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Lipton Cup

Orion II stars at 98th Lipton Cup

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Orion II once again took line honours but was pipped by 13 seconds on corrected time in the 98th sailing of the Lipton Cup last weekend.

The Lipton Cup is New Zealand yachting oldest competed-for trophy, sailed for in 22ft (6.7m) L Class yachts which are commonly referred to as mullet boats. Some of the race fleet are now more than 100 years old and are still very competitive.

Orion II (Martin Robinson) had a close battle for some time in the 22 nautical mile race on the Waitemata Habour with Tamatea (Brian Trubovich), eventually winning by less than two minutes. Limited Edition, the youngest boat in the fleet at about 30 years old and jointly skippered by sister Bianca and Paige Cook, was third.

But the story of the day belonged to Tao Too skippered by Suzie Bosher, which only a month ago was written off by many before going on to take handicap honours in the Lipton Cup by 13 seconds over Orion II.

Tao Too resembled something closer to an oyster farm a month ago but a team led by Brendon Cooke and Bosher cleaned her up in time to not only make the start line but also finish sixth overall and take handicap honours. 

Another notable feature of the day was the fact a 13-year-old was mainsheet hand on Scullet. the role is normally carried out by a "strong gorilla" and there was great surprise when the youngster lined up beside individuals twice his size when all the mainsheet hands were called to the stage at prizegiving.

The trophy was donated by Sir Thomas Lipton, who raced for the America's Cup five times but never won it. It was also made by the same silversmith as the one who made the America's Cup.

The running of the 100th Lipton Cup has already been set for March 20, 2021 following the completion of the America's Cup. Refurbishments and restorations of a number of mullet boats are already under way, suggesting it will be a spectacular occasion.

2019 Lipton Cup competitors: 

Orion II

Rangi Manu
Limited Edition
Tere Kanae
Tao Too