by Di Pearson
Audi Winter Series 2012, organised by The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is being held on Sydney Harbour. Race three got underway today, Sunday 13th May.
Grainny Skol, wife of owner Rob, said Scarlett Runner’s win came down to the girl-power on board - Audi Winter Series 2012
It was full weight on the rail in the icy and blustery west-south-westerly wind today, when 110 starters got going in the third race, and those who hiked quickly got the best speed out of their boats.
Although the sun was out, gone was the 29 degree temperature of Wednesday and Thursday; instead the rugged-up competitors felt the brunt of 12-19 degrees, especially sailing upwind.
Shortly before 1.00pm, the yachts from A1 and A2 divisions were already into their second lap; blasting down the Harbour under spinnaker in big winds that propelled them quickly around the course.
Conditions allowed all divisions an early mark back at the CYCA, where many people were already enjoying Mother’s Day, while sailors of the male species would score ‘Brownie Points’, for arriving home early in time to give their wives and/or mothers a treat.
While the Bureau of Meteorology suggested a 15-20 westerly tending south-westerly, the CYCA’s Principal Race Officer, Denis Thompson, said the wind gauge hit 29 knots and averaged out at around 20-22knots and up to 25 at times.
'The breeze varied between 260 degrees and 230-220 (west and west/south-west) - it was a great day out,' Thompson affirmed. 'A great day for sailmakers too – I saw at least two blown out spinnakers and a couple of mains too.
'It certainly blew away the cobwebs; the day was such a contrast to last week’s light breeze. Today was what I call typical winter winds,' he finished.
So many sailors made the most of the big winds; Division J winner, Ken Hudson declaring: 'Viva (his Tasman Young 43 cruiser) was delighted to see a beautiful breeze. We went from second last (in light air last Sunday) to first – all it takes to get us moving is 20 knots plus!
'We absolutely galloped along - and had the most wonderful race with Inkonkoni (Arthur Lane’s Beneteau Oceanis 46) - we changed the lead four times,' an enthusiastic Hudson told.
Asked how their wives felt about losing out to sailing on Mother’s Day, Hudson, who has three children and seven grandchildren responded: 'We all celebrated it yesterday, cos we can’t miss the Audi Winter Series!'
Meanwhile, aboard Division E winner, Skeeter, owner Sandor Tornai admitted the big gusty wind had made the crew cautious aboard his Farr 30. 'We only put up the small chute down the first run; that was a big mistake - but we got it right on the second run – we put the big one up and caught them all up again.
'The crew work was good today, especially up the last work, but some silly idiot forgot to clip the kite bag on and it went over the side,' he said, laughing.
Aboard Division D winner, Scarlett Runner, Grainny Skol, wife of owner Rob, stated the Farr 30’s win came down to the girl-power on board. 'We call ourselves the Scarletteers,' she said. 'None of the girls make mistakes on this boat – just the guys – so as long as they stay out of the way, all is fine,' she professed, tongue in cheek.
On a more serious note, Grainny said, 'We go fast in stronger winds, so more of the same would be great. We had a good race with M (Steve Hatch’s second placed Sydney 36CR) and we enjoyed every bit of it.'
James Neill and his new Cone of Silence won Division A2, even though he admitted only putting the kite up briefly on the second run. 'We probably should have put it up a bit more, but it goes pretty fast under main and jib anyway. We saw a few boats with kites in shreds and I didn’t want to be one of them; it kind of spoils your day.
'It was pretty windy at times, but great fun, and the boat is fast and very seaworthy. We plan to do the (Audi) Gold Coast Yacht Race with it this year,' he said of his new McConaghy 38, purchased in October. 'We only have a big kite at the moment; I’m having a smaller one made.'
Division H winner and longtime CYCA member and competitor, Paul O’Connell (Katinka), will have the pleasure of an Audi Drive Weekend. The weekly winner is offered a luxury Audi vehicle of their choice to drive for a weekend.
Other winners today were: Duende (Damien Parkes) Division A1; Nocturne (Gerard Kesby) Division B; Into the Mystic (Arthur Psaltis) Division C; Mortgage Choice Rumba (Robert Carr) Division F; Velocity (Brian Carrick) Division G; Katinka (Paul O’Connell) Division H; Nemesis (Jeffery Taylor) Division K and Zen (Gordon Ketelbey) Sydney 38.