Targé provisional winner of Rolex Trophy - by one point

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Jennifer Crooks
  • 19 Dec 2004 18:00:00
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Targé, with Iain Murray at the wheel, has shown herself to be something of a lethal weapon, giving the bigger boats a lot of stick over the last four days.

After four days and eight races, just one point separated Sydney yachtsman Steven David’s 60-footer Targé and New Zealander Stewart Thwaites’ 98-footer Konica Minolta at the end of the prestigious Rolex Trophy off Sydney Heads today.

In perfect sailing weather,  a north-easterly seabreeze that freshened from 12 knots to 18 knots and kicked up a short wave chop that almost produced surfing condition,  Konica Minolta scored a runaway double of line and IRC handicap honours in the offshore races.

The Kiwi supermaxi’s performance enabled it to almost close the five-point margin held by Targé going into today’s races.  However, overall results are provisional because of hearings by the race committee into yesterday’s race seven when only nine boats finished within the time limit.

After discarding its worst race, Targé,  the Reichel/Pugh 60 which as Wild Oats was the champion yacht at the Admiral’s Cup,  finished with 377 points, just one point ahead of Konica Minolta on 376 points,  with the Nick Lykiardopulo’s UK-based Ker 55, Aera, placing third overall on 355 points, fourth going to Geoff Ross’s newly IRC-optimised Judel/Vrolijk 52, Yendys on 351 points.

It was a one horse race for line honours in the final two races with the Kiwi Konica Minolta able to stretch its sea legs without its closest rivals, Skandia and Wild Oats,  on the course. 

With America’s Cup yachtsman Gavin Brady on the helm for owner Stewart Thwaites, Konica Minolta enjoyed its biggest line honours win yet in the morning race seven of the series, with nine minutes separating the 98-footer from the Reichel/Pugh 60,  Targé.  In the afternoon race,  the Bakewell-White designed 98-footer won by a remarkable 16 minutes.

Targé, with Iain Murray at the wheel, has shown herself to be something of a lethal weapon, giving the bigger boats a lot of stick over the last four days and establishing herself as a real chance for Overall honours in the 60th anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Race which starts a week from today.

In race seven,  both Konica Minolta and Targé surfed to the finish line under spinnaker,  reaching speeds of 15.5 knots in the freshening northerly breeze.  The Kiwi boat sailed the 8 nautical mile windward/leeward leg in 58 minutes 50 seconds and finished almost nine minutes clear.

Third to finish race seven was George Snow’s Jutson 79 Brindabella, the crew enjoying its first top three finish in this regatta, followed by Dick Cawse’s Vanguard, which revelled in today’s sea breezes.

After the bangs and shouting at the start of Race 2 yesterday afternoon, the only close call in race seven today was when Fuzzy Logic and Nips N Tux’s  masts came close to touching as they approached the windmark mark.

IRC handicap results in race seven gave Konica Minolta the double of a line honours and handicap win over Targé, the second time she’s collected both, with the Ker 55 Aera skippered by Jez Fanstone, creeping into the top three for the first time and showing ominous signs for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Race eight, the final race of the Rolex Trophy began in a 17-19 knot nor nor’east breeze with Konica Minolta hitting the line at top speed and quickly breaking away from the pack.

Surprisingly, Targé had a mediocre start and compounded this by continuing to sail to the inshore side of course whereas most of the fleet sailed up the middle or to seaward.

At the leeward mark at the end of the first windward/leeward legs, Konica Minolta was way out  in front of Brindabella, with Vanguard and Targé about two minutes astern, rounding alternative leeward marks at the same time.

Konica Minolta continued to power away over the longer course to finish more than 17 minutes ahead of Aera,  followed by George Snow’s famous maxi Brindabella.

Fortunately, the hot westerly bringing temperatures in their high 30s to Sydney did not reach the course until after the final race finished, giving the fleet  continued ideal sailing conditions in a 15-18 knot nor’easter.

On corrected time in race eight, Konica Minolta won from Dick Cawse’s Lyons/Cawse 60,  Vanguard,  and Howard De Torres’ IMX 40, Nips N Tux.

Overall results in the PHS division are subject to protest but today’s race seven went to  George Snow’s Brindabella from the 36-year-old timber boat Ray White Koomooloo,  the former Sydney Hobart Race winner, now owned by Queenslander Don Freebairn.  Race eight under PHS went to Nips-N-Tux.

 

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