Audi Victoria Week - Hooligan six from eight in Audi IRC Series

HOOLIGAN - Audi Victoria Week 2011
Audi Victoria Week - Marcus Blackmore did not have to sail the final race of the Audi IRC Series today, but the Sydney yachtsman said there was no way his crew would miss the final race – and the TP52 crew came out and won the final race to make it six wins from eight races to claim a 10 point overall victory of the Division A series.

Melbourne yachtsman Michael Hiatt sailed a good last race, finishing second to Hooligan for second place overall with his Farr 55 Living Doll. Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki finished third overall in the Audi Victoria Race Week event.

Blackmore was disappointed in claims that his boat ‘is just a regatta boat.’ 'It is a regatta boat, that’s what I bought it for, but even in winds over 20 knots we were winning, so it is more than ‘just a regatta boat’,' he said at Royal Geelong Yacht Club this afternoon.

'It was great to win the final race. I wanted to go out and change the crew around a bit, but Tom (tactician Tom Slingsby) said we should go out to win and the rest of the crew agreed,' Blackmore said.

'He did a great job picking the pin end to start and he picked the breeze pressure right all the way – I don’t know how he does it.'

Usually the line honours leader, Loki struggled in the early stages of the final race. She spent most of her time on the course playing catch-up, before finally taking the lead on the penultimate leg to take line honours, but was down in eighth overall, Ainsworth not putting enough distance between Loki and the rest of the fleet.

Blackmore, who is originally from Queensland, took a big early lead of the three-lap windward/leeward race, with Living Doll and Rob Date’s RP52 Scarlet Runner giving chase.

The Hooligan line honours lead looked insurmountable, but changes occurred throughout the race, with some great duels going on in the shifty breeze that pressured up and down regularly, just to make tacticians jobs even harder. Hooligan, Living Doll and Loki had spectators spellbound as the lead continued to change.

Hooligan’s tactician and three-time Laser world champion, Tom Slingsby, explained: 'The shifts were big, I noted one at 35 degrees and the breeze clocked between 6 and12 knots.'

'No side of the course was favoured, it was all about timing; it was an ‘our turn – your turn’ sort of cycle. Whoever got the last shift got the edge.

'I loved this week – this is the best team I’ve ever sailed with. I hope I get to do more with them.'

Hooligan (1 point), Living Doll (2 points) and Loki (3 points) are now the top three on the Class A leaderboard for the fifth running of the Audi IRC Australian Championship. Round 2 of the prestigious Championship is the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta in March. All three yacht owners have said they will be on the start line.

Audi Victoria Week 2011 - Geelong (AUS) - LIVING DOLL

The Audi IRC Australian Championship is sponsored by Audi and organised by Yachting Australia. All boats will race as individual entries to compete for the title ‘IRC Australian Champion’ and any prizes awarded by Audi.

Full results Audi Victoria Week website