Day 3 of Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week promised to be yet another great day on the water for the large fleet participating at this year's event. And indeed it was just that.
IRC Racing fleet on the windward/leeward course - Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012
The Race Committee announced the Gumbrell Island Race as the day’s course; 27nm in length for IRC Racing and Multihulls, 24nms for IRC Cruising, Performance Racing and Cruising Division 1 and 20nm for Non-Spinnaker and Sports Boats divisions. For IRC Racing it was windward/ leewards in Pioneer Bay.
As the Multihull fleet approached the start in Pioneer Bay, a big gap opened on the pin end of the line and Team Vodafone Sailing (Simon Hull) seized their opportunity and powered over the line towards the first mark with Malice (Mal Richardson) and APC Mad Max (Tony Considine) in hot pursuit.
The IRC Cruising division was next to start. Optimus Prime (Trevor Taylor), Tulip (Bernie Van T’Hof) and local boat Bobby D (Ross Winterbourne) started at the committee boat end, while White Noise (Jason Close) with guest sailor Jessica Watson on board, started at the pin end. It was a clean start and the boats streamed across the line towards the first mark.
The Performance Racing start was won by Where's Wal? (Roger Jepson) with Dark Star (John Bacon), Local hero (Peter Mosely) and UBS Wild Thing (Geoff Lavis) following closely.
Tim Pepperell’s Grainger multihull Bare Essentials missed her start but soon accelerated away amongst the Performance Racing fleet.
Storm 2 (Don Algie) led the Cruising Division 1 fleet after just squeezing across the line at the pin end.
The breeze in the Bay was five to eight knots from the south-east and constant as Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson) hit the line first in the Cruising Non Spinnaker fleet, closely followed by Wave Sweeper (Peter Hall) and local boat Riff Raff (Dan White).
It was an exciting start for the Sports Boats, the last division to be gunned away. Five boats started on port at the pin end, closely bunched. That group included Vitesse (David Farrimond), Monkey Business (Cam Rae) and Mister Magoo (Jason Ruckert). Series leader Raptor (Mark Buchbach) hit the pin and had to return but eventually started behind Conquistador (Peter Sorensen).
Further up the course there was congestion amongst the Cruising Non Spinnaker boats as the giant Warwick 80 Maatsuyker (Ron Morrison) appeared to almost stall as she approached the mark.
First sports boat to the mark was Conquistador, followed by Blokes World (Brett Whitbread) and Mister Magoo. With a large group of boats trying to round the mark, Monkey Business somehow managed to tuck in and squeeze around ahead of about 20 other boats.
Once out of the Bay, the breeze lifted to 15-18 knots, at times reaching 22 plus knots.
In the vicinity of Grimston Point a whale and her calf were sighted, making things interesting for the fleet.
In the excellent conditions, Team Vodafone Sailing completed the course at 13:06:15, in a time of 2 hours, 36 minutes and 15 seconds.
Meanwhile back in Pioneer Bay the IRC Racing division had commenced their windward/leeward races.
For race 1 the course was set at 100 degrees, with 1.6nm leg lengths, in 10-14 knots of breeze. Yendys (Geoff Ross) started on the pin end with Black Label (Tony Ross) further up the line.
By the top mark Yendys was well clear and held a big time margin over the next boat Zen (Gordon Ketelbey). Black Label followed. 'Robbo' Roberton’s Lunchtime Legend had lost considerable ground by the mark.
Yendys approached the finish line clearly in control of the race. Back in the fleet a battle for the minor podium honours was taking place. Yendys took the double win. Take Flight (Mike Keyte) was second on handicap, Zen third.
The fleet settled and went into sequence for the second race of the day. Yendys started on the pin end, Zen above her. Brilliant Pearl (Gary McCarthy) and Black Label chose the committee boat end and as the fleet headed to the mark for the first time, both boats were doing well up the right hand side of the course.
In the end, race 2 of the day was another Yendys double. Lunchtime Legend was second on handicap, Black Label third.
After four races, the IRC Racing series leader is Yendys. Lunchtime Legend is second with Zen third.
On the Gumbrell Island course, more multihulls were headed to the finish in Pioneer Bay. Malice led APC Mad Max and Cynophobe, Pete Millar’s Grainger Panther from the Whitsunday Sailing Club.
Keith Glover’s Trilogy took the handicap win in race 3 from South Australian skipper Rob Remilton’s Wilparina 11, with Adrian Fawcett’s Hot Vindaloo third.
Overall OMR Multihulls series leader is Trilogy with nine points. One point behind and in second is Mal Richardson’s Malice. Hot Vindaloo is third.
