by Ian Grant
Maurice Drent Boating Services trophy series on Pioneer Bay has seen veteran Whitsunday Sailing Club skipper Harold Menelaus serve notice that he is on the pace after steering Treasure V111 to a comfortable two minute nineteen second win.
Treasure V111 - Harold Menelaus skipper
The skilled chance to test his skills in the gentle trade winds remained as the leading pace setter for corrected handicap honours while the Charles Wallace owned Reignition maintained an early grip on setting the fastest course time.
As expected the superior speed potential shown by the Reignition crew allowed them to dominate the line honours but they were challenged to outpace their high 1.044 handicap rating to win over the lower handicapped Treasure V111 .844, the Jeff Brown helmed 007 .906 and Roger Down’s True Love .869.
After 30 minutes of racing Reignition predictably held a commanding lead and was setting a fair pace at the head of the fleet but her crew eventually ran out of time and distance to feature in the corrected handicaps finishing a disappointing ninth. Jeff Brown again sailed his usual clever tactical race which provided 007 with the chance to feature in the major places.
However his second on line honours and the course time of 1 hour 2 minutes 51 seconds fell well short of the required time to shut out the challenge from Treasure V111.
Sure the soft nature of the wind and sea conditions suited the features of the American Reichel /Pugh designed Treasure V111 but her skipper and crew still had to make the time saving decisions to protect her chance of winning on overall handicap. Eventually time on the official race clock favoured the Treasure V111 crew when they completed the course with the third fastest time of one hour four minutes 43 seconds.
The Treasure V111 crew effectively outpaced the fleet on all angles of sailing to record a comfortable outright win leaving the rival crews on 007, True Love and the John Galloway skippered Queensland Marine Services winner from race one of the Maurice Drent Boating Services series to rethink their tactical options to match the pace of Treasure V111 when the sails are tensioned for the important race three honours this week.
Meanwhile the crafty Old Salt Harold Menelaws has set the benchmark however he and crew will need to focus their attention on protecting their sailing space against the threat of some aggressive sailing from the crews on 007, True Love and Queensland Marine Services who remain keen to salvage some lost pride.