There might have been only seven starters for this year's 99th staging of the Lipton Cup but they had to navigate a busy racecourse full of surf skis, cargo ships and even the Spirit of New Zealand.
At the end of it, Brian Trubovich and his crew on Tamatea denied Orion II a fourth-straight victory, crossing one minute and seven seconds ahead of Martin Robertson and his crew over the 19-mile course, with Limited Edition in third.
There was plenty of activity on the Hauraki Gulf, particularly at the start when 85 surf ski paddlers raced under the Harbour Bridge during the Takapuna Boating Club's King and Queen of the Harbour ocean paddling event, and there were also some close skirmishes with a couple of cargo ships in the channel. A call was also made by race management to the Spirit of New Zealand to ask them to stop their progress to allow the mullet boats a clear rounding of the top mark.
It was close at the front after three laps of the short windward-leeward course, with only 40 seconds separating Tamatea and Orion when they rounded the Bean Rock buoy. Limited Edition was only 23 seconds behind in third with Valeria a further 90 seconds adrift.
Orion had closed the gap to 26 seconds at Resolution Buoy but Tamatea held on to claim an eighth Lipton Cup overall and it was the third for Trubovich on helm.
It's expected a fleet of close to 20 mullet boats will take part in the 100th sailing of the Lipton Cup on March 20.
Lipton Cup: L10 Tamatea - Richmond Yacht Club
Overseas Cup: L53 Orion II - Ponsonby Cruising Club
Nepia Cup: L53 Orion II - Ponsonby Cruising Club
Watson Whisky Cup: L7 Komuri - Taikata Sailing Club