On Friday August 10th the two fastest sailing boats in the southern hemisphere will clash in their first race series at the 23rd annual Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012.
Team Vodafone Sailing flying - Airlie Beach Race Week 2011
Simon Hull’s red and white Team Vodafone Sailing, formerly French multihull legend Michel Desjoyeaux's Route du Rhum and Transat winning ORMA trimaran Geant, is back for her second Airlie Beach regatta.
Unbeaten in New Zealand, Team Vodafone powered in from New Caledonia last week after smashing the Auckland to Noumea race record by an amazing 20.5 hours. She is berthed in the Abel Point Marina in Airlie Beach.
Team Vodafone will be lining up against Sean Langman’s Team Australia. In April Team Australia convincingly proved she is the fastest racing yacht in Australia, taking almost two and a half hours off the Brisbane to Gladstone race record.
Langman’s trimaran, also an Orma 60 (18.2 metres), is all pedigree. As Banque Populaire IV she set a 24 hour speed record for 667 nautical miles. She was campaigned by BMW Oracle and then by Alinghi as they prepared for the first multihull America’s Cup in Valencia.
Aucklander Simon Hull is excited about the coming battle.
‘We’ve both proven we are much faster than the fastest 100 foot monohulls, like the multi-times Sydney Hobart winner Wild Oats XI and we’ve both been setting records.
‘There is a big multihull fleet at Airlie Beach; looking at the entries with six weeks to go we could have 20 on the start line this year.
‘Last year we were not hitting the start line at 24 knots as we could have as we had been slowing down to the speed of the rest of the fleet then finding the gap and putting our foot to the floor.
‘It will be a little bit different having Sean there. We will both be pushing it harder.
‘We’ve lined up together just once before, in an unofficial Sydney Southport Race just between the two boats last year.
‘Sean had only just got the boat into the country and they were very much on a steep learning curve so we cleaned them up pretty convincingly, but her new Brisbane to Gladstone record showed he's got it pretty sorted.’
Sean Langman agreed. ‘We are in good shape. This is racing at another speed level. We’ve worked on the boat quite a bit since the Gladstone race. We are getting new foils and hopefully this will give us an extra edge.’
Simon Hull concluded ‘If Airlie Beach can turn it on like last year, we’ll have a nice 20 to 25 knot breeze during the passage races and pretty flat water.
‘Midwinter sailing, tee shirt weather, the two fastest boats in the southern hemisphere, beautiful conditions and beautiful scenery.
‘Bring it on!!
NOR and on-line entry available at Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012 www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au
Sean Langman's Orma 60 Trimaran 'Team Australia' arriving at Noakes - Trans Tasman Tri Challenge 2011