Brett Hawker-skippered Jessie James overcomes spinnaker disaster to notch win over three division two yachts

Des BeeckAlbany Advertiser
Jessie James begins the chase. INSET: Jessie James rips its spinnaker in half.
Camera IconJessie James begins the chase. INSET: Jessie James rips its spinnaker in half. Credit: Des Beeck

Heat two of the six-race winter series was held last Saturday in ideal sunny weather, with an unseasonal easterly piping in at a constant two knots and the odd gust every now and then to keep skippers and crews on their toes, especially on spinnaker runs.

It gets a bit hairy when boats get knocked down under spinnaker and Neil Worrell skippering Zuri, which won heat one, can testify to that.

Three division two yachts began began the flying start harbour course race with a lone division one yacht, Jessie James, skippered by Brett Hawker giving them a 30-minute start.

Stephen Lee won the start with Flasheart and opened up a handy lead from Stephen Brown’s Mary Maitland with two new crew and Neil Worrell’s Zuri.

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All three were sailing well and weren’t too concerned about Jessie James, which hadn’t even started.

Flasheart wins the start easily.
Camera IconFlasheart wins the start easily. Credit: Des Beeck

Lee was doing extremely well and sailing faultlessly.

Brown soon got into the swing of things and put pressure on Lee.

Worrell was staying in touch when Hawker began the challenge of catching the three smaller boats.

He gradually began to bridge the gap on each leg when disaster struck.

A nasty gust not only knocked them down but ripped the huge spinnaker straight down the middle and rendered it useless.

He didn’t give up and persevered without a spinnaker for the remainder of the race but had done enough to win the race on corrected time by just over a minute from Flasheart.

So close was the handicapping that Mary Maitland was a mere second behind Flasheart.

Worrell too wasn’t far off the pace, being two minutes behind Brown.

Flasheart was the best and quickest of division two in a masterly effort.

Heat three of the series will be sailed this Saturday, with a 1.30pm start for division two and a 2pm start for division one.

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