Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - The closest divisional battle was within IRC Passage 2 where Harvey Milne’s Archambault 31 Aroona from Sydney and the Matthew Owen skippered BH36 Local Hero, racing with a majority ACT crew, fought tooth and nail for seven days over nine races to finish a point apart.
Owen clinched the series with today’s 17 second win over Aroona in the Lindeman Island Race, not a bad result for a bunch of dinghy sailors from Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin campaigning a 15 year old boat.
'Does it get any closer?' questioned Owen this afternoon. 'We sailed the ultimate race today and we are really happy it all came together for us. We just hope we didn’t cost the Aroona boys an Audi.'
Owen is referring to the four-part Audi IRC Australian Championship which began in January and came down to a week-long tussle between Aroona and IRC Grand Prix division winner, Stephen Ainsworth’s RP63 Loki, the eventual Championship winner by 0.31 of a point.
'I’m very happy for Local Hero’s owner Peter Mosely who strangely I met in a bunker at Middle Head in Sydney while we were both watching our boats race in the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta,' said Milne today 'We got him at that regatta and in the Southport race, and he has got us here.'
Neither both was ever out of the top three, Local Hero finishing on 8 points with four firsts, two seconds and a third place and Aroona scoring three firsts and four second places.
Overall winner of the IRC Passage 1 division, Ray Roberts’ chartered Farr 42 Evolution Racing, had the series wrapped up with a ribbon on top once the scores from the penultimate day’s islands race were tallied, but still sailed today, taking the accelerator off slightly to finish a relaxed fifth in the Lindeman Island Race.
'It’s been a fabulous week, the sailing has been terrific and so have the courses,' said Roberts. 'Our consistency got us to the front of the pack, plus I had a great crew including Jamie MacPhail calling tactics, Tim Davis on trim, and father and son team of Richard and Farr 40 runner up at the recent worlds, Andy Hudson.'
Apart from adding to his already ample trophy collection thanks largely to his four wins from seven races plus other low scoring results, Roberts’ regatta highlight was when a big humpback whale leapt out of the water in Dent Passage right in front of his boat.
Alejandro Perez Calzada’s stately Spanish S&S design Charisma, which is currently on a world cruise and comes complete with espresso machine – was deceivingly fast at Race Week and gave Evolution Racing a good run for their money to finish second on 19 points nine points behind Roberts.
Third was Peter Horn’s King designed Canute from Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
Ben McGrath’s Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Beneteau 40 Iago was the winning boat in Performance Racing division 1, narrowly out-sailing Terry Archer’s Bashford/Sydney 40 Questionable Logic by two points. Third was Rob Bassett/Brett Russell’s Bakewell White 52 Wired from New Zealand.
In Performance Racing division 2, Ian Ford’s chartered Beneteau 40.7 called whalewatchingsydney clinched the series from Matt Allen and Warwick Rooklyn’s Melges 24 called Bandit, also a CYCA registered boat.
'I’ve been sailing with the same crew for the past four years and we’ve been nudging at this result for a while. From my 23 Race Weeks this is definitely my best result as skipper,' said Ford.
'We come together once a year from Melbourne and Sydney, fly in on the Friday afternoon and go for an hour’s sail in case we’ve forgotten where things are before starting the regatta on the Saturday.' www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au