Tenacious Brown wins narrowly with Mary Maitland

Des BeeckAlbany Advertiser
Stephen Brown gets a good start aboard Mary Maitland, centre with dark sails, and is the surprise winner.
Camera IconStephen Brown gets a good start aboard Mary Maitland, centre with dark sails, and is the surprise winner. Credit: Des Beeck

Heat two of the winter series lived up to its name with a chilly easterly meaning sailors were well wrapped up last Saturday on the water.

The steady breeze of around 12 knots made for good times around the harbour course.

Division 3 skipper Rob Cridge was first away in the staggered start and even with a reduced handicap opted to go with only the mainsail on Noel Robins to give his rivals a fighting chance.

Division 2 had a fleet of six, which included the Flying Fifteens. Stephen Brown, with two regular crew missing, decided to go JAM (jib and main) with Mary Maitland and seemed to be staggering on downwind legs.

Noel Robins was battling upwind but was still in front.

The division 1 yachts then began their chase where Harold Keay in Shagabull and Geoff Oliver in Excitabull had a good old ding-dong before Keay pulled away using his biggest spinnaker.

Harold Keay's Shagabull leads Geoff Oliver's Excitabull to be fastest.
Camera IconHarold Keay's Shagabull leads Geoff Oliver's Excitabull to be fastest. Credit: Des Beeck

Cridge still led but the gap was narrowing as Simon Lucas in FForever Young and Stephen Lee in Flasheart were bearing down towards the finish.

Brown was well back but not one to admit defeat as he just kept going.

On the last leg from West End to the finish line, there were five yachts in Indian file trying to catch Noel Robins but Cridge held his nerve as FForever Young made a dramatic dash to the line.

Noel Robins crossed the line a minute ahead of Lucas but the big surprise at the announcements was that Brown had snatched victory over Noel Robins on corrected time by a mere 34 seconds.

Third place was taken by Lee’s Flasheart, which had been doing well throughout. Fastest time was recorded by Keay’s Shagabull in another fine effort.

Heat three will be held on Saturday, with a 1pm start for division 3.

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