Team Australia looks to have the edge over her Kiwi super-multi rival Team Vodafone Sailing as Hamilton Island Race Week draws to a close.
With just two short races remaining, the Australian Orma60 cannot be beaten for line honours, with four race wins to the Kiwis' one. But Simon Hull's Team Vodafone still have a slender one-point lead in the handicap stakes.
It's the first time the two trimarans have gone head-to-head in the showdown to find the fastest sailing yacht in the Southern Hemisphere. And it's been a close tussle.
In the 63-mile Classic Long Race, the two Orma60s were neck-and-neck for most of the distance, entering Dent Passage together. But Langman's crew out-manoeuvered the Kiwis in the final stages, to finish three boatlengths - and 21 seconds - ahead.
In yesterday's short round-the-islands race, Team Australia took the gun by five minutes. But an irreparable tear in the racing mainsail means the Australians will have to finish the regatta with their delivery main.
Simon Hull said the rivalry between the two trimarans exists, "but is no different to the rivalry between any other boat".
In the battle for the South Pacific Trophy, the Aussies once again have the upper-hand over defenders New Zealand, going into the penultimate day with a lead of 44 points to the Kiwis' 83.
New Zealand is represented by two TP52s, Jim Farmer and Chris Meads' Georgia and Chris Hornell's Kia Kaha, and their smaller Kiwi cousin, Connel McLaren's Ker 40, Ice Breaker. The Australian line-up are all IRC class A grand prix division yachts - Hooligan, the current defending Race Week champion, and TP52 Yendys and 50-footer Terra Firma.
Yendys, with Kiwi Gavin Brady at the helm, is leading the IRC Australian nationals from Shogun V.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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