For the final day of racing at Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012, the traditional 'last day' Pioneer Bay Large Triangle course was set by the Race Committee.
Mark rounding - Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012
As crews prepared for the first scheduled warning signal at 09.40am PRO Jim Hayes raised the AP flag, announcing a postponement. Just as forecast, the morning’s land breeze was dying.
While waiting for the new breeze to arrive crews made the most of the warm and sunny day; blowing bubbles, waging war on other boats with water bombs, swimming or just lazing on the deck enjoying the bright sunshine.
The AP came down and at 10.30am the OMR Multihull division started in a soft breeze, Team Vodafone Sailing off the course with her mainsail down.
APC Mad Max (George Owen) started on the pin and after the gun was well ahead of Malice (Malcolm Richardson). Malice was soon pushing forward with her gennaker full. Series leader Trilogy (Keith Glover) came in from the back of the fleet and hoisted her spinnaker as they headed towards the mark in three to four knots of breeze.
Rum Raider (Scott Millar) got the best start in the Performance Multihull fleet, managing to get a gust on the line. She took off carrying a private breeze and in a few minutes had reached the tail of the fleet ahead.
Back at the IRC Racing off wind start, The Philosophers Club (Tony Levett) started on the pin. Brilliant Pearl (Gary McCarthy) was inside her. Zen (Gordon Ketelbey) came from the second row and sailed round The Philosophers Club.
Treasure VIII (Harold Menelaus) and The Philosophers Club hoisted kites but were having trouble holding them in the very light breeze. Series leader Yendys (Geoff Ross) did not start, having already won the division.
In IRC Cruising, Optimus Prime (Trevor Taylor) started on the pin in light conditions. Tulip (Bernie Van’T Hof) and Mayfair (James Irvine) both tried to go into a space that did not exist and as a consequence were forced back. Tulip restarted late as did Mayfair.
By now the breeze had dropped to three knots from the south east. In the distance the first of the multihulls headed slowly towards Grimston Point.
Wobbly Boot (Craig Piccinelli) was first across the Performance Racing start line. Dark Star (John Bacon) started on the pin and soon after the start they put up their blue asymmetric spinnaker and in the light conditions took off doing about five knots. They accelerated away from fleet.
Back on the Committee Boat end of the line, Ichi Ban (Matt Allen/Walter Lee) was languishing, while UBS Wild Thing (Geoff Lavis) was well back. The conditions were suiting Dark Star as she continued to gain distance on her rivals.
As the Cruising Division 1 boats faced the gun the breeze lifted. Storm 2 (Don Algie), Merit (Leo Rodriguez), Condor (Paul Effeney) and Hammer of Queensland (Mick Eckert) all headed to the Mandalay mark flying spinnakers off the start line.
Storm 2 (Don Algie) leads her division. 2012 Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week
The Sports Boats were the last away. Series leader Raptor (Mark Buchbach) swung outside the fleet at the Mandalay mark with her asymmetric kite powered up. She dropped her kite at the Bluff mark and slid across the sterns of the much larger Hammer of Queensland and Condor and inside the mark. She then headed north.
Behind her Conquistador (Peter Sorensen), Stealthy (Bob Cowan) and Blokes World (Brett Whitbread) had taken the inside track. There was pressure there but it was the long way round and Raptor opened up a big gap on her rivals.
The breeze was now seven to eight knots and building as almost all the fleet headed to Grimston Point in bright sunshine.
Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week fleet 2012
Kaito, the Melges 24 of Heath Townsend, took the Sports Boats handicap win in race 10, from Raptor (Mark Buchbach) with Stealthy (Bob Cowan) third. Raptor was fastest around the course.
Raptor, Mark Buchbach’s Stealth from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, clearly won the series and is the 2012 Sports Boat champion. Bob Cowan’s Stealthy finished second just one point ahead of Brett Whitbread’s Blokes World.
As he loaded Stealthy onto her trailer for the long drive back to Lake Macquarie, NSW owner Bob Cowan was happy. 'Mark Burbach and his Raptor team were well deserved winners.
‘We were happy with our performance, the guys worked really hard. Stealthy is just like an old bottle of wine, just keeps getting better.
‘This is a top regatta, wind and weather wise, and the race officials and race organisation is great.
‘And on behalf of all the owners we really want to express our thanks to Darren Spence (sailing on Kaito), the President of the Australian Sports Boat Association, who once again has done an amazing job; he really makes it all happen for the Sports Boats fleet.’
J’Óuvert, Peter Berry’s Prescott Whitehaven 1, made her first podium appearance of the regatta winning handicap honours in race 6 for the OMR Multihulls. Malice (Mal Richardson) was second, with Frassld (Shaun Fishley) third.
Malcolm Richardson’s Nacra 36 Malice is the OMR Multihull champion for 2012. One point behind the overnight leader, Keith Glover’s Trilogy and with a drop in play, Malice’s second place in the final race put the championship crown beyond Trilogy’s reach. Trilogy and Adrian Fawcett’s Hot Vindaloo completed the overall podium.
Room With A View, Sean Nichols Crowther, took the handicap win in the shortened race 6 for Performance Multihulls. Su Mare (David Eldridge) and Cheetah (Steve Halter) completed the placings. Scott Millar’s Rum Raider took line honours.
