Airlie Beach Race Week - More breeze and new winners on final day

Airlie Beach Race Week 2013, IRC Racing's Flying Cloud crosses in front of Brilliant Pearl - Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week 2013
Shirley Wodson
Final day of racing in 24th Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week bought smiles to face of sailors and race committee as the breeze kicked in as forecasted.

It was Whitsunday sailing at its best with 10 to 15 knots south-east, a manageable swell and good racing around Pioneer Bay for the 110-boat fleet across the 11 divisions.

The Multihulls, Sports Boats, IRC Racing and Cruising divisions were sent off on the traditional large triangle Pioneer Bay Race in very pleasant sailing conditions.

The Performance Racing division were sent off on a quick windward/leeward race. Once completed, they were then sent off on the large triangle Pioneer Bay race, with the course shortened at the final Pioneer mark rounding.

Multihulls
In the 2013 Australian National Multihull Championship the top place getters in each division were in OMR Division one, Chris Williams’s Morticia with a clean sweep of six races.
Airlie Beach Race Week 2013, Cruising Division 1 winner, Fifty Shades of 50 - Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week 2013
Shirley Wodson


OMR Division two was won by Andrew Stransky and his family on Fantasia who finished on six points.

In OMR Division three, it was a very close contest with Tony Richardson’s Pocahontas coming out in front with 10 points, just on ahead of Mike Willcocks’s Hot Option.

The PHS Multihull Division won by Clare and Wayne Kirby’s Clear Horizons.

Multihull national measurer, Mike Hodges, reported the OMR Division one winner, the Sea Cart 30 Morticia, blitzed every race. 'I know during the week that some of the guys have been on the internet looking to see if they can buy one.

'The boat did the Brisbane to Gladstone race this year and everybody was expecting big things of it, but it didn’t perform. But at the same time the guys hadn’t had it very long and they didn’t have any experience of it. That’s six months ago. Since then they have sailed it regularly, tuned it up and optimised it to the OMR rule and now they have a boat that is an absolute master blaster.

'Everybody seems perfectly happy with the location for the nationals. It’s a great place to have a national championships. I would be surprised if the Australian multihull championships don’t come back to Airlie Beach within the next two to three years,' Hodges said.

Airlie Beach Race Week 2013, Sports Boat winning Viper QLD team of Noel and Ben Leigh-Smith, and Phil Kellond-Knight - Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week 2013
Shirley Wodson

Sports Boats
There were many winners today, but in the smallest boats of the fleet, it was Noel Leigh-Smith’s Viper QLD that took the trophy in the Sports Boat division after placing no worse than third on handicap across the fleet’s nine races.

'Couldn’t be better. It’s the first time we have sailed the boat. It was put in the water last Friday for the first time. My son, Ben, has worked very hard on it and Phil Kellond-Knight, who has been sailing with me for 33 years, has also been racing. Very rewarding,' Leigh-Smith said.

Performance Racing
The Performance Racing Division had two races today. The first was a one nautical mile leg, windward/leeward course. The start was very conservative for all of the nine-boat fleet. Ichi Ban and Menace continued their boat-on-boat battle around the course, while Roger Jepson’s Melbourne team on Where’s Wal? did a superb job in the stronger breeze to take out handicap honours ahead of Philip Grove’s Huntress and Damian Suckling’s Another Fiasco.

The division’s second race was the large triangle Pioneer Bay race, shortened at the second time around the Pioneer mark. The fleet headed out to the Bluff mark for the first time. Round the mark, watched on anxiously by the race committee, the Performance fleet rounded the mark to starboard while the Cruising and Sports Boats fleets were trying to round the mark to port. It was a relieved call by the race committee when the nine-boat Performance fleet had cleared the mark.

Airlie Beach Race Week 2013, the winning Multihull Division 1 national champions, Morticia - Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week 2013
Shirley Wodson

Past Grimston mark, Howard Spencer’s Menace pulled up short with lots of action on the foredeck before then ceased racing. Tactician Tom Faire reported, 'We had some gear failure, a broken jib halyard. The boat was just starting to go great.'

At the finish line though, it was Martin Power’s Bacardi that took out handicap honours ahead of Kevin Fogarty’s Twister.

On overall results after seven races and one discard, first place stayed in the hands of Philip Grove’s Huntress from Sydney. 'Some of my crew are over the moon while I am quietly happy. Today’s racing was good. We got second in the first race of today so that sealed it for us.

'This is the first time I have raced at Airlie in my own boat. We normally come back if we have won something. It was a very nice regatta,' Grove said.

Cruising
Brad and Craig Ginnivan gathered their friends together for a week of birthday celebrations. It was their 50th on Wednesday, hence the name of the yacht, Fifty Shades of 50. Between various birthday antics, they sailed the charter boat hard to deliver the best possible birthday present, a first place overall in Division one.

In Division two, Bill Hopton finally secured his first place with 29 points, moving early leader, James Irvine out of the top and into second place.

Division three Cruising was won by Andrew Barney’s Barney Army crewed by Andrew, his wife Carmen and their three children, Hayden, Jordan and Ayla. A special mention is required for this division. The commodore of the event organisers, Whitsunday Sailing Club, Rob Davis and his team on Breakaway, sailed well to secure second place overall.

This year the top three boats in the Non Spinnaker Division were all locals; Dan White’s Riff Raff, Peter Harrison’s Rumgutz and John Galloway’s QLD Marine Services.

IRC Racing
The IRC Racing Division’s single race today was a tough battle between the old and new. Gary McCarthy’s Brilliant Pearl, previously owned by Howard Piggott was up against the clock and Piggott’s new boat Flying Cloud.

Brilliant Pearl was aggressive on the start line with Flying Cloud close on its stern across the line. Brilliant Pearl tacked away to port while Flying Cloud stayed to starboard.

The breeze built to 15 knots on the outer part of the course as the big boats raced their own race and the smaller fleet members raced the clock. At the finish and on handicap first place went to Flying Cloud, just three minutes ahead of Brilliant Pearl on corrected over the five hour race.

'Today we were favoured by fresher breeze so we could sail our boat up to its numbers up wind. The program today was to sail the boat to its numbers and make those numbers work. Mind you, it was a long race. There was a lot of pressure on the helm and the trimmers, all day.

'The breeze was also steady and more predictable. We have been struggling, but enjoying it nevertheless. When the breeze kicked in to about 14 maximum, the boat stared to really come high on the breeze and we carry good speed.

'It was rather gratifying under IRC that we had such close margins, just a few points between the t boats in the three placings,' Piggott said.

The final overall result for IRC was first place to Flying Cloud on 15 points. On a count back and in second was Bernie Van’T Hof’s Tulip with 16 points. In third and also on 16 points, was Brilliant Pearl.

The full results are on Airie race week website