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CYCA Port Hacking Race: About Time makes comback

About Time is back in the winners seat.

About Time is back in the winners seat.

Julian Farren-Price skippered his Cookson 12, About Time, to an overall win in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Port Hacking Race today, holding off a challenge from last year’s winner, Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup yachtsman, David Forbes, at the helm of his Kaiko 52 Merlin.

The Sydney jeweler also kept third placed Crowded Haus, a Beneteau First 35 owned by Graeme Neuhaus, at bay – just 12 minutes separated the three on corrected time. Jim Cooney’s Jutson 80, Brindabella was fastest today, finishing the race at 14:21:08, ahead of competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in December.

Winning the race has rocketed About Time up to seventh place in the Ocean Pointscore Series (OPS), which it has as won for the past three years successively. This season has not gone to plan; in a drama filled Race 1, a large proportion of the fleet, including About Time, raced to a wrong mark and later retired after protests were filed against them. Farren-Price was overseas at the time, but had made a similar mistake himself last year, when he sailed to the wrong mark on a fog-affected course.

He has some hard work to do to move back up onto the podium, but Farren-Price and his boat are up to the task. “I have to be like the Oracle team in the America’s Cup and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat,” Farren Price said laughing early tonight. “And like the Americans, I need seven more days like today.”

 

Brindabella was fastest around the course.

Brindabella was fastest around the course.

 

The race started off Point Piper at 10.00am this morning. At 9.45am, the CYCA’s principal race officer, Denis Thompson said from the start boat, “We’re sitting in 1 knot of wind. I hope it gets better in a hurry.”

Farren-Price said: “It was pretty glum sailing out to the start. I thought we’d be stuck in the Harbour for two hours, but with about four minutes to go, a little westerly came in at around 8 knots.”

He and the rest of the fleet were not to know things would get worse before they improved again. Halfway down the Harbour, the breeze petered out again near the Cookson 12, so it and others were left behind.

“We ran into the parking lot – then picked up breeze – and then it happened again at South Head,” Farren-Price said.

However, from that point, the yachts settled into a nice 10 knot nor’ easter which provided a nice kite run to Botany Bay where the breeze swung to the south-east at an average of 16 knots. Once the boats were around the mark at Port Hacking, the Code Zeros and asymmetrical spinnakers popped and all enjoyed a nice run to the Heads.

“It was a perfect day’s sail; the best breeze we had all day was inside the Harbour sailing to the finish in 16 to 18 knots,” About Time’s skipper acknowledged.

Along with Warwick Sherman’s Ker Gts43 Occasional Coarse Language 2 and Grant Dawson/Brent Lawson’s Ker 11.3, Kerisma, About Time made the best of the day, staying out from the coast, although OCL2 paid the cost when the crew had one of those days where things just don’t go right.

“As usual, we watched Warwick like a hawk, but he had issues. We were lucky we stayed out, some boats went into South Head and found themselves in a nasty breeze that cost them a lot,” Farren-Price said.

The Port Hacking Race was the third in the OPS series which finishes on 15 March with the Lion Island Race. The next event in the series is Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship to be held from 30 November to 1 December.

For full race results and provisional Ocean Pointscore Series standings log on to: www.cyca.com.au/sysfile/downloads/2013-14summer/13_OPS/series.htm

By Di Pearson, CYCA Media