After six races with one drop, Brisbane sailor Alasdair Noble had sailed his 12 year old New Zealand built Schionning Waterline MC Moggy to victory in the Performance Multihull division.
‘This was her first serious regatta. Great to see so many multihulls and such a variety - we had a great time. The highlights were a kite run of 18 knots in the long race from Double Cone to Armit and zero breakages.'
However the battle for overall second place was on. Going into the final day Rum Raider and Wild Thing (Keith Roberts) were tied on points with Room With A View fourth. Courtesy of their race 6 win Room With A View shot into Overall second, tied with Rum Raider on points but ahead on count back.
Race 7 for the IRC Racing fleet on handicap went to the hard working crew of the Sydney 38 Zen (Gordon Ketelbey) from Sydney’s Middle Harbour Yacht Club. Lunchtime Legend (Bob ‘Robbo’ Robertson) from Mooloolaba was second, with fellow Mooloolaba yacht Brilliant Pearl (Gary McCarthy) third. Fastest around the course was Lunchtime Legend.
Geoff Ross’ J/V TP52 Yendys from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia won the series and the 2012 IRC Racing championship crown. Lunchtime Legend was second, with Zen claiming third.
Race 8 for the Performance Racing fleet was won on handicap by Mike Roper’s Ropabull from UBS Wild Thing (Geoff Lavis). Local WSC skipper Jeffrey Brown took third on Double O Seven.
Reignition, the Murray, Burns, Dovell 41 skippered by Charles Wallis, won the 2012 championship for Performance Racing yachts. UBS Wild Thing was second with local sailor Damian Suckling’s Another Fiasco third.
Smiling, Wallis a Whitsunday Sailing Club skipper said ‘The competition increases. It was interesting to have UBS Wild Thing (Inglis/Murray 50), Ichi Ban (Farr 400) and Dark Star (MC38) this year.
‘This is our second win in the last four years. It was a superb regatta and it was great to see all the multihulls.’
Tulip, Bernie Van’T Hof’s Swan 45 took handicap honours in race 6 for the IRC Cruising fleet. Under Capricorn (Phil Bedlington) was second with Optimus Prime (Trevor Taylor) third. Optimus Prime took line honours.
IRC Cruising was yet another division where the day’s results would prove crucial in deciding the Overall podium. Once again a drop came into play and at the end of the day, Tulip took the championship by one point. Bobby D (Ross Winterbourne) was second with Under Capricorn completing the top three.
After six races the drop came into play for the Cruising Division 1 competitors. Arthur King’s Wave Nine took the handicap win from Mako (Cameron Wiklund) with Lets Go (Al and Dan Ovenden) third. The Volvo 60 Merit, from host club WSC, took line honours.
Cameron Wiklund, the Sydney sailor from RANSA, became the Cruising Division 1 champion with the Sydney 40 Mako, formerly the WSC boat Questionable Logic.
This was his first Airlie Beach Race Week and as Wiklund explained ‘We only hoisted the sails on this boat an hour before the start of the first race. It’s been unbelievable fun and the social scene is amazing.
'Once back in Sydney we will do twilights, SOPS and then we will be back to Airlie Beach for next year’s Race Week.’
Mako won on count back from Wave Nine (Arthur King). Merit (Leo Rodriguez) completed the podium.
Peter McKenzie’s Ross 780 Le Rossignol took the Cruising Division 2 race 6 handicap win from Spirit (Matthew Bradley) with Sunrise (Jeff Shipsey) third. Line honours went to David Leslie’s Shiraz.
Going into the final day the battle for the Overall crown was tight, with just one point separating John and Kim Clinton’s Beneteau Oceanis 50 Holy Cow! and Ells Bells, John Fowell’s Beale 780. With the drop coming into play, both Holy Cow (16) and Ells Bells (12) discarded race 6.
Holy Cow! is the Cruising Division 2 champion for 2012 finishing just one point ahead of Ells Bells, with Lee-Way/Ensign Racing (Tony Horkings) completing the podium.
‘The Cows can count to one’ explained Kim Clinton this afternoon. ‘We have downs, lots and lots of them, but this has been the best ever Airlie Beach Race Week’ Kim exclaimed. ‘It was perfect weather with great winds and it’s warmer than Sydney or Melbourne.
‘We’ve enjoyed the racing with such a big fleet and we’ve really enjoyed winning!’
Race 6 for the Cruising Non Spinnaker division went to Norm House’s Farr, Sundowner from the Whitsunday Sailing Club. Farrago (Keith McGuire) also from WSC was second, with Still Dangerous (Brian Ellis) third. Line honours went to Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson).
Darryl Hodgkinson's Beneteau First 45 Victoire - Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012
The 2012 Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week Cruising Non Spinnaker champion is Sundowner. Victoire finished second with Still Dangerous third.
Principal Race Officer Jim Hayes said ‘We shortened the course for the IRC Racing and Cruising Multihull divisions today.
‘The breeze was 10-12 knots after a very light start and the conditions were consistent, particularly for the last three hours of the race.
‘Pioneer Bay is a big expanse of water, sheltered by the islands. Overall this year has been great racing and the weather we've had has been superb.
‘Good weather, great racing and a good team – this year’s race week has been a huge success.’
For more information, news and images please visit the Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week website
Merit (Leo Rodriguez Volvo 60) - man on the mast 2012 Telcoinabox Airlei Beach Race Week
Results are provisional.