by Ian Grant
Local Whitsunday sail maker Charles Wallis again proved he was a master of light fickle winds when he steered Reignition to a corrected handicap win in the Edges Boat Yard sprint race series on Pioneer Bay. Wallis, regarded by his rivals as a master sailor in all breezes, is particularly difficult to match when the wind becomes light and unstable.
Surefoot - Edges Boat Yard sprint race series 2012
He again applied the master’s touch to helm Reignition to a narrow six second win over the fleet veteran Surefoot (Rod Sawyer) while Damien Suckling steered Another Fiasco into third another one minute 33 seconds astern.
When the fleet were confronted with the extra concentration test of maintaining a competitive boat speed in the super soft breeze both the Bernie van’t Hof helmed Swan 45 Tulip and the Murray Burns and Dovell designed 41 Reignition became the most likely contenders for line honours.
However Tulip which has previously proved to be no slouch when sailing in soft winds exercised her slight advantage in waterline length and sail power gained early control to leave both Reignition and Another Fiasco to settle into a battle to resolve the minor places.
The Tulip team extended their lead at all marks to eventually record a comfortable four minute 21 second win over Reignition with Another Fiasco another three minutes seven seconds off the pace.
As expected the limit marker Tulip failed to outpace her handicap rating while Charles Wallis and the Reignition crew sailed tactically smart to narrowly record the fastest corrected handicap ahead of the Golden Oldie Surefoot.
The six second margin became a narrow breathing space for the Reignition crew and a disappointment for the happy team who man the deck of the Peter Norlin designed Surefoot which is still managing to defy her age when racing against the more modern rivals.
According to her proud owner and skipper Surefoot is an oldie but a goodie and while they had to be happy with second place there is still many more competitive nautical miles to be enjoyed before the former Admirals Cup competitor is retired to become a leisurely cruiser.
Her sails have seen better days but the hull shape combined with a happy team on the deck always manage to produce a competitive boat speed, and while her crew missed winning by six seconds they still managed to enjoy their usual post race celebration.