by Di Pearson
Audi Winter Series 2012, organised by The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is being held on Sydney Harbour. Race five got underway today, Sunday 26th May.
Boats sailing down the Harbour under spinnaker made a spectacular sight - Audi Winter Series 2012
The 124 yacht owners and their crews coming into today’s race could not have purchased a more perfect day for sailing than what was delivered to them today.
As Principal Race Officer, Denis Thompson said, 'It was a perfect day’s sailing – not too much wind – not too little. It was magic to watch and I’m sure it was magic racing.
'We started out with a sou-wester and it slowly moved around to the south and averaged 12-15 knots throughout the race, which was a nice quick one. All the yachts were finished by 2.30pm,' Thompson said, agreeing that competitors so far had enjoyed a great series, with different conditions each week, giving everyone an opportunity to do well.
Arthur Psaltis and Jon Ross and crew notched up their fourth win from five races in Division C. Their Hanse 430e, Into the Mystic, romps in a bit of breeze, but Psaltis is worried that this win will do their handicap no good. 'I had another two minutes added last time – I think the handicapper will be very angry this week and add some more!'
The CYCA member put their many wins down to 'My crew, it’s nothing to do with me. The crew is doing all the right things. They are executing the manouvres nicely - not doing anything too rash – just trying to minimise the mistakes.'
Psaltis was caught out at one stage, when predicted big breezes did not materialise. 'We were underpowered from Shark Island to Kirribilli and at one stage had to do a quick change from the spinnaker to our No. 2 headsail.'
With four wins and a third in the bag, Into the Mystic is eight points clear of One For the Road (Kym Butler) for the series. 'They are right on our tail and we have to keep sailing well to win the series,' he said.
Dennis Cooper's Amante has won two weeks in a row - Audi Winter Series 2012
Division D winner, Dennis Cooper was thrilled to win his second successive race with Amante. 'I feel like a bit of a bandit taking two in a row, especially when we can’t sail every week because I'm away from home a bit,' the Sydney 36CR’s owner said.
'We’ll be doing the Gold Coast (Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race) in July, so we’ll start to get a bit more serious racing in now, but we’ve been getting around the track with the other 36 footers quite well, so I’m pretty happy. I’m sure we’ll pay the price with our handicap though,' he conceded.
'As long as we have a bit of breeze, we’re ok and today was a terrific day – a nice day’s sailing.'
Justin Graham and his Jet crew got the best out of the boat today - Audi Winter Series 2012
Justin Graham’s Jet scored her first Series win in Division E today, from Rob Gibbs’ Flying Tiger, Shere Khan. Jet’s win today bolstered confidence aboard the Swarbrick design, which won its division overall in 2010, because they are fourth overall in the pointscore and in easy reach of the podium.
'It was predominantly a southerly, which suited us, as the race was dominated by two-sail reaching; we got kites up on one leg only,' Graham said.
'It was a beautiful day, and we only had a couple of things go wrong. We nearly lost the kite when we dropped it, and pulled it inboard just in time, and then we hit the mark and lost our lead from Shere Khan again, but pulled her back and held on to win,' he said, adding: 'It was a beautiful day’s sail.'
The weekly prize giving was held back at the CYCA, where everyone kicked back and enjoyed the sun on the deck. Colin Geeves, who finished second overall in Division D, with his Beneteau 34.7, Speedwell, was the lucky winner of the Audi Drive Weekend and will now drive a luxury Audi of his choosing for a weekend.
Five more races will decide each divisional overall winner of the Audi Winter Series, which continues next Sunday from 11.25am.
Other winners today were: Duende (Damien Parkes) Division A1; Minerva (Edward Cox) Division A2; Solahart-Rum Jungle (Lost Boys Syndicate) Division B; Mortgage Choice Rumba (Robert Carr) Division F; Wild Blue Yonder (Terry Rhodes) Division G; Clewless ? (Lachlan and Guy Irwin) Division H; Silver Minx (Geoff and Vicki Player) Division J; Lu Lu Belle (Peter Lewis) Division K and The Goat (Mitchell Gordon) Sydney 38.