by Di Pearson
Veteran sailor Stephen Ainsworth capped his four-year partnership with his Reichel/Pugh 63 Loki on a winning note, bagging the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Blue Water Point Score (BWPS) after landing second overall in the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
Loki captures second BWPS victory in three seasons
Ainsworth, who has announced he is selling the yacht that has kept him in the headlines for the past four seasons to spend more time with his family, also won the prestigious BWPS in 2010/2011.
This time, though, his success is more clear-cut, as the Sydney businessman led the series going into the final race, the Rolex Sydney Hobart, by four points to Sam Haynes’ Rodgers 46, Celestial.
Following the race, Loki beat Celestial by 10 points, with the Ed Psaltis/Bob Thomas/Michael Bencsik owned AFR Midnight Rambler, a Ker 40, third, a further four points in arrears for the trophy that goes to the winner of the IRC category.
Last season, despite winning three races, including the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Ainsworth finished fourth overall when conditions favoured the smaller yachts in the remaining three races.
In 2012, Ainsworth’s goal was well defined: 'We were confident going in and we were not too shabby – second overall, first in division – and the Blue Water Pointscore. We drop a second place; that’s something that doesn’t happen too often,' he said of their almost faultless season.
Loki’s year included winning the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race overall, for which it claimed a new conventional yacht record and took the line and handicap double in Race 2, the Flinders Islet Race, for which it set a new record in 2010 and still holds. The RP63 also won the Cabbage Tree Island Race.
'It doesn’t get much better, especially for my last race for a while,' said Ainsworth who also won PHS honours.
Sam Haynes had his day, too, winning the Bird Island Race, and staying consistent in the other races to claim the ORCi category from AFR Midnight Rambler by seven points. Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose finished third. Haynes also finished third overall in PHS, with James Cameron’s Luna Sea in second place, six points behind Loki.
Sam Haynes has vowed to return with Celestial and win next year after finished second this year
'We were absolutely stoked to finish the Hobart this time,' said Haynes whose last two efforts finished in retirements with breakages and broken hearts.
'That’s led to a second overall in the Blue Water Pointscore, a win in ORCi (Cape Byron Series) and third in PHS (Tasman Performance Series). We are very, very, happy to do so well and we’ll be coming back to try and win next year.'
Haynes was thrilled with his third overall in Division 2 of the Rolex Sydney Hobart and winning ORCi Division 2, leading to his BWPS end result. 'We sailed in a solid 45 knots from Maria Island down the coast of Tasmania. Our wind dial reached 59.3 knots at one stage.
'We had 17 sails on the boat and we used every one of them. It was the most amazing experience - the Hobart - we had a bit of everything. In the midst of the heavy winds, we went to almost no breeze at all. It was very challenging, but exciting at the same time.'
Wild Rose also had an extraordinary Hobart race, the first Division 4 yacht to finish after Roger Hickman sailed her to 13th place overall, beating all of the Division 2 and 3 yachts overall.
The Blue Water Pointscore consists of six races, starting with the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July and ending with the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
In between, entrants contested the Bird Island, Flinders Islet, Cabbage Tree Island and Lion Island-Botany Bay races.
For full results in the Blue Water Pointscore Series standings log on to: Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 2012