getaway with bar, kitchen, flushing toilets, showers, hammocks and some Neptune tents were erected for excess crews to spend the night. All in all, making it a wonderful inclusion to the regatta, which Todd has been involved with since the beginning.
PRO Jerry Rollin established a perch on the Southern side of the island, in line with a beacon across the strait to finish the yachts. Alan Hodges Kaze 3 came storming through to set the inaugural record at 3hrs 52mins 58secs and secured the Racing Multihull class by a proverbial mile. Greg Goodall's RAW followed to claim second place with Graham Horn Corsair Dash Mk II Jaza Too getting the better of the other Corsair's in third place.
Although Jerry Chase Beneteau F 52.5 Baby Tonga is the biggest yacht in the Premier Cruising class, it was Mick Tilden's Beneteau 44.7 Fujin that claimed line and handicap honours. Stuart Birbeck Beneteau 47 The Black Rose slotted into third place.
The provisional placing's in the Cruising Multihull Class were overturned when a protest revealed that two boats had not rounded the harbour mark approaching the finish. That left Matt Lutter's Dean 440 Vectis in the box seat and John Smith's Fountain Pajot 46 Asha in second place. Relegating Kovlakov's Leopard 39 Nirvana 8 to third and defending champions Gary & Karen Matthews Lagoon 46 Katrianne in fourth.
As time ticked by, the 1800hrs time limit arrived and as Glen O'Grady Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 40 Windancer was the only Cruising Class yacht to finish, they were declared the winner. Ian Dunderdale Jeanneau 44 Vesper 7 had the misfortune of wrapping a line around the propeller and had to be towed, in the dark of the night, to the safety of the anchorage.
Off to Neptune Island
An early morning start from Fishhead Island saw the fleet away in fresh conditions but when they exited the islands the breeze faded, making the passage through the cauldron with 4 to 5 knot adverse current, a struggle. After the Selat Pengelap chicane by mid afternoon, the wind changed into a fast reaching angle, all the way down to Neptune Island. The faster boats made quick work from there on, but the smaller boats still in the cauldron looked unlikely to finish by the 1800 time limit.
Once again Alan Hodges Grainger 30 Kaze 3 led from the start and sailed away into the distance. Mick Tilden's Beneteau 44.7 Fujin established a healthy lead carrying a symmetric spinnaker in the light weather, as opposed to Jerry Chase Beneteau F 52.5 Baby Tonga asymmetric spinnaker and extended on every turning point. Greg Goodall's RAW reveled in the stronger pressure and kicked up some spray through the islands to the finish line. This time Xavier Glenard Dash 750 Kaze did the best of the smaller racing multihull's to finish in second place and Graham Horn Corsair Dash Mk II Jaza Too checked into third place.
Mick Tilden's Fujin continues to march away in the Premier Cruising class, leaving Jerry Chase's Baby Tonga to settle in second place. Stuart Birkbeck's Beneteau 47 The Black Rose finished only minutes before the cut of time to slot into third place.
After motoring hours were taken into consideration, the Russians on Leonid Kovlakov's Leopard 39 Nirvana 8 came out on top, in front of Matt Lutter's Dean 440 Vectis. John Smith's Fountain Pajot 46 Asha slotted into third place, leaving the defending champion Gary & Karen Matthews Lagoon 46 Katrianne lagging back in fourth place.
None of the Cruising Class yachts finished within the time limit.
RYA Yachtmaster Instructor George McCready has produced some navigational exercises for the Motor Yachts along the course. This has been received remarkably well and Robin Enlund's Alfa Nero has a slight points lead at this stage.
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