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Quest is best at Skandia Geelong Week
Former CYCA Ocean Racer of the Year recipient and Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner, Bob Steel from Sydney, has taken out the grand prix division of the Audi Series at Skandia Geelong Week today.
Steel, a first timer at Skandia Geelong Week, recently purchased his newest boat named Quest, a TP52, the latest and most fashionable of yacht racing toys. Taking on two other TP52’s, along with a number of the top racing yachts from around the world, including Karl Kwok’s Hong Kong entry Beau Geste, loaded up with America’s Cup stars, Quest threatened from day 1.
Steel and his crew had an incredible week of sailing, winning five of seven races and finishing second in the other two. He was subsequently disqualified from his race 2 win after being involved in a protest. Quest beat nearest rivals and fellow TP52 owners, Cougar II, owned by Melbourne sailor Alan Whiteley, and Wot Yot, owned by Sydney businessman Graeme Wood, by nine points after the two finished on 17 points apiece.
Quest’s skipper/helmsman Jamie MacPhail commented this afternoon: “Our first race today was sailed in west-sou-west 15 knot winds. It flicked a little to the left, but otherwise it was quite consistent. We got a good start and got a break to lead the other TP’s around the top mark. Only Skandia (the 98 foot super-maxi) was in front of us. We went on to win that race from there.”
MacPhail went on to describe the final race – race 7: “The wind shifted a good 35 degrees left about 10 seconds before the start gun went. We sailed around two nautical miles on starboard tack and the rest of the first work on port.
“The committee changed the course at the bottom mark, so the second and third beats and runs were more true. We got to the top mark the second time behind Skandia and managed to keep the others at bay.
“The crew did a really good job and the boat was well prepared. Bob will take home a nice trophy and everyone is happy,” MacPhail said.
Wot Yot tripped up today and lost their second overall standing to Alan Whiteley’s Cougar II to finish the Audi Series third overall. Tactician Sean Kirkjian said: “We were very happy with our first race of the day – it was a normal shifty day. We got off the line well and led Quest to the first mark, then they got us.
“Because of the windshift at the start of the final race, we reached back and forwards to the first mark and fell behind. I tried everything I could to get us back into the race, but everything I suggested backfired – it’s like Blackjack when you keep calling red and it comes up black!”
Beau Geste finished fourth overall, six points behind Cougar II and Wot Yot, with Melbourne boat, Living Doll, a Cookson 50 owned and skippered by Michael Hiatt fifth in the 27-boat fleet.
Philosophic win in Division 2
Well known Sydney skiff sailor Peter Sorensen from Sydney consolidated his already solid score with a win in the final race of the seven-race Audi Series to win the Division 2 prize at Skandia Geelong Week.
Sorensen, who’s Sydney 36 Philosophers Club crew included 18ft skiff champions Chris ‘Rissole’ Cleary and Tony Hannan won three races, finished second in two others and only had one oops – an 11th in the 34.3 nautical mile Passage Race from Williamstown to Geelong.
“The Passage Race was not one of our finest moments but the boat is not built for downwind sailing,” Sorensen said. “We prayed for breeze on the final day – and we got it – perfect for us,” he said.
Sorensen successfully fought off challenges from early leader As Good As It Gets, Dick Fidock’s Beneteau 40.7 from South Australia and Patrice Six, an X-Yacht owned by Sydney sailor Tony Kirby. Phil Simpfendorfer’s Elliott 11 Veloce (Vic) and Robert Hick’s self-designed Hick 30 Toecutter 2, rounded out the top five.
Division 3 sabotaged by Aliens
Mike and Mark Welsh have sailed their Lidgard 36 Alien to a win in Division 3 of the Audi Series today.
The brothers from Sandringham Yacht Club came up trumps winning six of the seven race series – the rest did not have a chance!
Brad Skeggs’ Beneteau 34.7 Palandri Mind’s Eye came off second best, 10 points adrift of the winner, with Bruce McCraken’s Beneteau 36.7 third, a further three points behind.
Although they looked set for the podium early on, John Lindholm’s Dr Unc had to settle for fourth place overall, only one point outside the money, while Gordon Mather’s Revenge, a Carter 33 seen many times at Skandia Geelong Week, and a podium placer in previous years finished fifth overall.
For all information, go to: www.geelongweek.com
Di Pearson/Skandia media