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Leading boats in Rolex Trophy start line collisions

TARGE, winner of race 5 SKANDIA, Grant Wharington ICHI BAN, Matthew Allen
Courtesy of Daniel Forster / Rolex Courtesy of Daniel Forster / Rolex Courtesy of Daniel Forster / Rolex
Rolex Trophy - Leading boats in Rolex Trophy start line collisions
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(18-12-2004) Two prominent contenders for the Rolex Trophy, Targé and Skandia, along with Andrew Short Marine, were involved in a crunching collision at the start of this afternoon’s race six of the rating series off Sydney.

While observers described the incident as “crash and bang”, none of the boats appeared to suffer serious hull damage, apart from bent rail stanchions and chipped paint.

Targé is reported to have suffered some damage to her rig but is expected to race tomorrow. The mast will be removed for repairs after the Rolex Trophy ends.

Targé is in second place in the overall pointscore while Skandia is looking to regain its status as the fastest super maxi in Australia. The New Zealand super maxi Konica Minolta has so far beaten her 5-1 in the Rolex Trophy.

A video of the incident shows Targé’s bowsprint crashing into the pushpit at the stern of Andrew Short Marine, which had virtually stalled just below the Committee Boat after being allegedly hit by Skandia, which was to leeward.

After clearing Andrew Short Marine, Targé then collided with Skandia, their two rigs locking briefly, while Andrew Short Marine had to return and restart after being called as a premature starter. Despite the upsetting start, which included taking a penalty turn, the crew of Targé recovered quickly and the boat was still able to finish second on corrected time behind Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats and ahead of Konica Minolta and Skandia.

However, only 10 boats finished the long course for race six within the time limit and as a result, several skippers have lodged requests for redress.

In the PHS division, Geoff Ross’ newly IRC optimized Yendys scored its first win since returning from New Zealand, winning the division from the British yacht Aera, skippered by Jez Fanstone. Third place went to Dick Cawse’s Vanguard. In the early race, the PHS division went to Targé from Ginger (Leslie Green) and the German entry Vineta (Felix Scheder-Bieschin).

In this morning’s race five, former America’s Cup skipper Iain Murray almost clinched a line and handicap double at the helm of Steven David’s Reichel/Pugh 60, Targé, as the supermaxis floundered in the light winds.

Sailing in only 4-5 knots of seabreeze, Targé led the fleet for most of the shortened windward/leeward course and won her second race of the series on corrected time.

New Zealand 98-footer Konica Minolta, skippered by Stewart Thwaites, only overtook Targé on the downwind spinnaker run to the finish of the shortened course when her much longer waterline began to take effect.

Provisional IRC results placed Targé first on corrected time from Leslie Green’s Swan 45 Ginger and Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban, followed by the two Farr 40 One Design yachts, Lang Walker’s Kokomo and American Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad. The two Farr 40s are contesting the Rolex Trophy as part of their familiarization of the waters off Sydney Heads where the CYCA will contest the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds next March.

In race six, sailed over a longer course in a freshening 10-12 knot nor’easter, Konica Minolta, with Gavin Brady at the helm, again had an excellent start clear of the melee.

At the windward mark for the first time, Konica Minolta was about 30 seconds clear of Skandia but as they hoisted the spinnaker, the huge sail went under the bow and ripped as the crew struggled to pull it back aboard.

“This was the spinnaker we ripped in race two and we had spent 27 man hours repairing it only to see it ripped again,” boat manager Rodney Keenan explained ruefully. “We had another kite up within a minute but it was the wrong sail for the conditions.”

Skandia took the lead during the Kiwi’s boat’s sail problems, but Konica Minolta eventually overtook her and sailed away to her fifth line honours win the Rolex Trophy and, according to King, the score in the Kiwi boat’s favour is 10-7 since their first encounter in the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart. Rolex Trophy, provisional pointscore after six races (subject to protest):

IRC division:
Wild Oats, Reichel/Pugh 66 (Bob Oatley, AUS) 1-1-2-2-7-1, 276 points
Targé, Reichel/Pugh (Steven David, AUS) 3-11-1-4-1-2, 271 points
Konica Minolta, Bakewell-White 98 (Stewart Thwaites, NZL) 2-3-16-1-8-3, 264 points
Skandia, Jones 98 (Grant Wharington, AUS) 4-2-17-3-15-4, 252 points
Aera (Nick Lykiardopulo, UK) 6-4-8-5-21-6, 251 points
Yendys, Judel/Vrolijk 52, AUS) 5-7-4-9-10-5, 250 points.

PHS Division:
Ichi Ban, Farr 52 (Matt Allen, AUS) 6-2-15-16-5-5, 247points
Terra Firma, Murray 41 (Nicholas Bartels/Martin Vaughan, AUS) 18-5-6-5-7-10, 247 points
3. Courtesan, Farr 38 (Philip Childs, AUS) 10-11-3-3-8-10, 246 points

Source: Peter Campbell

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