by Ian Grant
Dual Audi Australian Ocean racing champion Rod Jones and his A5 Alegria V crew again showed they can master a long and tedious slog against unfavourable hot headwinds to win line honours in the Surf to City race last weekend.
Alegria V Audi is ready
A5 Alegria V designed by Englishman Hugh Welbourn started the 93.6 n/ml Southport to Sandgate race as the short priced line honours favourite and did not disappoint her supporters in what proved to be a supreme test of head wind sailing into a typical low velocity summer sea breeze.
The highly talented crew racing under the Maroochy Sailing Club burgee again expressed their skill to excel in the ‘slug fest’ to eventually score an over the horizon line honours victory ahead of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s J133 Patriot (Tony Love) and the Chris Morgan helmed J130 Ragtime.
While the slog against a variable 12-16 knot sea breeze was hot and slow offering the crew little relief as they tacked along the ocean beaches of Stradbroke and Moreton Islands in temperatures which peaked 27.3 degrees their purpose always remained with sailing on the gaining tack.
Their course involved tacking towards the first line of the surf before heading to the safer and deeper waters offshore however the sail trimmers who lost count of the endless number of times they tacked understood every metre gained meant they were moving closer to the finish.
They had weathered Cape Moreton and cooler post dusk hours provided relief from the heat when they finally entered Moreton Bay to set the spinnaker for the run to the finish.
When A5 Alegria V crossed with a course time of 13 hours 34 minutes 40 seconds her crew then focused on the corrected IRC handicap results.
They had sailed a tactically clever race but the lower handicapped Patriot helmed by Brisbane to Noumea race winner Tony Love managed to protect Patriot’s rating to deny the A5 Alegria V crew from making a clean sweep of the IRC class trophies.
Patriot’s winning margin of two minutes 57 seconds or 1.89 seconds per nautical mile proved the difference between the two experienced crews in what proved to be a close corrected handicap result.
Only 16 minutes 23 seconds separated Patriot, A5 Alegria V, Ragtime and the Mark Bradford helmed Black Jack Too in the race which tested the patience and light wind tactical skill of all crews who are preparing to draw their battle lines on the 308n/ml QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone course over the Easter weekend.
Mooloolaba sailing academy coach Rob Lea and his AUDI sponsored Sunshine Coast young guns crew showed they were well prepared for the marathon test when they recorded a clean sweep in IRC Division 2.
They beat the highly fancied Scott Murphy skippered Sandgate sloop Out of Orbit for the prized line honours to also record the fastest corrected handicap which was a fitting reward for the ‘rookie’ team of offshore sailors.