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by Ian Grant on 17 Dec 2000
Royal Yacht Squadron's Swan 46 Aera completed an impressive Telstra Sydney-Hobart race trial off Sydney today when she won the final race of the IRC Telstra Cup championship.

The sloop skippered by owner Nicholas Lykiardopulo sailed the 15n/ml ocean passage race course in 2 hours 53 minutes 33 seconds and protected her handicap rating to register the fastest corrected time.

They finished three minutes clear of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Bull 9000 sloop Wild Bull (Rod Skellett) with the Queensland Mumm 30 Addiction (Stewart Lewis) another 2 minutes 5 seconds astern third.

Generally the light wind and lumpy sea conditions were not considered to be the best for the comfortable heavy displacement Swan class sloops however Aera the IRC class winner from the stormy 1998 Telstra Sydney - Hobart race and the Sydney Swan 48 Loki claimed a first and fourth in the multidesign fleet.

Loki, runner up in the Swan World Cup in Sardinia earlier this year clinched victory in the seven race championship finishing 2 points ahead of the New Zealand Maxi Shockwave (Neville Crichton) with another two points to Addiction.

Skipper Stephen Ainsworth and his Loki crew showed their Hobart race challenge was in good shape to consistently sail to their handicap rating in a mixed range of winds finishing the seven race series with a deserved result.

They won three of the seven races which contributed to the consistent score and control of the championship however the crew had to work hard in today's final taking 2 hours 35 minutes 46 seconds to complete the measured 15.17 n/ml event.

Shockwave retained her undefeated line honours record completing the ocean triangle course in 2 hours 7 minutes 45 seconds and a 9 minute 38 second advantage over the Sean Langman skippered open 60 Xena with Warren Johns Heaven Can Wait third.

But all three higher rated yachts failed to finish in the top four on corrected IRC handicap ratings.

Final Points (Provisional Subject to Protest). Loki (Stephen Ainsworth,NSW) 322pts 1, Shockwave (Neville Crichton,NZL) 320pts 2, Addiction (Stewart Lewis,Qld) 318pts 3, Heaven Can Wait (Warren Johns,NSW) 315pts 4, Wild Bull (Rod Skellett,NSW) 312.5pts 5, Sanctuary Two (Peter Taylor,NSW) 304.5pts 6.

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