Christian Beck's Juan-K 100 LawConnect laid down a marker in her return to offshore racing, winning Fully-Crewed Line Honours in the 2021 Cabbage Tree Island Race, the third race in the 2021/22 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.
LawConnect takes the early lead in the 2021 Income Asset Management Australian Maxi Championship's Maxi Division, ahead of Seng Huang Lee's Dovell 100 SHK Scallywag 100, which was second over the line.
With Beck unable to race, Tony Mutter took the helm and got LawConnect off to an impressive start in gloomy conditions on Friday evening, with 10-15 knots from the SSW as the fleet of 65 boats jostled for position on Sydney Harbour.
LawConnect - formerly InfoTrack and Perpetual LOYAL - was quickest off the line and pulled away from Philip Turner's Reichel/Pugh 66 Alive, SHK Scallywag 100 and David Griffith's JV62 Whisper out of the Heads.
There wasn't much to separate the two super maxis as they rounded Cabbage Tree Island, but LawConnect moved clear ahead on the return leg, averaging 11.4 knots throughout the race. She crossed the line in 15 hours, 20 minutes and 21 seconds.
Following LawConnect's progress from his home, Beck joked: "I'm sick of this boat winning when I'm not on it, they're making me look bad!"
Mutter was pleased with the sharpness of the crew as they build towards the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
"It was awesome, everyone was ecstatic with the win," he said. "We're really, really pleased and we know Christian is really pleased.
"We're thankful to Christian for letting us race. We try and represent as best we can when he's not there.
"A lot of effort has been put into the boat this year and we're glad it looks like those changes have come through and made a significant improvement. We're pleased with the extra performance."
The Cabbage Tree Island Race provided a successful first hit-out for LawConnect's imposing new bowsprit, believed to be the longest on a 100-footer in the world.
It was also a first test for two of the boat's new sails, which arrived just hours before the race.
"It wasn't the ideal preparation we wanted beforehand," Mutter said. "We had to do a bit of scrambling to get some of the sails ready, but everyone was geed up and it seemed to help once we got going.
"We had up to five different sails to race pack beforehand, which took a considerable amount of time.
"I'm really impressed with the crew, they did an awesome job."
LawConnect will be back on the water on Monday as the Income Asset Management Australian Maxi Championship continues.
The fleet will take on up to two passage races, before a showdown on Sydney Harbour for the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Tuesday 7 December.
The Income Asset Management Australian Maxi Championship's inaugural Maxi and Mini Maxi champions will be determined by a pointscore across those races.
"We really need to be focusing on fine tuning our manoeuvres," Mutter added. "That's when you start doing damage on these big boats, so it's about working on timing and techniques.
"Our focus is on the Rolex Sydney Hobart and we have to be mindful of looking after the gear and equipment, keeping it in a condition that's suitable to be able to win that race.
"Having said that, once we get going in this Championship, all that goes out the window. We race hard and rely on the crew's skills to keep the boat in one piece."