January 6, 2020
At the International 5.5 Metre Class Cups events in Newport, Australia, preceding next week’s world championship, Ku-Ring-Gai (AUS62, John Bacon, Terry Wetton, James Mayjor) continue to run away with the Hanko Evolution Cup, while Carabella (ITA 73, Alfredo Delli, Gianluca Marolli, Claudio Mazzanti) has taken over the lead of the Royal Kaag Classic Cup. The Alfred’s Gold Cup also started on Monday, with Ali Baba (BAH 23, Craig Symonette, Flavio Marrazi, Will Alloway) winning both races.
After the Scandinavian Gold Cup concluded on Sunday, these three events are great warm up regattas ahead of the World Championship, which begins on Thursday. While the Hanko Evolution Cup and the Royal Kaag Classic Cup are highly sought after Class Cups, the Royal Prince Prince Alfred International 5.5 Metre World Championship Jug has been deeded to the class this year by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and is being raced for for the first time.
On Monday, the conditions on the Palm Beach Circle were in complete contrast to the past two days with light onshore winds, a very bumpy and confused sea and low grey cloud. The day even started and ended with a thunderstorm with some very light rain, enough to bring a coating of wet ash in the morning, but not really as much as is desperately needed.
Everyone's thoughts are with those struggling through the crisis and fighting the fires which have devastated much of NSW, Victoria and Queensland and are still burning. 136 fires burn across NSW with 69 uncontained. Though Sydney itself has not directly had any fires the effects of the fires are felt daily in air quality and the daily red sun breaking through the smoke filled skies. To follow current alerts see here.
Despite promising more, the wind never exceeded around 10 knots and was otften in the 5-6 knot range with very lumpy seas adding to the discomfort. The tempertres had also dropped to te low 20s. The left side seemed generally favoured with some big moves through the fleets in the tricky and unstable conditions, but accrate steering through the chop paid dividends.
Though they did not dominate the second day of racing in the Hanko Evolution Cup Ku-Ring-Gai was still the fastest boat around the course taking two more race wins to maintain a perfect score. Rhapsody (AUS 35, Thomas Spithill, Chris Links, Heath Walters) made them work for it, especially in the first race when they rounded the top mark with a nice lead. Spithill was standing in for an injured Chris Hancock as skipper, who hopes to return for the worlds.
In the Royal Kaag Classic Cup, nine-time Cup winner Carabella, won both races, also coming from behind to take the overall lead. Baragoola (AUS 26, Jason Antill, Damian Macey, Larry Eastwood) could only manage two third places folowing mast problems after winning the two opening races on Sunday in the stronger winds.
Craig Symonette has teamed up with six-time world champion, Flavio Marrazi, on board Ali Baba, and the experience clearly showed with two race wins, one by a minute and the next by two minutes. Home team Ku-Ring-Gai II (AUS 60, Matt Crawford, Rob Crawford, Matt Visser) posted a 2,5 while second best boat in the Scandinavian Gold Cup, Beta Crucis (AUS 63, Martin Cross, Bob Stoddard, Martin Bunch) posted a 3,4.
The Hanko Evolution Cup, the Royal Kaag Classic Cup and the Alfred’s Gold Cup conclude on Tuesday with two more races scheduled. The World Championship begins on Thursday.
Hanko Evolution Cup (after 4 races)
1 Ku-Ring-Gai (AUS62, John Bacon, Terry Wetton, James Mayjor) 4
2 Black Magic (AUS 64, Andy Macphail) 15
3 Skagerak (AUS 32, Steve Brajkovich, Phil Smidmore, Tim Ellis) 18
Royal Kaag Classic Cup (after 4 races)
1 Carabella (ITA 73, Alfredo Delli, Gianluca Marolli, Claudio Mazzanti) 6
2 Baragoola (AUS 26, Jason Antill, Damian Macey, Larry Eastwood) 8
3 Kings Cross (AUS 24, Scott O'Connor) 11
Alfred’s Gold Cup (after 2 races)
1 Ali Baba (BAH 23, Craig Symonette, Flavio Marrazi, Will Alloway) 2
2 Ku-Ring-Gai II (AUS 60, Matt Crawford, Rob Crawford, Matt Visser) 7
3 Beta Crucis (AUS 63, Martin Cross, Bob Stoddard, Martin Bunch) 7