Main photo: Moneypenny and URM Group at the start of the 2022 Flinders Islet Race. Photo CYCA Media

URM Group claimed the overall win, Line Honours and set a new record time in the 2022 Flinders Islet Race, the second race in the 2022/23 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.

Anthony Johnston’s Reichel/Pugh 72, skippered by Marcus Ashley-Jones, beat Sean Langman’s Reichel/Pugh 69 Moneypenny by just 39 seconds on corrected time.

URM Group also beat Moneypenny to the line, taking 43 minutes off the previous record set by David Griffith’s JV62 Whisper in the 2021 race.

“We are quite pleased with the performance,” Ashley-Jones said. “The result is a reflection of AJ’s [Anthony Johnston] continued development of the boat to turn it into a world class racing yacht.

“There are some talented new crew members and it’s great to see the full potential of the boat being unlocked.”

Moneypenny was second overall, while Matt Donald and Chris Townsend’s TP52 Gweilo was third as both boats made it back-to-back podiums in the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.

Moneypenny was the overall winner of the series-opening Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, while Gweilo was second.

The two mini-maxis enjoyed a good tussle throughout the 88nm Flinders Islet Race, exchanging the overall lead multiple times.

Ashley-Jones reflected on one particular tactical decision which proved decisive for URM Group.

“It was neck and neck for a lot of the race and we found ourselves just ahead on corrected time at the island,” he said.

“On the return leg, Moneypenny navigated a rain cloud better than us and pulled ahead again. Steve Jarvin, our tactician, made a bold call to gybe back in towards the rain cloud and that was enough for us to slip back into the lead.

“Every second counts when you’re out there racing. It’s a combination of the whole crew working together – from the bow team to the trimmers keeping the boat fast and tacticians putting us in the right position to make the most out of the wind shifts.”

There is experience aplenty on URM Group, with a good mix of regulars and new additions, including Jarvin, Phil Harmer, Dick Parker, Ben Piggott and Matiu Te Hau.

“We’ve brought some really talented offshore sailors on board,” Ashley-Jones said.

“We seem to have found the record-breaking combination with three Johnston brothers on board. The last time Andrew, Nick and Dave raced with us, we set the Bird Island Race record!

“The Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore is the prestige of Australian offshore yachting. It builds the crew well for the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

“This is a good benchmark to know how your developments have gone in the off-season. We’re really excited for the new Tollgate Islands Race and look forward to having more competition in the mini-maxi class with the likes of Whisper and Alive.”

Owner Anthony Johnston followed the victory from the UK and will be back on board for the Tollgate Islands Race on Friday 14 October.

The handicap wins on ORCi and PHS went to Moneypenny and Enterprise Next Generation respectively, while Rum Rebellion (Shane Connelly’s J/99 co-skippered by Tony Sutton and Graeme Dunlop) won the Two-Handed IRC division.

Peter Wrigley and Andy Kearnan’s TP52 KOA was the top IRC Corinthian boat.

Carlos Aydos and Peter Grayson teamed up on Carlos’ S&S 34 Crux to win Two-Handed ORCi and Two-Handed PHS.

View the full results on the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore website.