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Festival of Sails – Business End

by John Curnow on 27 Jan 2013
Executive Decision - Business and Fun - Festival of Sails John Curnow ©
It’s Sunday at the Festival of Sails and that means it is time for the business of determining the 2013 Audi IRC Australian Champions.

In Class C, it will be Executive Decision that will walk away with the Audi branded spinnaker. Ikon is guaranteed a place in Class B and with just two points separating Class A leader Hooligan from two of her TP52 Sisters, it will go down to the finish line of the 17nm passage race that they currently sailing as the conditions change somewhat markedly.


Elsewhere at the Festival of Sails, the Cruising category were first to get away this morning and they settled in to the business of ascertaining who would go where and do what at the top, with some unfortunate flow on effects. Namely, these were some interesting ways to get around the mark, including a Beneteau sandwich, backwinding the headsail, and the requirement for headway in order to have steerage. Despite all the yelling, there was not one ‘Protest’ to be heard. Interesting…

The Audi IRC Australian Championship started at noon for a windward/leeward course on Corio’s outer harbour. A course of 170 degrees was set with 10 knots blowing through gently and sometimes a little effort of 12 appeared. The resultant fairly flat water made for great racing along the 2.25 and 1.6nm courses for the various classes.


Calm would be over by around 10 seconds and then quickly ducked back to get underway on Port tack. Calm 2 got squeezed between Hooligan and Shogun V, so then ultimately they fell out the back door and went over on to Port tack, as well. One TP that did not have to worry about any of this was Frantic, who did not leave the quay again this morning due to their Diesel failing and therefore their series was done.


The first work saw Hooligan and Shogun V put Calm 2 to bed, as Black Jack lead everyone around again. Barely 10 to 12 remained the prevailing scenario. Black Jack went around the bottom mark at least 40% of the leg in front, but as we saw yesterday, that is just not enough. Shogun went to the far gate in front of Hooligan, who came back around the right hand gate.

Calm 2 went on to claim the day’s first scalp after a great second run down the western side of the course. Shogun had chosen to stay East and it never really paid off for them, which is disappointing, given the state of play after the first rounding. This also shows that it is never over until you cross the line and strange things do happen out on the water, no matter how much talent is on board.

Celestial, the Rogers 46, jumped in to claim a second and relegate Hooligan to a very uncustomary third. The wind was a very soft 8-12, with the emphasis way more on the first number, but the sun had made it’s claim for a prize and was getting ever more powerful as the afternoon wore on. This is notable, as the ‘showers’ word had been given more than a mere spectator’s role in the original forecast.


One man happy to have got so many things achieved to date is the principal Race Officer, Denis Thompson. He said, ‘It has been a good regatta, with the wind behaving marvellously, so the sailing has been wonderful and the mostly sunny conditions have kept everyone in joyous spirits.’

‘There have not been too many hiccoughs, which given the volume of boats on multiple courses with overlaps and the resources required to achieve this, is both notable and commendable, so we’re delighted with the outcome.’
‘To see so many smiling sailors is always a good reward. What a great team we have had and the sailors have been very complimentary of the efforts and the many volunteers involved in the Festival of Sails. I would personally like to thank them and all the entrants for their support’, Denis finished with.


The Class B and C start saw Local Mocean go across the top of everyone. Ikon got buried as a result and Reverie was late. Executive Decision did a good job sneaking in just under the Committee Boat, albeit a little late and all of these vessels went right, while the remainder went left.

Ginger and Equinox II lead the fleet downhill, but it would be Ikon leading the main bunch down. Another of the Beneteau First 45s, Senna, would get the win on corrected time, but Ikon’s second place was enough to give them a tidy lead, overall.


In Class C, it was good to see Archie get past her issues of yesterday and not be last, but Executive Decision continued to dominate and despite being just beaten over the line by Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose, have shown both great resolve and a sense of humour as they go about their business and show all how keen they are to secure a new Audi branded kite.

For the next instalment of the Audi IRC Australian Championship, you will have to be in Newcastle on April 17 to 21, 2014. This will be the first time that the event has been conducted as a stand-alone regatta, so it will be fascinating and offer many a vantage point from the many beaches and cliff tops of the areas just South of the famous Nobbys Beach.

Well done to all crews, race management and especially the myriad of volunteers that help to make an event like this possible. See festivalofsails.com.au for more information.

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