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Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Cloud nine for race winners

by Lisa Ratcliff on 23 Aug 2013
Audi Hamilton Island Race week 2013 - Hamilton Island, Queensland (AUS), day 5 © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
Day six of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week was packed with colour and movement as bittersweet wins and some creative Prix d’ Elegance fancy dress for a memorable penultimate day.

Light winds still created opportunities for many, including Island Lady from Southport Yacht Club on the Gold Coast which claimed first place in Cruising Division 2. Boat manager Jason Chipp said the five crew were on cloud nine after their win, particularly pleased with the nature of the course.

'The longer race really suited us today, you’ve got no idea how happy we are,' Chipp said.

'This is our first Race Week and we will be back bigger and better next year.'

Island Lady’s owners, Jenny and Andrew Pusey, purchased the brand new Vision 42 specifically for this year’s 30th anniversary Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and were regatta-bound before misfortune struck.

'Three days before the regatta started Andrew busted his Achilles and couldn’t make it, and Jenny wasn’t going to come either,' Chipp explained. 'We convinced her to come, and she’s had a great time with all the boys.'

On overall results Andrew Molnar’s Bavaraia Jemson is narrowly leading the Cruising Division 2 series, on equal points with Ray Sweeney’s Jeanneau 44i CEO1.

The bar was raised at the annual Prix d’ Elegance this morning, several crews getting into the spirit of one of Race Week’s highlights by showing off their decorated yachts and crew costumes.

From Wild Goats climbing the mast to a staged wedding ceremony, the judges had plenty of tough decisions to make as they critiqued the parading fleet from the Flag Deck of Hamilton Island Yacht Club.


The Queensland-based Farr 11.6 crew on board First Fleet entry, for boats from the inaugural 1984 regatta, Dusty Muzzle didn’t need to dress up for the competition. Each day they have worn bright orange and black work shirts and pith hats, turning plenty of heads at Hamilton Island.

'We just like to be conspicuous,' said skipper Ron Knott.

'We stand out in the crowd and it’s good because the young ladies can always see us.'

Peter Briggs’ Hitchhiker from Western Australia claimed victory in the First Fleet division today, despite ripping their headsail six minutes before the first windward/leeward race was scheduled to start to the east of the island. It’s a mystery how this happened given there was barely a puff on the race track.

Skippering Hitchhiker in the second short race, Sam Ainsworth said the initial disappointment quickly turned into optimism for his crew.

'We were frustrated but we put a smaller headsail on instead, which ended up working in our favour – somehow we won. I’m very happy with the crew’s performance because we were only traveling at a top speed of 11 knots,' Ainsworth said.

Hitchhiker is also well placed in Cruising Division 2, currently third in Performance Racing division 2 from an impressive fleet.

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week wraps up tomorrow with the 23.5 nautical mile Lindeman Island race starting from the eastern course area from Full Hamilton Island Race Week

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