Jules Hall and Jan Scholten are the first two-handed overall winners of the Flinders Islet Race.
The pair made their Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore debut on Jules' J99 Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth, in the race's inaugural Two-Handed Division.
After some impressive form in previous weeks, they continued to make a strong impression as they build towards the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth crossed the line just over two minutes behind Peter Franki and Drew Jones' Sydney 36 Salt Shaker, which was enough to secure them the overall win on IRC.
Shane Connelly and Graeme Dunlop were third over the line and third overall on Shane's J99 Rum Rebellion.
Disko Trooper was the first two-handed boat out of the Heads, but was caught by Salt Shaker on the approach to Flinders Islet.
"We were looking at the cloud rising over the shore," Jules recalls. "It was a pretty warm day and we thought there was going to be a sea breeze building from the shore, off the land and then head out to sea.
"We went in, then we were down two-thirds of the way through the leg and we were just getting rolled by all of the boats out to sea.
"We realised there was more pressure offshore, so we jibed out to sea and went behind Salt Shaker, who’d gained big time on us. Speedwell was right up behind us at that point.
"We persevered with that strategy, decided to stay out and then we could see the bigger boats ahead of us who went inshore, they were going around the islet really slowly, so we stayed out, then jibed in on the layline and made big gains there on the boats in front."
That's when "the fun began", says Jules.
A welcomed 25 knots of breeze set up an exciting leg back for Disko Trooper, Salt Shaker and Rum Rebellion.
The gap between the three was less than a nautical mile as they approached Cronulla.
"We were in a tight pack and then it was just on for young and old from there," Jules said.
"Salt Shaker was not letting us get on her windward hip and Rum Rebellion was nipping at our heels.
"We would’ve been within 0.6 of a mile. Then we went into Coogee and Salt Shaker was going right in, so we couldn’t tack beyond her layline. Very good sailing by her!"
After the breeze shut down in the early hours of the morning, Salt Shaker's tactics paid off to give Peter Franki and Drew Jones the line honours win.
Jules and Jan take away the overall win and plenty of important lessons as they continue to build towards the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
"Because the last bit of the race was so intense, we were so mentally engaged," Jules said. "We’re pretty jetlagged now.
"It’s going to be really important in the Sydney Hobart to get some rest during the day. On the leg down to Flinders Islet, that’s when we should’ve got some sleep. That would’ve been a golden time to take turns getting rest.
"Being two-handed is really physical. It’ll be a busy week this week. There will be a few things to do to get ready for Bird Island.
"It’s probably a big sense of relief. It’s tough, tough competition and we’re really pleased to get the win in the first race.
"It’s exactly what we want, that’s how you learn, when you're all nipping at each other’s heels."