Great Barrier Reef Boat Sales Challengers' Cup Race 1

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The 20-25 knot south-easterly predicted winds were definitely not in attendance on Sunday when 11 boats took to Pioneer Bay for the first Great Barrier Reef Boat Sales Challengers’ Cup race.

In fact, the boats motored to the starting area in a maximum of 3-4 knots, causing the Race Officer to postpone the start in the hopes of the wind building.

After nearly an hour delay, the race finally got under way, and racers were enjoying 10-15 knots on the windward leeward course, despite the rain and whiteout. As the fleet rounded the top mark for the second time, a wind shift caused a change of course and as they headed towards their new bottom mark Huey played his final hand of the day and the breeze disappeared, leaving boat drifting towards the top mark gift wrapped in their colourful kites.

As skippers and crews spent their time trying to find pressure and work out from which side of the boat the breeze was blowing from, the time limit for the race was fast approaching. With a glass out in the bay and no sight of any breeze lines the race officer made the difficult call to abandon the race, allowing the race to be run again later on.

With the sound signal given and code flag ‘N’ hoisted, the fleet dropped their kites, turned on their motors and returned home wet through.

Due to the abandonment, there were no presentations, but sailors met at the club for a warming rum and a lively discussion on rules.

Sponsor Rachael Hohnke was at the club to greet the sodden racers and commiserate on the forced abandonment. “I was watching the guys out there in the rain and felt sorry for them all” she said, “then when the breeze just died, I wondered if they would be able to finish. I’ll still be on hand for kisses though when they re-run the race!”