KIWIS CLOSE GAP TO JUST ONE POINT
Jury Will Hold Outcome In Balance
HONOLULU, HI AUGUST 7, 1998 Official Kenwood Cup Release: A photo-finish, a tantalising gap and an ANZAC protest marked an all-action climax to the 148-mile Molokai Race here today, the fifth heat of the 1998 Kenwood Hawa| International Offshore Series and the mid-way point of the regatta. With two boats in the top three in the team competition, New Zealand moved to within just one point of Australia in the Kenwood Cup itself - leaving the Aussies with even that slender lead made more precarious by the threat of protest action when the International Jury meet tomorrow morning.
With the two largest boats in the fleet already home, the next bunch of five finished within just three minutes of each other. Two of them crossed the line off Diamond Head so close the timekeeper could not separate them: they were Chris Packer's Davidson 55, Starlight Express and the Illbruck Group's 1D48 illbruck-PINTA. But although PINTA was up with the 15-foot longer (and considerably older) Davidson design she was still not quite up enough with her more principal rival, G-Shock Nippon Challenge. The Japanese 1D48, training boat for the Nippon Challenge America's Cup syndicate and skippered by Peter Gilmour, was just three boat lengths and 15 seconds ahead.
As if all that were not enough, Starlight Express finished flying a protest flag, against Syd Fischer's 50-foot Farr design Ragamuffin. Going into the race Australia was narrowly leading New Zealand in the team competition part of the regatta. Ragamuffin is in the Australian team. Starlight Express is reserve boat for the New Zealand team. The protest, over an alleged foul by Ragamuffin on Starlight Express right on the start line of the 148-miler, is scheduled to be heard at 0930 local time tomorrow, Thursday 7th August. With place points in this middle distance multiplied by a factor of three when calculating series points, the protest's potential importance to the overall outcome of the 1998 Kenwood Cup has been lost on no one. Meanwhile, that same 'times three' points factor served to widen the gap between G-Shock and illbruck-PINTA: having lost her rudder on Day One of the regatta, the German entry had bounced back into contention with two blistering wins on Day Two, but really needed another win in this race to overcome the handicap of missing both opening races.
Yet the points gap belies the closeness of the racing. 15 seconds difference after 150 miles of racing represents a difference between the two boats of just one-tenth of a second per mile - or 0.002 of a knot of boatspeed. With Whitbread race winner Paul Cayard on board alongside regular skipper John Kostecki, PINTA lacked neither talent nor motivation - and neither did G-Shock. Throughout the 17-hour race the boats were rarely more than a 100 metres apart, and on the long downwind leg home were often as close as 3 boat lengths, gybing and counter-gybing past the spectacular sea cliffs of Molokai. It was all the very stuff of the Kenwood's legendary racing in paradise.
In the handicap divisions, Bob Steel's Nelson Marek 46 Quest (Australia) took both overall honors and Class A to be top team boat, but right behind her on corrected time were Hideo Matsuda's Big Apple |I (co-skipper Dean Barker) second overall and winning Class C, and Shizue Kanbe's Farr 41 G'Net (co-skipper Kenneth Davern), both racing in the New Zealand team. Best USA boat in the race was Walt Logan's Farr 40 Blue Chip (USA White), fourth, followed by Starlight Express (not a team boat) and then Karl Kwok's Farr 49 Beau Geste, with which skipper Gavin Brady leads the USA Red team. The remaining two Australian team boats, Ragamuffin and Raymond Roberts' Sydney 46 ABN Amro Challenge were seventh and eighth overall, sixth and seventh in the team contest Class D, for the smallest boats in the fleet, was won by Fumikazu Kasahara's Mumm 36 Santa Red.
The Kenwood crews take a lay-day tomorrow, when they take to the water in 8ft boats of their own making in the celebrated Plywood Cup. The event, traditionally held on the middle lay-day of the Hawa| regatta, is a charity fund-raiser which requires competitors (crew limited to two per boat) to row and sail round a rectangular course in a boat they have that morning made from just two sheets of plywood. It involves a lot of sawing, hammering, caulking, drilling and filling and - for many - swimming. Then it's back to the serious stuff with two days of solid windward/ leewards racing in the big boats over the weekend, culminating in the Champagne Mumm trophy on Sunday.
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Preliminary Molokai Finish Times (HST):
1 G-Shock 10:59:49 2 illbruck-PINTA 11:00:04 3 Abracadabra 11:01:20 4 America True 11:16:58 5 Windquest 11:31:17 6 Starlight Express DNF
Kenwood Cup 1D48 Preliminary Race Results:*
Team Race 1 Points Race 2 Points Race 3 Points Race 4 Points Race 5 Points Total Points G-Shock 4 6 5 5 18 (6*3) 38 illbruck-PINTA 1 1 6 6 15 (5*3) 29 Abracadabra 4 4 3 2 9 (3*3) 22 America True 2 2 2 3 12 (4*3) 21 Windquest 3 5 1 1 6 (2*3) 16 Starlight Express 1 3 4 4 0 (DNF) 15
*Includes on-course penalty points for race 1: G-Shock accepted a 20% penalty for violating rule 29.1 and Starlight accepted a 50% penalty for violating rule 29.1. PINTA withdrew from races 1 and 2 due to a broken rudder and America True withdrew from Race 2 also apparently due to equipment failure.
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