Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week day 4 of racing and 'Huey' was again kind, turning on the glorious sunshine and great sailing breeze yet again.
Team Vodaphone Sailing flying - Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week 2011
After three days of superb weather and great racing, it was 'more of the same' for yesterday's lay day and as the yachts left Meridien Marinas Abel Point Marina this morning, smiles were wide and the atmosphere charged as the sailors and race officials alike looked forward to another top day of racing.
Faced with south easterly trades, Principal Race Officer Tony Denham sent the Multihulls and IRC Racing fleet clockwise around the very scenic Molle Island course – from the Mandalay clearing mark across to the northern tip of North Molle Island (Hannah Point) then down the eastern side, passing South Molle and around Denman Island, then across to White Rock, back up the Molle Channel, across Pioneer Bay to the Bluff mark, near the mainland shore and back to the finishing line in Pioneer Bay – a distance of 27 nautical miles.
The IRC Cruising fleet, the Super 30’s and Cruising 1 fleet were set a slightly shorter course; rounding Pioneer Point thence to the Mandalay mark and to the finishing line – 24 nautical miles in all.
The Cruising Division 2 and Non-Spinnaker fleets were sent on a 22 nautical mile course, missing White Rock and sailing around Roma Point and then back to the finish.
The Sport Boat fleet headed north west on an equally spectacular 27 nautical mile Gumbrell Island course and with white caps appearing out in the passage, they certainly seemed to be in for a wet and thrilling ride.
With 15-20 knots blowing out in the passage, the multihulls were a little too eager off the line and a general recall ensued. The second start was better, just two OCS.
TeamVodafoneSailing (Simon Hull) led the multihulls away. She flew around the top mark and reached away towards Pioneer Rock. Behind her e-Marineworld Bare Essentials was second for a short while, before she was overtaken by Mal Robertson’s Nacra 36 Malice. Behind her lurked the purple hulled Cynaphobe (Dave Chittleborough). Trilogy was last after being over early at the start line.
The brilliant red Orma 60 again turned on an excellent display in the freshening conditions flying around the course, her crew cheering as she hit 31 knots in a gust during the long reach towards North Molle. She finished at 12:16:06pm and scored the 'daily double', line honours and the handicap win. It was TVS first official Australian handicap win.
TeamVodafoneSailing at top mark
Second across the line was Mal Richardson’s Malice, with Tim Pepperell’s e-Marineworld Bare Essentials third. Trilogy paid dearly for her early start, finishing behind Cynophobe.
However the day was not totally lost for the Trilogy crew, a second on handicap made them smile. Malice completed the podium.
Race Start for the multihulls - Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach 22nd Annual Race Week 2011
Overall Trilogy still leads the Series by two points, with TeamVodafoneSailing moving into second. Peter Berry’s J’Ouvert, with a sixth place today in race 4, dropped back to third.
In the IRC Racing fleet John McNamara’s Farr 40 Iota led at the clearing mark. Behind her Wayne Millar’s Bashford 41 Zoe climbed higher. Initially it seemed she would be adversely affected by more wind shadow from Mount Connor as the boats headed east across Pioneer Bay, but as the boats approached Pioneer Point she began to sail around her younger rival. However Neil Padden's Beneteau 40.7 Neat Engineering Wailea was quite close behind with Philosopher's Club fourth.
Iota and Zoe kept close company all around the course, but it was Iota who took line honours less than two minutes ahead of Zoe, with Peter Sorensen’s The Philosopher’s Club third. On handicap however it was The Philosopher’s Club from Neil Padden’s Neat Engineering Wailea with Iota third.
Iota (background) and Zoe - IRC Racing Class. Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week 2011 day 4
The Philosopher’s Club leads the IRC Racing Series Overall. Second is Rob Davis’ Nutcracker with Neat Engineering Wailea third.
Former 18 footer world champion, 2008 Australian IRC Champion and Chief Philosopher Peter Sorensen was smiling as he had a quiet little drink at the Competitor’s Marquee, while he waited for The Wolverines to start their first session.
'Sorro' said 'Yesterday we had trouble getting our heads around the shifts on the windward leeward course.' (The Nutracker crew won both round the cans races yesterday.)
‘But today was just wonderful. Ya gotta love sailing around the islands with this wind and sunshine. We were really fast, we just loved the long work. We just want more of the same tomorrow.'
Ocean Affinity, Stewart Lewis’ Marten 49 took line honours in race 4 for the IRC Cruising fleet. It was a great tussle between Darryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau 45 Victoire and Tony Ross’ Cracklin’ Rosie, with Victoire triumphant by .03 of a second.
