5.5 Metre Scandinavian Gold Cup, wins for Australia and Britain
The 2022 5.5 Metre Scandinavian Gold Cup began on Monday at Hankø, Norway, with race wins for Ku-Ring-Gai 3 (AUS 66, John Bacon, Terry Wetton, James Mayjor) and Jean Genie (GBR 42, Elliot Hanson, Andrew Palfrey, Sam Haines). In a first to three wins format, only race wins count.
The day began grey with light, shifty winds, with the first race sailed in 6-8 knots. However, during the day the wind gradually strengthened to peak at about 15-18 knots during the second race. However the rain held off during racing, while bucketing down before leaving the dock and after returning. Forecasts indicate that sunshine will return to Hankø for the coming days.
Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli Sæther) have held the cup since 2018 and got off to a good start, building a comfortable lead in the first race, though Ku-Ring-Gai 3 was pushing hard and closed up on several occasions. However, a rare mistake from Nergaard on the finish line let the Australians take the first race by less than a boat length.
The wind had started to build as the second race started, with Artemis forcing Jean Genie out of the start. They restarted, but were last with a lot of work to do. However, as the wind and the chop increased, they worked their way through the fleet, rounding the top in fourth, and then took the lead on the second upwind as the new Dave Hollom design came into its own and powered through the fleet. They led round the next lap to take the win.
John Bacon summed up his day, "It was a great day. We came here, our first event in a modern and honestly we were very happy to quality for Australia in the Gold Cup and really we didn't expect to have a win in the first race, as we know how brutal it is.
"It was very light this morning and we were set up for it and got a good start and fought it out with Kristian all the way around the course. He was in front of us pretty much all the way and we snuck in for a win at the end here.
"In the second race there was a lot more wind and we weren't quite prepared for that today. We got a fourth. We were first round the top mark after the first beat but we let a couple of boats through.
"But I couldn't be more happy to get a win in the Gold Cup, and here in Hankø is unbelievable."
On board Peter Morton's Jean Genie it was Elliot Hanson's first day of 5.5 Metre racing after standing in as helm at the last moment.
"We had a difficult start in the second race but didn't make many mistakes from there on. It's no secret that 42 is going well when we have some wind, which is a testament to the work the guys behind the scene have done.
"The forecast tomorrow looks fresh so we can't wait to get back on the race course and learn more about the boat and team's potential."
Meanwhile in the Royal Kaag Classic Cup, Trial (FIN 4, Ville Harkke, Peter Flinkman, Petri Lindström) took the wins. Many of the other boats already here in Hankø ahead of next week's World Championship are taking part in the Grundig Hankø Race Week.