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URM sets thrilling pace to win Bird Island Fully-Crewed Line Honours

URM sets thrilling pace to win Bird Island Fully-Crewed Line Honours
URM passing the Hornby Light on South Head. Photo: Bow Caddy Media/Crosbie Lorimer

URM sets thrilling pace to win Bird Island Fully-Crewed Line Honours

Anthony Johnston's URM was in blistering form in the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore's Bird Island Race, setting an impressive record to win Fully-Crewed Line Honours.

A blustery 12-25 knot westerly provided an entertaining start to the 83 nautical mile race, with Sean Langman's Reichel/Pugh 69 Moneypenny first out of the Heads, closely tailed by the Reichel/Pugh Maxi 72 URM and David Griffith's JV62 Whisper.

The lead boats soon broke away from the rest of the fleet and were flying in a W/WNW of 25-30 knots off Terrigal.

URM took the lead just before rounding Bird Island and lapped up the breeze, pulling away from Moneypenny and winning in an incredible time of 5 hours, 22 minutes and 21 seconds.

New records were always going to be set for the 2021 race as the course had been shortened by two nautical miles with a change to the finish line. But URM's time, at an average of 16 knots, also smashes the previous records for the 85nm course.

Comanche set an open record of 6:08:27 in 2018, and Loki set the conventionally ballasted record of 6:38:56 in 2011.

Sean Langman's Moneypenny was just five minutes behind URM, while David Griffith's Whisper put in another strong performance to finish third on Line Honours.

"Sometimes mother nature can be kind," joked URM owner Anthony Johnston. "It was a competitive race the whole way. Conditions were great and the crew worked really hard.

"We couldn't have asked for anything better, it was a straight line up and a straight line back.

"Well done to our skipper Marcus Ashley-Jones, and Nick Davis, who did a fantastic job preparing the boat.

"A special mention also to my older brother, Andrew Johnston, who is the spine of the team!"

This was URM's first proper hit-out in the build-up to the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. 

"The boat is in good condition," Johnston said. "She's had a few new sails and we're focused on getting her ready for Hobart now.

"We're really happy with how it's running. We've got a great bunch of people, a really good team and they work really well together. 

"The conditions were what we thought they were going to be and it was perfect sailing weather!"

View the full standings for divisional results.