On day 6 of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week there is an ever-present rivalry simmering away. The contest is on for the South Pacific Trophy, and three boat teams from New Zealand and Australia are going head-to-head.
GEORGIA - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012
Australia’s team line-up are all IRC class A grand prix division yachts and include Hooligan, the current defending Race Week champion, and Yendys in the TP52 category as well as the Victorian 50-footer Terra Firma.
New Zealand is the defending team, this year represented by two TP52s, Jim Farmer and Chris Meads’ Georgia and Chris Hornell’s Kia Kaha, and their smaller Kiwi cousin, Connel McLaren’s Ker 40, Ice Breaker.
As it stands the current pointscore has Australia convincingly on top with 44 points to New Zealand’s 83 points.
Despite all the rivalry on the track the ANZAC spirit is very alive off the water.
Australian skipper of Terra Firma, Nicholas Bartels, says the rivalry is a friendly one, and at the end of the day they all ‘have a drink together’.
In the Kiwi’s defence, Bartels concedes that the New Zealand team has ‘one of the smallest boats in Ice Breaker, which makes it more challenging’.
For Georgia’s New Zealand mainsail trimmer, Harry Dodson, the competition may be on once the gun goes at Race Week, but he was happy to join with the mostly Australian crowd who cheered the Aussie Olympic sailing team when they came to the Island on Tuesday.
‘When push comes to shove, we Kiwis feel a part of your success.’
Dodson says the alleged trans-Tasman rivalry is ‘superficial’ and likens the Aussies to long lost cousins.
The trophy on the line is an original design commissioned by Hamilton Island’s brand and event manager, Nicky Tindill. Its concept is elegant, simple and concise, three glass sails each one symbolising a team yacht.
While not part of the South Pacific Trophy, the fascinating Orma 60 trimaran showdown that has played out between Team Australia sailed by Sean Langman, and Team Vodafone Sailing, skippered by Simon Hull, has been claimed by the Australians.
Langman’s Team Australia can’t be beaten on the bullet count, even though he’s had to switch to his delivery main following a tear in his racing mainsail that is irreparable.
Hull says the rivalry between the two sailing nations is light-hearted, but still exists.
‘The competition between the two trimarans is no different to the rivalry between any other boat’.
Australia might have the final say on the water at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, but when it comes to rugby field Hull has the last word.
‘Tell the Aussie’s to have another look at last Saturday night’s game.’
South Pacific Trophy pointscore here.
SAILING - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 - Hamilton Island, QLD - 17-25 August 2012 ph. Andrea Francolini/Audi KIA KAHA - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012
Hamilton Island Race Week website