Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race - Living Doll IRC overall winner

Living Doll confirmed as the overall winner - Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2011
Ian Grant
Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, started from Sydney Harbour on Saturday 30 July.

Victorian yacht Living Doll (Michael Hiatt) has today been declared the IRC overall winner of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 26th Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, while Loki (Stephen Ainsworth), last year’s winner, is second and Ragamuffin (Syd Fischer) third.

Hiatt, from Melbourne, celebrated his 59th birthday last evening, but was cautious about celebrating winning the race too early. 'There are still some small boats out there that could knock us off. I don’t know if they’ll get enough breeze, so we’ll stay low key until we know for sure,' he said last night.

Today was different. Hiatt said of the Farr 55 named after his clothing label: 'The boat excels in the conditions we got; the weather suited us.'

The Royal Yacht Club of Victoria yachtsman said the win should also be attributed to his crew. 'Everyone had a part to play, they were all very good at their jobs,' he said.

Last year's winner Loki finished second overall - Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2011

Loki’s owner, Stephen Ainsworth, commented: 'You can’t be disappointed with second. We sailed the best we could and we really enjoyed the race.'

The top TP52 in the race was Ragamuffin and the reward was third place overall and victory in the ORCI category, of which Fischer is a proponent. 'It was a trialling race - it was very changeable throughout - but the crew enjoyed it and they did a really good job.

'I had a mix of old and young crew and everyone worked very well together. Vanessa Dudley and our young 49er sailor, Clinton Wade-Lehman, did a great job on the helm, along with our two other drivers and Steve McConaghy did a good job with the tactics. We mainly stayed on the rhumbline course; others took risks going out to sea that didn’t pay off,' he said.

Of his ORCi win, Fischer said: 'I like winning ORCi and I’d like to see more owners getting into it.'

There are still 31 yachts at sea in 384 nautical mile race at 3.45pm this afternoon, of which 10 are not expected to finish until tomorrow. Due to time constraints, Andrew Cochrane’s Pendragon is the latest retirement, bringing the total to eight.

Jessica Watson trimming the kite of Another Challenge - Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2011
Jonno Bannister, Another Challenge

The next yacht due in is Chris Lewin’s Another Challenge, with solo round the world sailor Jessica Watson aboard. The Melbourne-based Sydney 38 is due at the Southport finish line sometime after 5.00pm.

Those yachts in the vicinity of Ballina and Byron Bay are sailing in a pleasant eight to ten knot easterly, so at least would be enjoying the ride. It was not so easy for some earlier on, who were in stop-starting mode at the whim of the wind gods.

From ‘Dr Darryl’ Hodgkinson’s Beneteau 45 Victoire this morning, a few hours before they finished the race, being at sea so long was making the crew a bit crazy. CYCA: 'Morning Danny (McConville) what's happening out there today?
Victoire: Danny’s busy sleeping for his country.
CYCA: OK, so who’s manning the Skype?
Victoire: Phil the legend in my own lunchtime Eadie (navigator)
CYCA: So what's the plan for the day Phil?
Phil: Well, lunch, I suppose.
CYCA: I mean race plans.
Phil: 'It’s a bit light; we're just working to finish before the breeze backs (and maybe lightens more).

Meanwhile, Geoff Lavis reported lots of whales from UBS Wild Thing, even during the night, which has provided a visual feast for crews throughout the long race.

The Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is the penultimate event of the Audi IRC Australian Championship, and once the remaining yachts have completed the race, results will be known before yachts head to the final event, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, to be held from 19-27 August.

The official prize giving for the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race will be held at Southport Yacht Club at 11am tomorrow morning.

Living Doll confirmed as the overall winner - Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2011

Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race website