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Ultra 30 - Portsmouth Grand Prix Overall

by Sue Warden-Owen 4 Jul 1999 19:25 BST


Shifting wind conditions with a breeze of 5-6 knots and flat water set the scene for the second day of the Hoya Vision Care Ultra 30 Grand Prix Regatta off Southsea seafront today. This was in stark contrast to the challenging and difficult weather which cut short Saturday’s racing by one race, resulting in 4 races being held today.

With an almost slack tide, the third race of the Portsmouth Regatta saw a 4/2 split of the fleet at the start with Team Hoya and DBS opting for the port side and Team Gul, Team David McLean, United Airlines and Star Alliance taking the more favoured starboard side. Kevin Sproul, skipper of Star Alliance, was first round the windward mark closely followed by Team Gul and United Airlines. The fleet maintained this order at the leeward mark and although the skippers employed varying tactics, the six boat positions remained the same.

As the fleet came down the beat for the last time to the finishing line, Team Gul crossed first ahead of Team David McLean followed by Star Alliance in third and United Airlines in fourth. Following a close battle, DBS employing some clever tactical work, just pipped Team Hoya’s Eddie Warden Owen to cross the finish line in fifth.

An increased wind speed for the fourth race made for more interesting sailing with all six boats clean away across the start line on the starboard tack. Team David McLean tacked away early to port followed by DBS and Star Alliance, with Team Hoya in close contention. The race was close around the windward mark with Jim Hunt’s Team Gul round first followed by Team Hoya. The breeze increased as the fleet returned, tightly packed, to the leeward mark with Team Gul rounding in first place, United Airlines second, Team Hoya third and Star Alliance close behind. Tactics were the key to this race with great talent out on the water, in particular Ben Ainslie, the UK leading Laser sailor and Olympic silver medallist aboard Team Hoya.

The fleet positions constantly shifted until defending Champion Russell Peters pulled off a masterstroke aboard DBS on one of the downwind legs, engaging superb sailing tactics and suddenly pulling ahead to create a massive lead taking her from last position earlier in the race to first. Team Gul, meanwhile reversed her position from joint second place, dropping back to last. As the fleet raced down to the line for the last time, DBS powered across in first position, followed by Team Hoya who had a greatly improved race with United Airlines third.

Race five, so far the best race of the day with the breeze constant and stable, saw Team Hoya off to a good start however by the time the fleet had reached the first windward mark, Rob Greenhalgh on Team David McLean was first round followed by ‘new boy’ Jim Hunt on Team Gul, then Star Alliance. Team Hoya had problems with her halliard on rounding the leeward mark for the first time and lost much ground taking her into fifth position behind DBS in fourth and United Airlines bringing up the rear in sixth place. The only change in positions for the remainder of the race saw Team Gul drop a place to third as Star Alliance moved into second with Team David McLean maintaining her lead throughout.

The sixth and final race saw three of the boats over the line at the start; United Airlines, Team David McLean and Team Gull which all took penalites. Aside from this the fleet positions were maintained throughout. Although Star Alliance held a good position on the first leg, DBS rounded the first windward mark first ahead of her and from then on, flawless crew work and excellent tactics saw her increase her lead unassailably. Star Alliance followed in second place with Team David McLean in third and Team Hoya fourth. The final regatta of the Series to be held in Guernsey on September 3-5th will determine if Russell Peters successfully defends his championship position but, of course, there is still a way to go.

  BOAT              SKIPPER          R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts   
1 DBS               Russell Peters    5  1  4  1  29
2 STAR ALLIANCE     Kevin Sproul      3  5  2  2  25
3 TEAM DAVID McLEAN Rob Greenhalgh    2  4  1  3  24 
4 TEAM HOYA         Eddie Warden Owen 6  2  5  4  17
5 TEAM GUL          Jim Hunt          1  6  3  6  16
6 UNITED AIRLINES   Mark Rushall      4  3  5  6  14


1st  DBS                12pts
2nd  TEAM DAVID McLEAN   9pts
3rd  STAR ALLIANCE       7pts
4th  TEAM HOYA           7pts
5th  TEAM GUL            5pts
6th  UNITED AIRLINES     2pts

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