For day 5 of racing at the 23rd Annual Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week the Molle Islands/Cones Race was set by the Race Committee for all fleets except the Sports Boats, who were scheduled to sail windward/leewards in Pioneer Bay.
Stealthy - Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012
In less breeze than yesterday, the fleet headed out into Pioneer Bay under a mixture of cloud and blue sky on a warm Whitsunday winter's day.
The Performance Racing start was won by the Farr 400 Ichi Ban (Matt Allen/Walter Lee) and at the Mandalay mark Ichi Ban led Geoff Lavis’ Inglis/Murray 50 UBS Wild Thing by one boat length. Peter Mosley’s Local Hero had a good start and was quickly on the heels of Damian Suckling’s Another Fiasco.
In the OMR Multihulls start APC Mad Max (George Owen) pushed Team Vodafone Sailing up as she approached the line and the red giant was forced to turn above the committee boat. She started more than fashionably late after circling (around) but powered away once across the line. Mal Richardson’s Malice, the OMR Multihulls Series leader, was soon in hot pursuit of the ORMA 60 and was keeping pace with her about half way to Pioneer Rock.
In glorious conditions the fleet zig zagged down the Molle Channel bouncing off the mainland shore.
Ichi Ban escaped from UBS Wild Thing and was revelling in the light conditions. Storm 2, Don Algie’s Warwick 60, had sailed up through the Cruising Division 1 boats and into the Performance Racing fleet. Mick Eckert’s maxi Hammer of Queensland tore down the middle of the channel ignoring the current relief on the right. Ichi Ban on the other hand was chasing the current. The crew on the smaller Sydney 38 Zen (Gordon Ketelby) were noticeably enthusiastic as they worked the shoreline.
At White Rock the passage began to fill with colourful spinnakers.
Out near the Cones Team Vodafone Sailing was flying, reporting their boat speed at 24-27 knots. They completed today's 43 nautical mile course in 3 hours 32 minutes and 16 seconds.
On the azure blue protected waters of Pioneer Bay, the Sports Boats fleet were contesting a number of windward/leeward races.
The water was dead flat and in five knots of breeze Raptor, Mark Buchbach’s Stealth, the series leader and stand out boat of the week, won race 1 from Bob Cowan’s Stealth 8 Stealthy. Raptor took line honours and the handicap win in race 7, from Stealthy and Monkey Business (Cam Rae).
In race 2 of the day Guided Missile, John Rae’s Stealth 8 from the Mooloolaba Yacht Club, was ahead of Blokes World, the Egan 7 skippered by Brett Whitbread. The rest of the fleet was spread right across the course with asymmetric kites flying, searching for every puff of breeze.
At the mark Raptor was 500 metres ahead of Stealthy and Blokes World. After a slow tack, Guided Missile underlayed the mark. She was followed around by Kaito, the Melges 24 of Heath Townsend, who was having headsail problems. Imagine, Warwick Nichols' Thompson 650, was next.
Guided Missile came in from the right, Peter Sorensen's Conquistador from the left with a little more heat, but fifty metres from the finish Guided Missile found a puff and crossed ahead of Conquistador.
Race 2 went to Raptor on handicap from Stealthy with Kaito third. Raptor was fastest boat around the course.
Race 3. The breeze was now 10-12 knots, gusting higher at times and the sun was beating down. Monkey Business was on the pin end at the start and crossed the whole fleet. Raptor was buried. At the top mark Stealthy led Blokes World. Raptor made up ground and rounded third. Guided Missile tore her black kite during the hoist.
There was spinnaker mayhem at the bottom mark. Raptor was seen doing penalty turns after an incident with Stealthy. Back up the beat Stealthy led Raptor with Blokes World third.
Monkey Business held form to take the handicap win from Stealthy and Blokes World. Stealthy was fastest boat around the course.
Airlie Beach Race Week sports boat regular Bob Cowan's line honours win in race 3 was popular. Son Michael Cowan explained ‘This our eighth Airlie Beach Race Week. The first one was on Penguins on Parade, the rest have been on this boat (Stealthy), which is now getting quite long in the tooth (she’s due for a refit).
‘We were pleased to win today against the newer designs. As you can see Stealthy still performs very well and we do know how to get her around the race course.’
As they have done all week, Mark Buchbach and his Raptor crew lead the Sports Boats class Overall. Blokes World holds second from Stealthy on count back. With the final day of racing being tomorrow, the stage is set for a tight battle for the podium places.
