Jules Hall and Jan Scholten have made a perfect start in the Two-Handed Division of the 2021/22 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.
After an overall win for Jules Hall's J/99 Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth in the Flinders Islet Race a week earlier, the pair made another statement to claim Two-Handed Line Honours, IRC and ORCi honours in the Bird Island Race.
They were certainly made to work for the wins, with just two minutes separating the first three two-handed boats across the line.
Peter Franki and Drew Jones' Sydney 36 Salt Shaker was 43 seconds behind Disko Trooper, while another J/99, Rum Rebellion (Shane Connelly/Graeme Dunlop), was in close pursuit to finish third on Line Honours. Mark Ayto and Anto Sweetapple's BH36 Local Hero was just a further two minutes adrift.
Disko Trooper stretched clear of the two-handed fleet, but was caught up when the breeze shut down off Narrabeen.
"We got a bonus second race yesterday," laughs owner Jules Hall. "We had the race to Narabeen, then it went from 25 knots to two knots in the space of about half an hour.
"We had a comfortable lead on the second boat, then the next thing we knew, we had Salt Shaker, Rum Rebellion and Local Hero all together behind us.
"The breeze picked up, dropped again, and then filled in, so we took off and it was on for young and old to the finish from there.
"When you're in a comfortable lead and you've held it after bashing through 30-35 knots for nine hours, then it just stops and you've got no wind with everyone charging up behind you, it's not ideal.
"You've got to stay calm and make considered decisions in these boats. It's very easy to not do that, so I was very pleased we snuck out of that."
With two of the four races in the 2021/22 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore now complete, Disko Trooper is in a strong position in the Two-Handed Division.
Hall is pleased to have such momentum with six weeks to go until the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
"I think we're feeling comfortable with where we're at, though there is still quite a lot to do," he said.
"We've only had the boat for a year, so we're still learning, but the miles we put in over the winter are paying off now.
"We have a better idea of how she goes in different conditions and how to set her up for those conditions, which is helpful.
"We'll take a bit of time off to recover now, because these races take a lot out of you."
Local Hero won Two-Handed PHS honours, ahead of Speedwell (Campbell Geeves/Wendy Tuck) and Rum Rebellion.