Day two of the Prince Phillip Cup was sailed in 18-20 kts of wind with gusts exceeding 22 kts from a more Southerly direction than yesterday at an approximate bearing of 185 degrees. The increase in wind strength made the waves on Port Phillip both short and steep, which made upwind helming most challenging, whilst allowing for superb surfing oportunities downwind under spinnaker. Such was the difficulty of maintaining one’s balance aboard the 62 racing Dragons that 5 sailors were actually washed overboard into the 19 degree temperature sunny waters off the picturesque Melbourne coast line !
But the racing was magnificent and the true cream of talent began to rise to the top of the fleet.. In the first race of the day (race 3), a general recall on a perfectly set 0.4 mile line, prompted the experienced Race Officer to implement the “Black Flag”. This immediately got every one’s attention and the race was soon re-started. GER 996 (Muller) made a near perfect start at the Committee boat and soon had the whole fleet in his mainsail window. But as the majority of the fleet continued on starboard tack, boats that started in the middle of the line seem to gain an advantage as they neared the lay-line from the left corner of the 2.5 mile first beat. Indeed it was last years Prince Phillip Cup holder Richard Lyn AUS 208 and Klaus Diederichs GBR 758 (current Edinburgh Cup Champion), who gained the most on the left and rounded the top mark 1st and 2nd respectively. Muller had to fight hard to maintain his 3rd place as the current European Champion Markus WieserUKR 7 started to show well in his new boat. With the ever bright colourful spinnakers soon set, those four boats kept the rest at bay to finish in the same order on the second run, as the Race Officer shortened course to allow for another race…………
The second race of the day (race 4), was started again after a general recall with a black flag. This time it was the Danish sailors turn to make a good clean start at the committee boat end of the line and both Joergen Schoenherr DEN 401 and Jens Christensen DEN 399 got a jump on the fleet and sailed all the way to the left hand lay-line before tacking and rounding the top mark 1st and 2nd respectively. Meanwhile Tommy Muller GER 996 again showed great speed to stay 3rd and prove why he is the one to beat next week when he attempts to regain his World Crown which he last won in Dublin in 2007.
Although both Lyn and Diederichs put pressure on Muller during the 3 long upwind legs, they had to eventually settle for 4th and 5th respectively, but both ended the day with two excellent results….. So the overall picture (without discard), has GER 996 leading on 10pts, DEN 401 second on 20pts and AUS 208 third on 22pts. But it’s still early days and with three races to go and the discard kicking in tomorrow the Championship Title is most certainly not yet decided. Lawrie Smith, Lars Hendricksen and Anatoly Loginov are all waiting in the wings for any of the top three boats to make a mistake……..
The Royal Brighton Yacht Club then put on an excellent Bar-B-Que and yet another “Happy Hour” for all the competitors and families to round off a most wonderful day of racing and socialising…. There will be quite a few sailors glad to get to their beds this evening (although they may not admit it!) with the odd ache and pain but, in true Dragon spirit, they will all be out there racing again tomorrow …………….
Higher, Faster, Longer………………. Stavros.