Perfect sailing day for close of regatta

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posted on
Thu 21 Aug 2014
posted by
Heidi Walton

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For those sailors who saw the forecast and the rain, and decided to stay tucked up onshore, they missed out on a perfect final racing day for the Vision Surveys 25th Airlie Beach Race Week.

There were several moments during the Pioneer Bay course when the rain squalls whited-out the fleet and the 25 knot gusts caught some trimmers unaware, but they only served to keep the pressure on the competitors and racing exciting.

As the race progressed the wind eased and so did the swell, but not before local boats maxi-yacht Condor split their yellow spinnaker and Tulip had a ‘Priscilla of the Bay’ moment as their white kite floated unglamorously off their stern and close to the rigging on the passing yacht Ocean Affinity as the crew franticly tried to haul the massive sail back on board.

In the IRC Division, Tony Kirby’s Patrice, with six straight wins under his belt, kept his team on shore today. Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban went out to defend his second place and the two Cookson 50s made the race last count in their one-one-one battle for regatta supremacy.

The battle handicap winner for today was Colin Woods’s Pretty Fly III as she led Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire around the course. “We pretty much match-raced each other around the course in the last few races. Victoire are a little faster than us uphill and we are a little faster downhill. In the race the other day out to Dent Island, we were in front by a fair way, but we broached when a big gust hit us and that closed the gap and then Victoire got us uphill on the run to the line. That was a bit frustrating. The boats are very close and it’s good to race against them.

“It was nice to get on top of them today. They did seem to have an issue somewhere in the race, some gear problems, but we were in front of them by then and I doubt they would have caught us. The crew worked well and the boat went like clock-work today. Everything worked well and the boat just felt great,” Woods said.

The Pretty Fly III will now turn their focus to preparing for the 70th Sydney Hobart Race.  “We might regatta race them again next year,” Woods added.

The IRC Division overall results were first to Patrice, second to Ichi Ban and third to Victoire.

Performance Racing Division 1’s race was won today by New Zealand entry, Janine Robinson’s Bullrush.  In second on handicap was Pierre Gal’s and Doug Gayford’s Dolce. In third place, and after a dramatic day yesterday when, with the help of the Ichi Ban team, the boat had to be rescued after it broke its mooring and headed off on its own for a while, was Walter Lewin’s Vento. “We are pretty happy how we sailed this week, apart from a navigational error in Race 1 when we had to retire,” a relieved Lewin said.

The line honours victory and overall honours remained with Stewart Lewis’s Ocean Affinity just one point ahead of John Leman’s Bobby’s Girl. In third and after a count-back, Dolce took the honours while Trevor Bailey’s Carbon Credit slipped back to fourth overall.

Performance Racing Division 2 was won today by the Townsville team on Mike Steel’s Boadicca. The team struggled to handle the strong conditions of earlier in the week having only sailed the new boat in very light conditions. But by today they had found their pace and delivered their second and consecutive first place. In second place was Roger Jepson’s little blue boat, Where’s Wal ?

The Division 2 results overall went to Jeff Rice’s Rogue with Gary McCarthy’s Brilliant Pearl finding their form again today with a fourth to secure his third consecutive regatta second place. Maybe next year he will finally achieve a first place overall. In third place and after a count-back was the young Drummoyne Sailing Club team on Sandor Tornai’s fast 30 footer, Skeeter. In fourth place was Bill Laing’s Dusty Muzzle.

In Cruising Division 1 John and Kim Clinton’s Holy Cow! finished as they started, with another first. In second today was Tony Horkings’s Led-Way which was a good enough result to propel them to the division’s first place overall. The remaining overall places were split by just one point between them with Rob Marshall’s Femme Fatale finishing in second, Paul Lindemann’s Biddy Hu II third and Ian Griffith’s Witchy Woman in fourth.

In Division 2, Col Thomas and Nic Cox’s Ella won today’s race across the line and on handicap by two seconds, but it wasn’t enough to return them to the top of the podium. Tich Timmermans’s Against the Wind took out the division’s overall honours ahead of Ella and Keith McGuire’s Fargo.

Cruising Division 3’s race today was won by Peter McKenzie’s Le Rossignol with Bob Beale’s Kameruka coming in second. These results cemented Kameruka into first place overall and moved Le Rossignol up one place ahead of John Fowell’s Ells Bells to take out second overall.

In Non Spinnaker, John Galloway’s QLD Marine Services took out today’s race, but it was Belinda Cooper and her team on La Quilter who slipped into first place overall after struggling with the wind as it eased during the late morning and into the afternoon.

“I was quite glad I was on this boat in this weather, but we needed more wind. We go our best in 20 plus where most people go better in under 20 knots. When we race in the 15s we got today we go backwards. It’s a big boat weighing 14 tons where some of our opposition weigh to maybe three tons.

“We saw around 17 to 20 knots, just a bit short for what we really wanted. We knew we were going to have a fight today. We knew we just had to sail the course because we had done so well in the rest of the week. Luckily for us there wasn’t a huge fleet and some of the boats that were there at the beginning of the week, weren’t there today,” Cooper said.

In second place overall in the division came Simon Dunlop’s Namadgi and in third, on count-back, QLD Marine Services.

The Multihull Racing Division 1 numbers were down today with only four boats competing and two of them retiring mid-race. In first place today was Ben Kelly’s Turning Point and in second place, Robert Remilton’s Wilparina II.  The top two overall results remained the same from yesterday with Andrew Stransky’s Fantasia in first, Wayne Bloomer’s Chillpill in second and Turning Point in third.

Division 2 had just two starters today; first placegetter Peter Millar’s Quick Skips and mid-race retiree, Danny McMillan’s Purple Haze. The overall division results went to Drew Carruther’s Rushour with Quick Skips in second on a count-back to Bob Critchley’s Cool Change in third.

Multihull Cruising was another fleet where more than half of them didn’t make it out on the course today. In the final race for the division, event sponsor, Brian Forrester and his ORAM 62 Drumbeat won handicap honours ahead of Ken Gibson’s Resolute II and Norm Fraser’s Wet Bar. The final overall results went to John Williams’s Tyee III with Resolute II in second and Fiona Kermeen’s Mon Amie in third.

The Sports Boats were back out on the course today after choosing not to race in yesterday’s strong wind and tide passage race. Norman Ryde’s Conquistador won the race ahead of John Rae’s Vivace and Ray and Jill Carless’s Junior. The overall results for this division were Vivace in first place, Conquistador with their repaired mast in second and Jason Ruckert’s Mister Magoo in third.