Tradewinds of 16-18 knots with gusts up to 24 were on the menu for day 2 of the fifth annual SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week.
John McNamara’s Iota - SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011
Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson this morning announced the much anticipated Magnetic Island and Bay Rock Race would be the course for today.
The course is very picturesque; from Nelly Bay, past Orchard Rocks and Horseshoe Bay, around White Rock and across Five Beaches Bay and then to West Point, past Middle Reef and back to the finish, 22 nautical miles in all for the IRC, Performance Racing, Multihull and Cruising with Spinnaker 1 divisions.
Cruising with Spinnaker Division 2 and Cruising Non-Spinnaker divisions were set a shorter 20.8 nautical mile course around Magnetic Island.
As the fleet approached the start line the sky darkened, the breeze built and the the seaway chop increased. The starts appeared clean but the conditions quickly deteriorated.
Malice, Mal Richardson’s Nacra 36, was the first multihull away with Mal Tyan's Barbarella second. Third was Gavin Le Sueur's Crowther catamaran eDoc. Forty minutes later Malice flew around Bay Rock, followed shortly thereafter by eDoc.
Storm 2, Don Algie’s Warwick 66 was next followed by John McNamara’s modified IOR Farr 40 Iota. Townsville local Graham Donnell on Quattro was being chased by fellow local Leon Thomas and his Guilty Pleasures III crew as they headed towards the finish line.
Behind them lay carnage, the fleet experiencing difficulties in the building swell and gusting breeze.
The first retirement was David Jackson’s Inglis 47 Wild. She lost her rudder off Arcadia and was towed back to Nelly Bay by the Coast Guard.
Iseulta, Tristram Denyer’s Bavaria 37, lost steering but opted to complete the race using her emergency steering.
Caledonia, Malcolm Mitchell’s Bavaria 44, was dismasted when a forestay fitting broke. Instant Karma, Paul Wise’s Bavaria 38, stood by until no longer required and then continued racing. Once Caledonia's rig was cut away she was able to return to the Nelly Bay marina under motor. Lady Mystique, Ron Freeman’s Beneteau Oceanis from the Townsville Cruising Yacht Club, also retired.
Due to the worsening conditions the Race Committee prudently decided to shorten the course for Cruising 2 and Non-Spinnaker Divisions.
Malice was first boat across the finish line completing the course in a time of 1:44.:45.
Second in the Multihull Division was eDoc (Gavin Le Sueur) with Ian Johnson's Lightwave 38 Salacia, third. Malice took the handicap win from eDoc and Salacia. Overall Series leader is Malice, from eDoc and Salacia.
Dockside Malice skipper Mal Richardson said 'We worked hard yesterday and last night double checking everything on the boat. We are just glad that it all stayed together. Our strategy today was just not to break anything.'
Navigator Mark Vickers commented 'We saw gusts to 27 knots and had solid 24s. We flew around to Bay Rock in 40 minutes and it took us another 40 minutes just to get to Middle Reef and then the balance of the time to get to the finish line but it's a benchmark time.'
First boat home in IRC was Leon Thomas' Guilty Pleasures III crossing one second ahead of Graham Donnell's Quattro. Third was Brilliant Pearl skippered by Gary McCarthy. Quattro took the handicap win from Guilty Pleasures III with Brilliant Pearl third. Quattro leads the Series Overall on count back from Guilty Pleasures and Brilliant Pearl.
Graham Donnell, skipper of Quattro, commented ‘Yesterday’s winner Leon Thomas was ten minutes ahead of us on handicap and he beat us by less than a metre over the line today but we have outgunned him.
‘It was really choppy coming up from Middle Reef. The boat goes best in breeze so we are hoping for the same again tomorrow.’
Performance Racing line honours went to Colin Wilson's Lyons, Never a Dull Moment. Iota (John McNamara) was second with Belinda Cooper's Groove third. The handicap win went to Akarana, Ian Hamilton's Farr 1104 from the Townsville Cruising Yacht Club. Second was Iota with Never a Dull Moment third. The Overall Series leader is Iota on count back from Groove, with Akarana third.
Wilson commented ‘Really it was just a good trade wind sailing day on the water in Far North Queensland. We saw the little boats in our division planing on the run behind us so the handicap results are not so good.’
Line honours in Race 2 for the Cruising with Spinnaker Division 1 fleet went to Storm 2 from Solona II (Phillip King) and Cloud Nine (Ron Hayden). Today's handicap winner was Solona II with Storm 2 second and Cloud Nine third. The Overall Series leader is Phillip King's Solona II, three points ahead of Cloud Nine with Storm 2 one point further back in third.
Ron Hayden skipper of Cloud Nine said ‘Perfect conditions for a Jeanneau 42. We were on Cloud Nine. We sailed the boat well but Amaya was probably too quick today.
‘Full credit to my sail makers – Hood - the sails are durable and well shaped. We saw 32 knots true approaching Bay Rock with a reef in main and no 3 well balanced.’
Doug Ryan's Farr 1104 Magic was the line honours winner in Cruising Division 2. Clipper of Capricorn, Gary Davidson's Sunbeam was second with Gary Bruce's Ross 780 Fly N High, third. Fly N High took the handicap win from Magic and Cool Me Down, Naree and Peter Carton Sonata 6 from the Townsville Cruising Yacht Club. Overall Series leader is Fly N High six points ahead of Salty Dog (Greg Hudson) with Zen (Jack Maguire) one point further back.
Time Lord’s skipper Chris Waldron was happy to take the line honours win in Cruising Non-Spinnaker. ‘Today was good for us. We had a good start, we were first rounding mark and we passed boats from the division ahead on the way down the back of the Island.
‘On the beat home the wind really kicked in, we saw gusts of up to 30 knots. We got caught with our number 1 headsail so we suffered from that. However we got the gun and we will see how we go on handicap.
‘Being from Melbourne the heavy winds, shallow water chop and warm wind reminds us of home in mid-summer.’
Second across the line in Non-Spinnaker was Valhalla, Peter and Paula Cox's Dufour 385 Grand Lar, just ahead of Russell McLaughin's Catalina, Freya. The handicap win went to Valhalla, from Andrew Burford's Tucana, with Freya third. Freya leads the Series Overall, from Kachina (Phillip McGuire) with Time Lord third.
The summary for today came from the smiling sail-maker Ian Broad from Never a Dull Moment. ‘A tropical Hobart really, in a tropical Bass Strait.’
2011 SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week full results available at www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au