David Griffith's JV62 Whisper set the early tone to open the 2021/22 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, winning fully-crewed overall and line honours in the Flinders Islet Race.
A fleet of 40 boats was on the start line in Sydney Harbour on Saturday 6 November, greeted by a sunny sky and a 10-12 knot freshening breeze clocking NNE to NE.
Whisper was first out of the Heads and hit speeds of 16 knots to slowly pull clear of Matt Allen's Botin 52 Ichi Ban and the chasing pack of TP52s.
She averaged 9.5 knots in varying conditions, crossing the line in a time of 9 hours, 28 minutes and 30 seconds.
Griffith is pleased to see the continued progress of the JV62.
"We had a wonderful run down the coast," he said. "The boat is totally different to when I bought it a couple of years ago - new keel, longer bowsprit, all sorts of new sails and great people.
"I think we've transformed the boat from a point where, a couple of years ago, we couldn't beat the TP52s to Flinders Islet, but this time we were in front of them and holding our own.
"With a lot of talented crew, we got home. It was a pretty good day all around."
This was the second consecutive line honours win for Griffith and Whisper in the Flinders Islet Race, having edged out No Limit in a close battle in the 2019 edition. Whisper also claimed ORCi honours.
Ichi Ban was second across the line and second overall, less than two minutes away on corrected time from backing up her 2019 overall win.
The six TP52s closely followed in the fully-crewed IRC standings, with David Doherty's Matador third ahead of Matt Donald/Chris Townsend's Gweilo (the 2020/21 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore champion), Gordon Ketelbey's Zen, Seb Bohm's Smuggler, Sam Haynes' Celestial and Craig Neil's Quest.
Rob Aldis' DK46 Khaleesi, Mark Griffith's DK46 Old School Racing and Mark Spring's Beneteau 45 Highly Sprung were the nearest fully-crewed challengers on IRC. Highly Sprung claimed PHS honours.
The 2021/22 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore continues on Saturday 13 November, with the Bird Island Race, followed by the Cabbage Tree Island Race on Friday 3 December and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on Sunday 26 December.