New Zealand teams fill the top two spots nearing the halfway mark of the JJ Giltinan regatta in Sydney this week, raising hopes of a Kiwi triumph for the first time since 1974.
The JJs are considered the pinnacle of 18ft skiff racing and Maersk Line and Honda Marine are joint leaders after three races, five points ahead of Finport in third.
The two other New Zealand entries representing the Auckland Skiff League and Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Knight Frank and C-Tech, are fifth and sixth respectively in the 25-strong fleet.
Maersk Line and Honda Marine have sailed consistently well since racing started on Saturday, with both having taken out race wins. They will hope that continues today when two races are scheduled, which puts added pressure on because the chances of being able to return to shore to fix a problem between races is quite slim.
"I had no idea how we were going to go in this regatta so I hope we haven't peaked too early," Maersk Line skipper Josh Porebski said.
"It's been a great start to the regatta, but there is still a long way to go."
The Honda Marine team of David McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins know that better than most, coming agonisingly close to claiming the trophy last year. They won four of the seven races but still finished third out of 26 boats.
Honda Marine have fought well, particularly on the first day when they capsized twice but still managed to finish fourth.
Results and standings after race 3 of the JJ Giltinan regatta in Sydney:
1st: Maersk Line (Josh Porebski, Jack Simpson, David Hazard) 1 3 3 - 7 points
2nd: Honda Marine (Dave McDiarmid, Matt Steven, Brad Collins) 4 1 2 - 7 pts
3rd: Finport Trade Finance 2 9 1 - 12 pts
5th: Knight Frank (Riley Dean, Luke Stevenson, Tim Snedden) 8 5 7 - 20 pts
6th: C-Tech (Alex Vaillings, Sam Trethewey, Matt Coutts) 6 14 5 - 25 pts