Several mishaps that marred the 148-mile finale in this series to decide Pacific Rim bragging rights have given the event an anticlimactic aspect by indirectly keeping the results of that race (and thus the series outcome) in limbo until later today. Though all the boats have now finished the Molokai Race, two entries have filed for time allowances after standing by to assist a fellow competitor in distress, and their cases wont be resolved until after the international jury convenes this morning.
In winds that occasionally exceeded 24 knots, and seas of 10 feet, Scooter Simmons Sydney 41 Cha-Ching lost the top portion of its mast sometime Monday night in the Molokai Channel. Fellow racers Hideo Matsudas Farr 45 Big Apple III and Simon Whitsons Beneteau 40.7 Smile stood by for assistance, thus falling behind in the race. Simmons and his crew were eventually able to control the situation and proceed home under their own power, and both Big Apple III and Smile resumed racing, but well back in the fleet.
In a separate incident, a crew member aboard the Japanese Farr 40 Foundation, fell off the boat early in the race, but fortunately was retrieved by a camera boat that was following the fleet. Foundation thereafter withdrew from the race.
On Tuesday, the big Sydney 60 Bumblebee V
surfed across the finish line to capture line honors, but she wasnt far enough ahead on corrected time and the overall race win went to Makoto Uematsus Farr 50 Esmeralda,
which crossed the line second. The third boat to finish was the Australian teams big boat Yendys
, a Farr 49 owned by Geoffrey Ross. As Yendys
surfed across the finish line, hard on her transom came the flying pair of New Zealand entries Naohiko Seras Farr 47 Sea Hawk
and Mick Cooksons Farr 47 Air NZ High 5
. Both these boats corrected into second and third place, respectively, giving New Zealand a strong chance to win the series. As more boats crossed the line, the two Farr 47s maintained their corrected-time finishes, but Yendys
was pushed further back, all the way to eighth place.
As of Wednesday morning, New Zealand owns a 24-point lead over Australia (491 to 467). The only thing that could alter that is the outcome of the two petitions for time allowances. Though race pundits feel that its unlikely the Australian boats will earn enough points via their redress, the situation remains in limbo. Stand by for an update on SailNet, or check out the events website for further details: www.kenwoodcup.com.