At the conclusion of racing on day 6 at Sail Port Stephens 2012 dominant performances emerged in the IRC Division 1 fleet sailing the NSW IRC Championship and in the Elliott 7 fleet sailing their National Championship.
’Hooligan’ during the NSW IRC Championships 2012 Sail Port Stephens Regatta Day 6. Picture by Matt King Sail Port Stephens Media Event
The fleets headed to their respective start lines with the promise of sunshine and the hope of breeze.
A top quality fleet contesting the NSW IRC Championship headed offshore to a course area north of Cabbage Tree Island for day 2 of their contest.
The three divisions were to sail two windward leeward races with the first warning signal at 1125am. Initially the breeze was around eight knots but dropped to five, with a slight swell.
Two TP52s, Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan with Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards on the helm and Quest with Bob Steel driving, were sailing in close company for the first leg until Hooligan found a puff and cleared away. The crew onboard Jason Van Der Slot's TP52 Calm appeared to be taking time to adjust to the offshore conditions.
In the light breeze Stephen Ainsworth's Loki took line honours in Division 1 just as she has done in all races so far. The handicap win went to Hooligan. Division 2 line honours and handicap win went to Tulip. Division 3 line honours and handicap win went to L’Altra Donna.
After the first race, officials relocated the course closer to the shore as the breeze further out to sea kept changing direction and would not stabilise.
PRO Denis Thompson managed to get race 2 of the day away in an eight knot easterly, just before the cut off time. Hooligan third up from the pin, won the start and it took half a leg before Loki took the lead. At this stage Hooligan was well ahead of Quest and Calm.
In the light and shifty conditions Calm made a big gain up the centre of the course, while Hooligan stayed out on the left. Calm rounded the top mark well ahead of Hooligan.
In Division 2 Tulip (Bernie Van T' Hof) led at the top mark from Exile (Garry Holt), with Wizzard (Mick Hinchey) and Last Tango (skipper Adam Brown) battling for third. Wizzard won and Tango followed closely behind.
Loki was well clear of the Division 1 fleet. Calm was winning the TP52 race, ahead of Hooligan and Quest.
Loki - IRC Division 1. NSW IRC Championship. Sail Port Stephens 2012 day 6
PRO Denis Thompson shortened the course after one lap of the second race.
As Loki approached the finish line, behind her the battle of the 52's raged. Calm went hard left and appeared to lose a lot of ground to Hooligan. Hooligan came down the centre with more pressure and was second across the line behind Loki.
Wizzard sailed particularly well today in the soft conditions and the Sydney 38 crossed third in Division 2.
Line honours again went to Loki, the Division 1 handicap win to Hooligan. The Division 2 double went to Tulip, while the Division 3 line honours went to the Philosopher’s Club (Peter Sorensen). The handicap win went to Schouten Passage (Rob Howard).
Overall Division 1 leader is Hooligan from Quest and Calm. Division 2 overall leader is Tulip from Exile and Zen (Gordon Ketelby) and the Division 3 leader is L’Altra Donna (Andy Kearnan) from Raging Bull (John Streeter) with Tow Truck (Anthony Paterson) third.
Having heard confirmation of another two wins today making it four wins in a row for Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan, Mark Richards was smiling.
'Marcus had to go interstate for a business meeting today, so I was his deputy. That was the first I'd helmed a TP52 and they are very responsive boats. I just went where Grunter (Grant Simmer) sent me. Marcus has a great team on this boat and its easy to see why they were the 2011 IRC National Champions.'
The hot fleet in the Performance Racing Divisions 1 and 2 were due to contest windward leewards on Salamander Bay but by start time the breeze had died and RO Greg Sinclair raised the AP flag.
In the end two races were completed.
Race 2 Division 1 line honours went to Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban. Bradley Sewell’s Melges 32 Breezin took the handicap win. Matthew Brown’s Orbit took the line honours and handicap win in Division 2.
Ichi Ban again took line honours in Race 4, while John McNamara’s Iota won on handicap. Orbit again scored the Division 2 double.
Overall, Breezin leads Performance Racing Division 1 while Orbit, with three out of three, leads Division 2.
Sailing the picturesque course 6 within Nelson Bay the Performance Cruising fleet were a little too eager at the start, and a general recall ensued. The fleet was away on the second start.
Secret Men’s Business 1 (Robert Curtis) led Division 1 while Koko (Roy Leslie) led Division 2.
Race officials shortened the course after the breeze softened and the tide turned. In the bright afternoon sunshine the fleet headed towards the finish line.
Secret Men's Business 1 took line honours in Division 1 from Euphoria and Amante (Dennis Cooper). The handicap win went also went to Secret Men’s Business 1.
Division 2 line honours went to Derek Shephard's Kahoona from Firefly (Dean Gillies) and Outlandish (Sean Barrett). On handicap Adrian William’s Chelsea Liz took the win.
Overall Performance Cruising Division 1 leader is Secret Men’s Business 1 on count back from Euphoria. Division 2 is very tight with three boats all on six points – Firefly, Outlandish and Rampage, with Firefly leading on count back.
The Elliott 7 Australian Championship day 2 continued with three windward leewards scheduled.
In Race 4 of the series, Aaron Terrey made it four from four on Selden Deck Hardware. Second was Evergreen (Michael Green) with Woof (Jim Walsh) third.
Terrey continued his dominance of the championship taking races 5 and 6 from Evergreen and Andrew Chapman's Taking Back Sunday.
Selden Deck Hardware convincingly leads the championship eleven points clear of Evergreen with Taking Back Sunday third.
Selden Deck Hardware races in the Elliot 7 Class during 2012 Sail Port Stephens Regatta Day 6. Picture by Matt King Sail Port Stephens Media Event
Back in the marina Terrey with six wins from six races, was grinning.
'Everyone loves it when a plan comes together. We have new Irwin sails, we have boat speed and we are sailing clean. We have Tom Scarfield calling tactics with Jan (Clogs) Sholten doing main and strategy.
'Special thanks to the race officials today. After the first race it went soft but they were patient and held us until we had better breeze and we had two more very fair races.'
Full results, news, photos and information available at Sail Port Stephens 2012 website www.sailportstephens.com.au
Footnote: Wilson (the beach ball), the mascot onboard Peter Wilson's Lu Lu Belle last night blitzed the karaoke competition with his rendition of Time Warp.
*Results are provisional only.