by Ian Grant
Whitsunday sail-marker Charles Wallis - respected as a master yacht racing tactician - faces a tough challenge to defend the Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week Performance handicap title later this year.
Reignition skipper Charles Wallis and crew
Wallis regarded by his rivals as a crafty skipper who is difficult to roll when he gets in front has been forced to battle it out in disturbed wind and water to record unfamiliar results in recent racing on Pioneer Bay.
Normally both he and his Reignition crew would have the recently revamped Murray Burns and Dovell designed 41 racing in the front of the fleet contesting corrected handicap honours but this has not been the case during the months of January and February.
However skipper Wallis seems to be the least concerned about what appears to be a slump in form with Reignition presently placed out of contention to win the Whitsunday Sailing Club Twilight sprint race championship.
There is no evidence to suggest that the championship winning Reignition crew are ‘sand-bagging’ in view of being allocated a favourable handicap when they line up against a high standard fleet to defend their 2012 Telcoinabox trophy in August.
Wallis a long term sail maker and a talented helmsman has the experience to manage and ultimately solve his problem with boat speed.
Sure while he is not happy with reading the names on the stern of the 2013 front runners Treasure V111 (Harold Menelaus). Rising Farrst (Tim Osborne) and the Damien Suckling helmed Another Fiasco the aging Reignition will probably have a secret ‘go-fast ‘ sail when the crew line up to defend their title later this year.
Meanwhile their Whitsunday Sailing Club rivals are also aware that Reignition is yet to race with the rig which her crew have identified as the ‘money bags’ after they recorded their popular Telcoinabox trophy win over the Geoff Lavis helmed Sydney sloop UBS Wild Thing and the Damien Suckling skippered Another Fiasco last August.
While their title defence is a little under six months away skipper Wallis still has the time to show that Reignition will be on the pace but at the moment both he and his talented crew who presently hold eighth place on progressive points need to show an improvement or face a stiffer task to win back the respect and the ranking as the masters of racing over the tactically demanding Whitsunday Sailing club’s short course ‘torture track’.