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Shockwave wins Sydney to Wollongong Race overnight

by Lisa Ratcliff on 17 Feb 2001
Shockwave takes line honours in
Sydney to Wollongong Race

As dawn broke this morning, Wollongong Harbour came alive as the crews from the fleet of 43 yachts that competed in last night's Sydney to Wollongong Race began early celebrations.

Meanwhile the line honours winner Shockwave, was arriving back in Sydney for breakfast at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

Sydney-based New Zealand businessman Neville Crichton and his crew crossed the finish line off Flagstaff Hill at 1.04am, just under one hour outside the race record, before doing a U turn and heading for home.

Having taken line honours in this race for the past three years, George Snow's Brindabella was finally knocked off its perch by the 80-foot hi-tech carbon maxi Shockwave, which finished 30 minutes ahead of the 76-footer.

'We broke a fitting which slowed us down getting out of the harbour but once we cleared the Heads, we were confident we could stay in front,' said Crichton this morning from the CYCA.

'It came down to tactics and a lot of luck,' said Brindabella's mainsheet hand Geoff Cropley. 'We were looking famous at one stage but once the breeze swung around to the east it became a reaching race and Shockwave just extended their lead.'

'Shockwave is a seriously fast boat so we have to be happy with our performance, especially as we were still side by side at least two hours into the race,' he added.

Wollongong couple Geoff and Pip Lavis were fourth over the line behind Xena (Sean Langman) with their Inglis 50 Wild Thing, but were happy to claim the title of first into Wollongong Harbour while the maxis either headed back to Sydney or to a deeper anchorage at Port Kembla.

Conditions overnight were variable with winds swinging from the east to the southwest before settling in from the south. Seas were lumpy while wind holes pocketed the coastline, catching out many of the fleet and making for some exciting racing.

Shockwave has also taken out triple handicap honours in the prestigious CYCA Bluewater Championship Series, winning the IMS, IRC and PHS divisions, followed by Vanguard and Brindabella in the IMS Overall division.

South Australian yachtsman Kevan Pearce, owner of the overall winner of the 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Race, SAP Ausmaid, is currently sitting in first place in the IMS Bluewater Pointscore, but chose to drop the Sydney to Wollongong Race from the eight-race series, in order to compete in the 51st Adelaide to Port Lincoln Race.

This has given the second placed Brindabella the opportunity to pick up valuable points towards its quest to be named the 2000-2001 IMS Bluewater Champion for the first time.

In the Ocean Pointscore Series, the 1999 handicap winner Vanguard (Dick Cawse) has once again taken top prize in the IMS and IRC divisions while Icefire (Terry Mullens) has placed first in PHS Division.

At 9.00am this morning, there was still one yacht at sea, Selwyn Enoch's Tenacious, which is due to finish shortly.

The annual Sea Food & Sail Festival will kick off today with gourmet food and wine tasting, accompanied by jazz bands. The trophy presentation for the Sydney to Wollongong Race will be held tonight in a marquee at Belmore Basin at 7.00pm.

The return race to Sydney will begin at 10.00am tomorrow, Sunday February 18, off Wollongong's Flagstaff Hill.

For further information, please contact Lisa Ratcliff on 0418 428 511.

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