Hamilton Island Race Week - Latecomer stuns in non-spinnaker div 1

Audi Hamilton Island Race week 2013 -fleet
At Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, a Hobart based sailor who was leisurely cruising in the Whitsundays and decided at the last minute to compete, has taken out today’s non-spinnaker division 1 results on day four of racing.

Rodney Smart’s 50-footer called Smartchoice from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, crewed only by he and one other, was among the second group of boats to start the race, which made all the difference according to Smart.

'We’ve been behind the eight ball until now because we are normally the last away and there hasn’t been much to compete against,' Smart said.

Smart said today’s slight increase in wind speed aided in his performance. 'Today’s just been fantastic; this event is unbeatable and we’ve already decided we are going to come back next year,' he said. 'It takes the cake and is very well organised,' Smart added.

All the cruising, non-spinnaker, Performance Racing, IRC passage, multihulls and first fleet divisions peeled off the start line in Dent Passage this morning in a stunning spinnaker start that provided the best scenic shots of the regatta.

Some came unstuck early on, a tidal trap off Hamilton Island Yacht Club catching a few out as they watched those who opted for the Dent Island end of the start line sail away in the 8-10 knot sou’easter.

Andy Kearnan’s L’altra Donna claimed glory in testing conditions in today’s IRC Passage Division 2 race. The Sydney-based skipper steered his Summit 35 to maximise the top wind speed of 10kts on the island course, though it wasn’t all smooth sailing.

'It was a tricky course in challenging and variable light winds and we had to factor in the large tides,' Kearnan said.
'There were tricky moments around the rocks, but we got the win for the day. We put the boat in the right spot and navigated well through the fleet.'

Despite a commanding series lead over CYCA clubmate, Alan and Tom Quick’s Beneteau First 40 Outlaw, Kearnan isn’t being complacent.

'It’s been a great week and we are sitting well placed on the ladder but we have to be on our toes for the rest of the week, with two races left,' he said.

Audi Hamilton Island Race week 2013 - Hamilton Island, Queensland (AUS) Sir Thomas Sopwith

Diana and David Edwards’ classic ketch Sir Thomas Sopwith won Cruising Division 1 today with Melges Asia Pacific’s Heath Walters at the helm. The 72-footer was designed by the UK’s Robert Clark and launched in England in the early 1970s, bequeathed to the Ocean Youth Club of Great Britain by the English aviation pioneer and yachtsman, Sir Thomas Sopwith.

The boat was purchased in 1987 by Theo Taylor from TA Taylor and Sons and delivered to Sydney the following year as the Ocean Youth Club of Australia’s founding vessel and to join in Bicentenary celebrations. Over the next 15 years she travelled thousands of miles around the coastline with wayward kids from Youth Off the Streets, The Wayside chapel and the Salvation Army as crew. Badly weather-beaten, Sir Thomas Sopwith was rescued by the Edwards who commenced a painstaking restoration and she’s now the pride of her division at Race Week.

Virago II is leading Cruising Division 1 on handicap; with two days of competition remaining Cruising Division 2 belongs at this stage to That Boat (Darryle Dransfield) and Cruising 3 to Starkers (Alan Stark).

Full results here

The race committee has this evening advised that classes scheduled to start tomorrow’s race in Dent Passage will now start from eastern area and the start times have been brought forward slightly.

Hamilton Island Race Week