by Ian Grant
Julian Griffiths has temporally laid up his boat building tools in his Sunshine Coast boat shed to test his gifted skills in the Corsair Marine Australian Multihull championship on Brisbane’s Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron courses.
Griffiths well known in the industry for his meticulous boat building craftsmanship is also respected in the sport as a very talented sailor and has recently focused his attention on racing in the fast lane as skipper of the speedy catamaran Hot Vindaloo.
The impressively fast 8.5m Firefly catamaran originally built in Mackay by John Strickland has continued to show her pace racing against a number of more modern rivals representing South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
However while Hot Vindaloo has been seriously tested the combination of skipper Julian Griffiths and crew have proved that the ‘Old Girl’ still has a turn of speed to remain as a major medal contender.
After the initial three races contested in a varied range of wind velocities and sea conditions from a glassy calm 4 knot drifter to a supreme test of survival sailing in a 26 knot sea breeze and foam crested two metre waves Hot Vindaloo while being outpaced by the championship favourite the Keith Glover skippered Trilogy is placed second with an improving score of 4-3-2.
Trilogy recently re-rigged with all the latest developments of modern technology including a canting mast has proved the fastest corrected handicap performer at the championship winning race 1 by a runaway 19minutes 57 seconds and race 2 by 3-41 and race 3 by 3-48 for her experienced owner skipper to place a firmer grip on the 2011 National championship trophy.
Meanwhile with three races to sail before the final on Friday skipper Julian Griffiths and the Hot Vindaloo crew remain in the minor medal dog-fight against the former National champion Rob Remilton’s Wilparina 11.
Rob Remilton who races under the South Australian Goolwa Yacht Club burgee remains a serious threat with Hot Vindaloo (4-3-2) holding second provisionally over Wilparina 11 (2-5-3) by a narrow one point margin.
This suggests the Hot Vindaloo crew will need to protect their sailing space to be assured of winning a deserved silver medal in what promises to be an exciting final.
Naturally skipper Julian Griffiths and his Hot Vindaloo sailing team would prefer a ‘brute breeze’ where they have proved to be faster but they are warned that their South Australian medal rivals have never been known to back away from becoming engaged in a tactical dog-fight to protect their reputation.