by Ian Grant
Rod Sawyer’s Peter Norlin designed Surefoot, regarded as the Golden Oldie, showed she still has the class to outpace her handicap rating in the Whitsunday Sailing Club sprint race series on Pioneer Bay.
Golden Oldie, but still a goodie
A lot of water has passed under her keel since her glory days of representing the Royal Papua Yacht Club during the 1983 Champagne Mumm Admirals Cup in England and she is showing her age but still manages to produce a competitive performance.
Naturally her race weary sail wardrobe apart from a recent new headsail needs some ‘grunt’ in the breeze to iron out the wrinkles and smooth out the required shape to help provide a competitive boat speed.
However her race results have become an added bonus for Rod Sawyer and his happy team who are proud to wear the traditional Surefoot crew shirt.
They instinctively understand that the ‘Old Girl’ has naturally become a little tired yet still manages to become the yacht to beat when the moderate to fresh trade winds blow into the Whitsunday Islands.
Last Wednesday when the more open waters of the Whitsunday Passage were tormented by the 20-25 knot trade winds Surefoot was in her element on a more sheltered Pioneer Bay.
However both her skipper and crew revelled in the conditions as they tested their boat speed and combined crew technique in what proved to be an absorbing and close match race with the Ross Winterbourn helmed Bobby D and the Nick Smail skippered Huahine for the fastest corrected time in race 20 of the Sprint race championship.
All three crews shared a chance to win before Surefoot claimed a close but popular nine second victory over Bobby D while the visiting Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron skipper Nick Smail steered Huahine into third another 21 seconds astern.
Damien Suckling again secured his strangle hold on the series line honours trophy when he helmed Another Fiasco to her two minute 43 second win over Jeff Brown’s Double O Seven while John Galloway consistently sailed Queensland Marine Services into third place.
Craig Piccinelli’s Wobbly Boot who normally excels in the stronger winds finished with the fourth fastest corrected time to retain the overall championship lead on 81 points from Queensland Marine Services 100 points and the Kevin Fogarty skippered Twister 113 points.
All three crews are will continue with their tactical duel on Pioneer Bay this week as the countdown begins to record the best local boat result during the Airlie Beach Race Week later this year.