SPORT —Boettcher happy with Audi Docklands Invitational day one result


January 21: NSW might have thrown the first punch in race one of the Audi Docklands Invitational but it was Geoff Boettcher’s South Australian Reichel Pugh 51 Secret Mens Business 3.5 that won the day with a second then a provisional win in race two, which has him leading the five race series.

“We really haven’t raced one-on-one with the TP52s since we replaced the hull,” said Boettcher this afternoon.

“It’s actually the first time we’ve really been able to test the boat since we re-launched in November.

“Being a bit shorter, we are always hanging off the 52’s transoms, which makes the tactics hard, however today we managed to find a couple of corners. As long as we can stay with TPs, our rating will get us over the line,” he said.

Australian match-racing champion, Michael Dunstan, is calling tactics while Boettcher is driving his own boat at the Audi Victoria Week event. The .5 in the boat’s name refers to the recent modifications Boettcher commissioned.

In a light sou’east breeze and under cloudy skies, which eventually gave way to sunshine, the two fleets, Grand Prix and Production, got away cleanly on Port Phillip Bay off Williamstown, Melbourne.

Michael Hiatt’s Farr 55 Living Doll and Rob Date’s Reichel Pugh 52 Scarlet Runner, both from Melbourne, took a gamble and tacked off in clear air to the right, leaving Bob Steel’s TP52 Quest, Alan Whiteley’s TP52 Cougar II and Secret Mens Business 3.5 to their own devices on the left-hand side of the first windward beat.

Those that went left came up trumps on the race one scoresheet, Steel’s NSW boat Quest scoring first points for the interstate entries with an overall win. The only other non-Victorian boat in the Grand Prix division, Secret Mens Business 3.5 took second on the results sheet with Hiatt’s Living Doll finishing off the top three. As the largest in the fleet, Living Doll also scored two bullets today.

Day one of the much anticipated battle of the high-performance 50-footers at Audi Victoria Week didn’t disappoint with just a minute-and-a-half separating six of the 11-strong Grand Prix division at the end of the first race.

In a slightly fresher sou’east sea breeze, race two got underway with Tony Fowler’s Rogers 46 Ocean Skins recalled for being over eager on the start line.

In the new Production division, Andrew Saies’ South Australian Beneteau First 40 Two True, helmed by Brett Young, continued its winning ways, the Rolex Sydney Hobart handicap winner taking two from two races.

With a third and a second on corrected time, Nicholas Bartels’ Victorian Sydney 47 Terra Firma is currently second on the series pointscore.

The final three races of the Audi Docklands Invitational will be sailed off Williamstown on Friday, with the first warning signal at 1225hrs.

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