Bluewater winners

A second Overall win for URM Group and another Line Honours for Andoo Comanche in 2023 Flinders Islet Race.

Photography by Bow Caddy Media

25 September 2023


Anthony Johnston’s Reichel Pugh 72 URM Group has notched up its second Overall victory in the second race of the 2023/24 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, the 88 nautical mile Flinders Islet Race.

On corrected time, URM Group had a margin of over 20 minutes over Peter Wrigley and Andrew Kearnan’s TP52 KOA. Richard Harris’ Cookson 50 Sticky was third. These three boats also claimed Overall Division 1 podium.

After a slow start out the harbour, the three Division 1 boats made the most of the 7 to 10 knot breeze which swung through the SE to NE during the afternoon, to make the race an upwind contest for the round trip to the island just off Wollongong.

“It was a tricky race to keep the boat going in light easterly winds along the NSW coast,” said URM Group skipper Marcus Ashley-Jones following the race.


“On the leg south, our navigator, Alice balanced a stronger breeze off shore with sailing the most direct route closer to the coast.

“We managed to slip past Andoo Comanche off Bondi by finding more pressure and favourable angle further offshore. We rounded the island around 3pm and sailed back north a light E/NE breeze that built to 8 knots.

“This boat always enjoys the upwind conditions and the crew performed well in a number of critical sail changes on entry and exit to the harbour. The Flinders Islet Race is another check point in our build up towards the Rolex Sydney to Hobart,” said Ashley-Jones following the race.

Division 2 placegetters were Alex Seja and Felicty Nelson’s Sydney 36 Supernova, Sebastian Hultin’s Mumm 36 Georgia Express and the best placed of the two-handed entries, Chris O’Neil’s J/99 Blue Planet. For IRC Two-Handed, Blue Planet was followed by two other J/99s – Shane Connelly’s Rum Rebellion and Ian Smith’s Jupiter. In PHS, Geoff Hill’s Santa Cruz 72 Antipodes placed second to Sticky, with KOA in third.

There were two retirements from the race including Mistral and Calibre 12.

Line Honours was again won by John Winning Jr’s maxi Andoo Comanche, who powered home over the return in just over 9 hours to finish at 1901hrs for a comfortable victory over URM Group and KOA.

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