Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Team Australia stranded

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 - Hamilton Island, QLD - SPINNAKERS
On the penultimate day of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week this morning’s gloomy forecast gave way to a glorious day of Whitsunday racing at its best as wet weather gear was packed away. T-shirts, shorts and wide smiles were the order of today.

Yesterday’s fog cleared and sailors were treated to a glamour day of flat seas, light 6-8 knot sou’easters and tropical conditions, photographers voting it the best of the annual Whitsunday series that began last Saturday and concludes tomorrow.

Sean Langman’s Race Week has come to an abrupt halt, literally. The bottom three metres of Team Australia’s centreboard is now missing after the giant trimaran ran aground off Fitzalan Island in the narrow channel to the east of Hamilton Island.

‘We were trying to avoid a sleeping whale and her calf. We saw them as we approached and we thought we had enough room, but we didn’t. It was a simple navigational error, we can’t blame the whale we can only blame ourselves,’ said Langman back at the marina.

‘That’s the end of the regatta for us however we pack up taking away more positives than negatives, we’ve learnt a lot this week.

‘I have a 100 percent record of hitting the bottom here with my own boats,’ said the dejected skipper who will have to make minor repairs before taking the boat back to Sydney. Luckily for him, he owns his own boatyard.

Sixty foot of boat hard up on the bricks wasn’t going to come off easily and two Team Australia members were sent overboard trying to make the daggerboards line up so they could retract the centreboard.

‘We ended up having to snap the centreboard and the bits away,’ said Aaron Hampo, one of the crew who dived over the side to free the boat from its shackles.

A tow from a passing media boat pulled them off the rocks and they were able to motor home unassisted.

The Audi IRC Australian Championship classes have just finished racing windward/leewards on the eastern paddock and the performance racing, cruising and non-spinnaker classes, with their full spectrum of coloured spinnakers flying on the downhill runs, are in the closing stages of traversing a new course set by the race committee to make the most of the early forecast.

Full results available at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week website

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