Malice skipper Mal Richardson was all smiles dockside. ‘It was a crystal clear day. Once we got out to the good breeze, past the Cones and Armit, we managed to keep Vodafone in sight and watched her as she rounded the mark; we haven’t been that close so far.
‘It was good downwind sailing. On the way home we were in company with Mad Max and we actually crossed tacks several times and we managed to pip her on the line. We had 20 knots downwind, 12 or 13 upwind.
‘Last year breakages cost us dearly. This year we spent a month prior to the event in the Whitsundays making sure everything on the boat was right and it’s paying off.
‘Today was magnificent sailing.'
The race 3 handicap win for Performance Multihulls went to Alasdair Noble’s Mc Moggy, from Cheetah (Steve Halter, Schionning 1320) and Su Mare (David Eldridge, Corsair 31uc). Line honours went to Keith Robert’s Wild Thing (Tennant).
Overall series leader is MC Moggy, two points clear of Rum Raider (Scott Millar) with Su Mare third.
Rum Raider's skipper, Whitsunday Sailing Club member Scott Millar, said ‘Great day. It’s good having a sail against the other skippers and boats from down south.’
Race 5 handicap win for the Sports Boats went to Mark Buchbach’s Raptor from Monkey Business (Cam Rae) with Stealthy (Bob Cowan) third. Raptor was also fastest sports boat around the course.
Raptor maintains the Overall series lead from Blokes World (Brett Whitbread), with Stealthy (Bob Cowan) third.
Ropabull, Mike Roper’s Beneteau 42, took the handicap win in the Performance Racing division. John Bacon’s MC38 Dark Star was second, with local skipper Graham Jiggins Grizzly (Adams 10) completing the podium.
Grizzly leads the series, two points clear of fellow WSC skipper Charles Wallis on Reignition. Kevin Fogarty’s Twister, also from the WSC, is one point back in third.
The handicap win in Cruising Division 1 today went to Merit, Leo Rodriguez Volvo 60 from the host club. Carbon Credits (Trevor Bailey) was second, with Biddy Hu 11 (Paul Linderman) third. Merit also took line honours.
Carbon Credits leads the series, one point clear of Biddy Hu 11, Wave Nine (Arthur King) and Condor (Paul Effeney). Biddy Hu 11 leads on count back from Wave Nine.
Cruising Division 2, race 3 line honours went to Holy Cow (John and Kim Clinton). The handicap win went to Bill Hopton’s Swarbrick S99, Mistery. Matthew Bradley’s Spirit took second, with Jeff Shipsey’s Sunrise third.
Bill Hopton, the skipper of Mistery was upbeat.
‘Today we sailed significantly better than yesterday when we brought up the tail of the fleet. We got wind at the start and it’s more fun being at the front of the fleet, not bringing up the rear.
‘This is our second Airlie Beach Race week. Last year was our first and we had the opportunity to sail again this year so we are back. We did very well today and we are enjoying it.’
Holy Cow currently leads the Cruising Division 2 series, two points clear of Ells Bells, with Mistery third.
Local skipper Norm House and his Farr, Sundowner took the handicap win for the Cruising Non Spinnaker division. Peter Hall’s Wave Sweeper was second, Roger Boast’s Serendipity third.
Sundowner leads the Overall series, two points clear of Mike Walter’s MIM. Brian Ellis’ Still Dangerous is one point back in third.
Back at the WSC Norm House commented ‘Today went well. The wind was perfect for us and we got a good start - that was it really. We managed to peg back a few of the bigger boats which was nice, these conditions really suit us.
'The breeze has been good for the last three days. We are enjoying the racing and the crew and I also like the post race functions back at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.’
The IRC Cruising handicap win went to Jason Close's White Noise, from the Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne.
Tulip (Bernie Van'T Hof) and Bobby D (Ross Winterbourne) completed the podium. Line honours went to Trevor Taylor's Optimus Prime.
Overall Bobby D still leads the series, with White Noise and Tulip tied on eight points, one point behind the leader. White Noise leads on countback.
White Noise skipper Jason Close said ‘Today we got off to a good start and the breeze was the most consistent of any of the days. The course was great and the on water organisation was really good too.
‘We sailed the boat up from Melbourne with my 14 year old daughter Emily, who is racing with us. It was a thrill for her to be sailing with Jessica Watson today; it was fantastic to have Jessica on board. Emily is still grinning.
‘It’s our first Airlie Beach Race Week and we are very happy. It’s a great event, friendly and well organised and we are really enjoying it.’
Tomorrow, Monday August 13 is a lay day. Racing resumes Tuesday August 14 and continues through until Thursday August 16.
For full results and for more information please visit the Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week website www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au