Raptor - Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012
OMR Multihull line honours went to Team Vodafone Sailing. Keith Glover’s Trilogy took the handicap win from Bulletproof (Scott Gralow) with Malice (Mal Richardson) third.
Simon Hull commented ‘Another day in Paradise. We had a slow start and Malice was close behind us at the top mark. We took off from Pioneer Point to White Rock. We cracked sheets from the top of Denman. We did 24-28 knots up to the Cones and saw a pod of whales near Armit.
‘The breeze freshened near Grimston Point. A beautiful day again.’
Trilogy now leads the series by one point from Malice, with Hot Vindaloo (Adrian Fawcett) third.
Sean Nichols Room With A View took the Performance Multihulls handicap win from MC Moggy (Alasdair Noble). Cheetah (Steve Halter) was third. Rum Raider (Scott Millar) took line honours.
MC Moggy leads the series overall, Rum Raider is second with Wild Thing (Keith Roberts) third.
Race 5 for IRC Cruising went to Bobby D, Ross Winterbourne’s Farr from the Whitsunday Sailing Club. Optimus Prime (Trevor Taylor) was second on handicap and White Noise (Jason Close) was third. Line honours went to Optimus Prime.
Bobby D leads Tulip (Bernie Van’T Hof) in the overall series battle, with White Noise (Jason Close) third.
Cameron Wilkund’s Sydney 40 Mako made her podium debut today, taking the Cruising Division 1 race 5 handicap win. Silver Minx (Geoff and Vicki Player) was second, with Eureka 11 (Malcolm Robertson) third.
Leo Rodriguez’s Volvo 60 from the host club leads the series Overall. Nautical Circle (Chris Carlile) and Carbon Credits (Trevor Bailey) are tied on points, Nautical Circle leading on count back.
Lee-Way/Ensign Racing (Tony Horkings) took the handicap win in Cruising Division 2. Greg Smith’s La Diva was second with Pacific Phoenix (Alan Sneddon) third. John and Kim Clinton’s Holy Cow took line honours.
Overall Holy Cow still holds the series lead from Ells Bells (John Fowell) now just one point behind. One Lousy Goat (Derek Cragg) is third.
Local skipper Norm House took the handicap win on Sundowner for the Cruising Non Spinnaker class. Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson) was second, Queensland Marine Services (John Galloway) third.
Overall, Darryl Hodgkinson's Victoire is the series leader just one point clear of Sundowner. Still Dangerous (Brian Ellis) is third.
Victoire, the well known Beneteau 45 from the Sydney, had a slow start to the week. The skipper explained. ‘We are testing and checking everything on the boat in readiness for Hamilton Island Race Week. It’s a good opportunity and we are sailing without our spinnakers, even though we have most of our regular crew onboard. Yesterday was good as the boat likes 18-25 knots.
'We are really enjoying racing here at Airlie Beach.'
Mike Roper’s Ropabull took her first handicap win of the week in race 6 for the Performance Racing fleet. Double O Seven (Jeffrey Brown) was second with Reignition (Charles Wallis) third. USB Wild Thing (Geoff Lavis) took line honours.
Reignition is the series leader from Ichi Ban (Matt Allen/Walter Lee) and Twister (Kevin Fogarty).
The Yendys (Geoff Ross) crew continued on their winning way today, taking the line honours and handicap wins in the IRC Racing division. Lunchtime Legend (Bob Robertson) was second with Black Label (Tony Ross) third.
Yendys is the clear Overall leader from Lunchtime Legend. Blunderbuss (Tony Kinsman) is third.
Principal Race Officer Jim Hayes concluded the day by saying ‘We’ve had great winds all week. For today’s long race there was good early southerly breeze at around eight knots, then a new breeze came in from the south-east at six knots. Then as the land heated in the afternoon it moved around to east-south-east and built to 10-12 knots across the race course.
‘We have a great race team and it makes my task easy.’
Tomorrow is the final day of competition at the 23rd annual Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012. The first warning signal is scheduled for 09:40 hours, allowing the large fleet plenty of time to enjoy the day's racing before heading to the Whitsunday Sailing Club for the overall prize giving presentations and celebrations.
For more information, images and results please visit the Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week website www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au
* Results are Provisional
Team Vodafone Sailing (Simon Hull). Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012