SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011 day 4 - Tight at the top

Start of racing on Day 4 of SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week day 4.
Sailors competing on Day 4 of SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011 were greeted by bright sunshine, puffy white clouds and light breezes as they left the Nelly Bay Marina bound for their respective start lines out on Cleveland Bay.

With the forecast of 14-16 knots winds from the south east throughout the day, Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson set the Cruising I and Multihull Divisions the Bay Rock Northern Race; 24.3 nautical miles from the start off Nelly Bay, around the picturesque Magnetic Island coastline past Orchard Rocks and Horseshoe Bay to Bay Rock and return.

Cruising 2 and Non-spinnaker were set the 15.1 nautical mile White Rock Race, following a similar scenic course.

The IRC and Performance Racing Divisions were scheduled to sail windward leewards on Cleveland Bay.

With the promise of a great day's sailing ahead, at 11.00am the first of the divisions lined up to face the starter’s gun.

For the start of the passage races conditions were dramatically softer than yesterday with the breeze having dropped to less than eight knots.

At the Multihull start Malice, Mal Richardsons' Nacra 36, led off the line with Gavin Le Sueur's Crowther Design eDoc coming up fast.

As they headed to the first clearing mark, laid approximately one nautical mile upwind of the start, Malice led followed by eDoc. Barbarella, Mal Tynan's Schionning, looked like she would be third but The Boat, Graeme Etherton's Crowther Windspeed 32, tacked inside her.

It was not to be the Multihull Series leader Malice's day. After a minor breakage due to a collision with a submerged object she retired, opting to return to Nelly Bay marina and make repairs rather than risk further damage.

Conditions were good with 10 knots of breeze blowing, blue sky and sunshine.

Storm 2, Don Algie's Warwick 66, led the Cruising with Spinnaker 1 fleet off the line, followed by Ron Hayden's Jeanneau Sunfast, Cloud Nine.

At the Cruising with Spinnaker 2 start first day winner Salty Dog, Greg Hudson's Catalina Capri 25, did a brave port layline approach and got around ahead of the following fleet.

In the Cruising Non-Spinnaker Division Time Lord, Chris Waldron’s Bavaria 50 led Valdolese, Greg Sier’s Beneteau 461, as the fleet headed up the course.

Back on the IRC and PHS windward leeward course start line the breeze had picked up to around 15 knots with a rolling seaway.

Townsville sailor and IRC Series leader Leon Thomas (Guilty Pleasures III) and his crew arrived at the start line nearly two minutes late after suffering an earlier rigging problem at the marina.

Never A Dull Moment (Colin Wilson) was first to the top mark, six lengths ahead of Iota (John McNamara). Quattro (Graham Donnell) was third with Brilliant Pearl (Gary McCarthy) leading Guilty Pleasures III and Groove (Belinda Cooper).

Groove had a better spinnaker hoist than Guilty Pleasures and initially sailed up to her rival, but Guilty Pleasures got up on the plane and headed down the course.

Well back was Akarana (Ian Hamilton), very slow with their kite hoist. Iseulta (Tristram Denyer) followed.

In IRC, line honours win went to Quattro from Guilty Pleasures III and Brilliant Pearl. The handicap win in Race 4 went to Quattro from Brilliant Pearl and Guilty Pleasures III.

Never a Dull Moment took Performance Racing line honours from from Iota and Groove. The handicap win went to Groove from Never a Dull Moment and Iseulta.

IRC and PHS Race start, 5/9/2011, SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011

The start of Race 2 of the windward leewards series was delayed as the Race Committee changed the course. The breeze was now blowing steadily at 15 knots.

First across the line in IRC Racing was Quattro from Guilty Pleasures III and Brilliant Pearl. The handicap honours were the same.

Overall, after five races, Graham Donnell's Quattro leads the IRC Racing Series by two points over Leon Thomas' Guilty Pleasures III, with Gary McCarthy's Brilliant Pearl third.

Graham Donnell said ‘We are enjoying the battle, the windward leewards favoured us but anything could happen tomorrow.’

Performance Racing line honours in Race 2 of the day went to Never a Dull Moment from Iota and Groove. On handicap the win went to Groove, from Iota and Never a Dull Moment.

Sydney 32 Groove is the current Performance Racing Series leader after five races and skipper Belinda Cooper comes from Cairns. Smiling in the afternoon sunshine she said ‘We are seven Twisted Sisters – all from Far North Queensland.

‘We sailed at Airlie Beach and now at Magnetic Island – we seem to be on the pace and we are certainly working well as a team.’

Groove is two points clear of John McNamara's Iota, with Colin Wilson's Never a Dull Moment one point further back in third.

Gavin Le Sueur's eDoc took the Multihull line honours, well ahead of tussling duo, Barbarella and The Boat, who crossed the line with under a minute between them. eDoc took the handicap win from Barbarella and The Boat.

The Multihull Overall Series leader after three races is eDoc, two points clear of Malice (Mal Richardson) with Barbarella (Mal Tynan) third.

Wes Bailey from Malice explained their retirement from today’s race. ‘We hit something relatively hard, it might have been a semi-submerged log, we were doing 12 knots at time.

‘The impact was on the starboard rudder. The rudder is OK, and it was the rudder housing that was damaged. It’s now been fixed and we are ready to go sailing again tomorrow.’

Cruising with Spinnaker Division 1 line honours went to Don Algie's Storm 2, from Phillip King's Solona II with Ron Hayden's Cloud Nine third. Warrigal, James Finch's Finch 40 from the Townsville Yacht club took the handicap win from Alan Sneddon's Pacific Phoenix, with Mick Gillum's Panacea third.

James Finch skipper of Warrigal said 'She likes the lighter conditions, she performed well last year. We have had survival sails up so far. Tomorrow we will get our regatta sails up so we are expecting another good day.'

Overall Series leader of the Cruising with Spinnaker Division 1 after three races is Solona II, two points clear of Amaya (Peter Boxall) with Cloud Nine third.

Cruising with Spinnaker Division 2 line honours went to Gary Bruce's Fly N High. Gary Davidson's Clipper of Capricorn was second, with Jack Maguire's Zen, third. The handicap win went to Peter McKenzie's Le Rossignol from Matthew Stirling's Castle 650 Knight Rider, making a podium debut. Doug Ryan's Magic was third.

Overall Cruising with Spinnaker Division 2 Series leader is Fly 'N' High, five points clear of Salty Dog and Le Rossignol, tied on 13 points apiece.

Cruising Non-Spinnaker line honours went to Chris Waldron's Time Lord from Barry Waugh's The Waugh Ship with Russell McLaughlin's Freya third. The handicap win went to Greg Sier's Valdolese from podium debutants, Ann Kingston's Falcon and Andrew Burford's Tucana.

Overall Series leader after three races is Freya from Valdolese. Peter and Paula Cox's Valhalla leads Time Lord on countback for third.

With many divisions still tight at the top tomorrow's final day of racing at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011 will determine the podium placings.

Racing is scheduled to commence at 11.00am on Cleveland Bay.

Cruising Fleet, 5/9/2011, SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011