Australia. Shannon Hart & Mustard Cutter crew record line & handicap double at Hogs Breath Café trophy race

Monday, 20 November 2006

Shannon Hart and his Mustard Cutter crew mastered a soft 6 knot northerly sea breeze to record a runaway line and handicap double in the Whitsunday Sailing Club Hogs Breath Café trophy race on Pioneer Bay last week.

Mustard Cutter a high performance Thompson 7 sports boat was unmatched for pace in the supreme light wind test winning line honours by a commanding 4 minutes 48 seconds and the more important corrected handicap prize by a wider 5 minute 1 second margin.

The combination of her hull design and sail power was perfectly suited for the prevailing winds but the crew still had to make the right tactical decisions for Mustard Cutter to maintain the required speed to outpace her .875 rating.

They quickly established control with Mustard Cutter failing to stall when sailing upwind against the short .5m wave which noticeably slowed the heavier displacement sloops including Rolex Sydney-Hobart entry the Damien Suckling helmed Another Fiasco.In the early stages of the race it became clearly evident that Mustard Cutter would win, but by how far. The pace challenge to beat the official clock was accepted by skipper Hart and crew when Mustard Cutter completed the race with the fast elapsed time of 55 minutes 36 seconds. Then it became a waiting game as the time ticked against their rivals as they struggled to maintain a competitive speed in the light wind.

Skipper Hart and crew had no real reason to be concerned as the lower handicapped Mandalay Moon (Jeff Brown) and Wobbly Boot (Craig Piccinelli) had some distance to sail when their individual winning chances fell behind the race clock.

However they still managed to fill the minor places with second proving important for the Mandalay Moon crew allowing them with their more consistent 5-2 score to become a 2 point leader in the series while Mustard Cutter 8-1 leads Wobbly Boot 6-3 on count back for second place.

The competitive nature of the point score suggests a tactical dog-fight will take place on Pioneer Bay this week when all three crews become involved to make a claim on being the BOSS HOG in the Hog’s Breath Café sponsored series.

Almost the same situation will apply when the joint leaders Lorna Rose Too and Breakaway continue their private match race for the Division 3 trophy.

Both crews have identical 1-2 scores with the critical combined corrected times favouring the Peter Mitchelson skippered Lorna Rose Too by the narrow margin of 22 seconds however Rob Davis and his Breakaway crew have proved in the past that they can win tough tactical races and this will be in their plan when the rigs a tensioned for the private match race on Pioneer Bay this week

Ian Grant.

Last Updated ( Monday, 20 November 2006 )