The handicap win went to Victoire from Michael Keough’s Evolution Racing, with Ocean Affinity third.
Victoire leads the Series Overall by way of consistent 2, 1, 1, 1 scores. She is now three points clear of Evolution Racing, with Mike Welsh’s Wicked holding third.
In the Super 30 class it was another tight tussle amongst the three Farr 30’s; Jeanine and Jon Drummond’s Loco, Leon Thomas’ Guilty Pleasures III and Jeff Paul’s Immigrant.
But in the end John Lindholm’s Thompson 980 Dark Energy took line honours from Guilty Pleasures III with Loco third. On handicap Guilty Pleasures III took the win from Loco and Dark Energy.
With one drop now coming into play, Townsville's Guilty Pleasures III is the clear leader scoring first places in five races (their race drop is also a first place). Loco is second with Dark Energy currently holding third.
Leon Thomas as always was modest. 'My team is the key to any success we have, just glad they tolerate my steering' he smiled.
In the Sports Boats class Brett Whitebread's Egan 7 Bloke’s World was just leading Bob Cowan’s Stealth 8 Stealthy, though it seemed maybe it would not be for long, as Cowan was heating up to round his rival. Further back Cam Rae’s Shaw 650 Monkey Business was well advanced.
Sports Boats SMS Division 1 line honours went to Jason Rucket’s Mister Magoo, with Scott Creedon’s Mustard Cutter, just ahead of Heath Townsend’s Kaito. The handicap win went to Richard Devries’ Go Majik, from Michael Green’s Evergreen, with Mister Magoo third. Overall SMS 1 leader is Kaito, from Go Majik and Mister Magoo.
SMS Division 2 line honours went to Pierre Gal’s Kiss, from Bloke’s World and Stealthy. On handicap Blokes World took the win over Kiss, with David Mann’s Situation Normal third. SMS Div 2 Overall leader is Kiss, from Blokes World and Stealthy.
The Overall SMS leader after six races, with one drop now in play, is Kiss. Two points further back is Blokes World, with Stealthy third.
Ray White Mordialloc (foreground) and Monkey Business (background) - Sports Boat class. Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week 2011 day 4
Don Algie’s Storm 2 took line honours in Cruising Division 1 from Hammer of Queensland (Seiichi Yoshikawa) and Eureka II (Chris Stockdale).
The handicap win went to Hammer of Queensland from Greg Egan’s Sirocco, with Storm 2 third.
Overall Series leader is Ron Hayden’s Cloud Nine from Storm 2 and Phillip King’s Last Tango.
Morgan Rogers’ Wavesweeper took line honours in the Cruising Non-Spinnaker class today from Greg Sier’s Valdolese, with Barry Waugh’s The Waughship third. On handicap Graham Manvell’s Blownaway Too won the day from Roger Boast’s Serendipity and Waughship.
Overall, Henry Kelder’s Bluenose still holds a three point lead over Blownaway Too, with Wayne Banks-Smith’s Joie De Vie, Valdolese and Serendipity all tied on 18 points.
Race 4 for Cruising Division 2 line honours went to Manly Too (Peter McAdam) from Nick Thomas and Col Cox’s Hans-On, with Anthony Dyson’s Eternity third. The handicap win went to Matthew Bradley’s Spirit, from Alan Sneddon’s Pacific Phoenix, with Mike Keyte’s Wings third.
Overall Series leader is Gerard Young’s Spike from Manly Too and Hans-On.
The Performance Racing division started at 11.50am, sailing windward leewards on Pioneer Bay and completed two races today.
Race 4 line honours went to Damian Suckling’s Another Fiasco from Terry Archer’s Questionable Logic, with Robert Green’s dream third. The handicap win went to Tim Osborne’s U.E.S. Rising Farrst from Craig Piccinelli’s Wobbly Boots, with Peter Mosely’s Local hero third.
In Race 5 Dream crossed ahead of Questionable Logic with Another Fiasco one second further back. The Handicap win went to Rod Saywer’s trusty Surefoot, from Questionable Logic with Local hero third.
Its tight at the top of the leaderboard and after five races the Overall leader is Surefoot by just half a point, over Dream and Questionable Logic, who are both tied on 23 points a piece.
After racing today the ever popular Wolverines entertained the packed crowd, happy sailors looking forward to tonight's festivities and another magic day of sailing tomorrow.
Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week Day 4 - Wolverines are playing -this is the overflow outside the tent