Airlie Beach Race Week: long journey back for top multihull event

Andrew Stransky’s 50-foot Fantasia, photo contributed
Abell Point Marina
The Fantasia family have travelled an exceptional 4,500 nautical miles just to compete in the 2013 Multihull Australian Championship.

The national championship is being held as part of this year’s Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week, being held from ninth to 16th August.

Since leaving Australia just over two years ago, skipper Andrew Stransky and his family, wife Carolyn and 14-year-old daughter Mara, have been racing their Seven Seas 50 catamaran, Fantasia, in Asian regattas and races.

'We’ve done Kings Cup, Raja Muda, Langkawai Regatta, Koh Samui Regatta, Top of the Gulf. There are about eight regattas and races you can do for multihulls. We did six of them in one year and about 10 or 11 the whole time we were in Asia which was about two years,' Stransky said.

With the chance to compete in what Stransky describes as the biggest multihull event in the southern hemisphere, it was an easy decision to head back to Australia. 'We raced up in Asia then decided it would be interesting to go back to Australia and then compare the two multihull racing scenes.'

The voyage back to Australia, which started from Phuket in Thailand, was rather more eventful than the Stransky’s hoped as they approached the northern part of Papua New Guinea.

'We had three gales all up and then hit logs on two major occasions when we were travelling at more than 10 knots. It was quite a scary experience. It’s full of logs and trees up there. Amazingly the damage was very light.

'It felt like we hit a reef each time. The first time we pulled the board up and found it had sliced the log in half; like karate chopped it. The second time we couldn’t pull the board out so we had to swim under the boat to do repairs.'

Stransky said he has had a bit of repair work to do before the start of racing, but nothing that will impact Fantasia’s performance. 'We think we will be competitive. Considering how well we did up in Asia. Our boat is more suited to fresher winds, where in Asia it is quite light.'

The 28-boat national championship fleet start racing, in the seven race series, on Saturday with the 31-mile Double Cone Armit Island passage race.
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