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Heaven Can Wait 24 provisonal race results

by Helen Hopcroft on 1 Oct 2007
Team GUE - Heaven Can Wait 24 Hour Race Sail-World.com /AUS © http://www.sail-world.com
Chris Williams Team GUE is the provisonal overall winner of the 24 hour Heaven Can Wait yacht race held this weekend on Lake Macquarie. Here are the provisional results for both the shorter 'One Lap Dash' and the '24 hour race.'

One Lap Dash
17 starters

Line honours: 'Stealthy' Stealth 8 Bob Cowan

First: 'Kaito' Melges 24 Heath Townsend WA
Second: 'Team G.U.E' T7 Chris Williams
Third: 'Woof' Elliott 7 Jim Walsh RSYS
Fourth: 'Katrina' Careel 18 James Wearing

24 hour race
26 starters

Line honours: 'Stealthy' Stealth 8 Bob Cowan

Division 1

First: 'Team GUE' Thompson 7 Chris Williams RPAYC
Second: 'Animus' Adams Racing 10, Phil Yeomans MHYC
Third: 'Stealthy' Stealth 8 Bob Cowan

Division 2

First: 'Lyric' Carter 33, Gary Chapman
Second: 'Umbakumba' Sonata 8, David Stenhouse
Third: 'Rolls Ross' Ross 780 MK III Rod Caldwell - RQYS Queensland.

Overall winner 2007 HCW 24 hour yacht race
'Team GUE' Thompson 7 - Chris Williams RPAYC

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Race organiser Shaun Lewicki said that he was thrilled with the success of the event which saw a fleet of more than 35 boats raise much needed funds for cancer research. The second running of the Heaven Can Wait race attracted a good range of boats from humble trailer sailors to the nation’s fastest sports boat. What was particularly notable about the race was the good will exhibited by all the competitors, some of who had brought their boats or travelled long distances to compete.

Many of the participating sailors had not competed on Lake Macquarie before and some remarked that they were surprised by the changeable nature of conditions on the Lake. One crew reported winds swinging from NW to SE in a very short space of time and changing force just as rapidly: from nothing to gusts up to 30 knots. ‘It added a whole new meaning to boxing the compass’ said Torquil crew member Rod Smith.
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Torquil’s skipper Peter McCorquodale reported that conditions lightened from about 9pm onwards and by 1am they were drifting around at about a knot and half. At this point the smaller boats and those with local knowledge gained a significant advantage.

American sailor Blake Middleton joked that local knowledge would have been useful just before nightfall when last year’s line honours winner Brigitta grounded in shoal water just south of Swansea Channel. Local sailors are familiar with this particular stretch of water which in daytime can be seen as a clear dividing line of shallow bright aqua and deep dark blue.

Middleton joked that he only realised that Brigitta was at risk of grounding when he leaned over the side and was able to count individual crustaceans on the seabed.

Half an hour later the crew managed to get the boat afloat again by creative use of a bosun’s chair. One person steered, another used the spinnaker pole like a Venetian barge man and two people tugged on the shrouds while a third was swung aloft on the bosuns chair to help redistribute the weight.
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The race finished at midday on Sunday and boats gradually arrived back at Rafferty’s Resort on the eastern shore of the Lake with presentations and the announcement of results scheduled for 4pm.

Crews interviewed at the dock reported a range of reasons why they had decided to participate in one of Australia’s few inshore 24 hour races.

For the elite group of sports boats it was a chance to compete against boats of a similar quality on the relatively flat waters of Lake Macquarie. Other crews were there to support the enormous amount of work Lewicki had done in organising the race while some people decided to participate purely because of the cancer research fundraising element.

With few families in Australia untouched by cancer in some way it was hardly surprising that so many of the crews said this was one of the main reasons they chose to participate.

A number of people sailing were either currently receiving treatment for cancer or were survivors of the disease. Lewicki himself was inspired to organise the race while stuck in a hospital bed, while receiving treatment for cancer.
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He looked at the paint flaking off the ceiling over his hospital bed and mused 'that looks like a race course. If you tacked at the first paint flake, it would be a nice reach down to the second, then a run to the third...' The idea of the Heaven Can Wait 24 hour yacht race was born.

Race organisers reported that the EziTrak system which was used to monitor boat’s positions and calculate final results worked well. A representative of the company explained that each boat was given an onboard unit which contains a GPS which logs this data every second. Every 15 minutes this GPS data is transferred via the cellular phone network to EziTrak’s server, enabling them to record a boat’s real time position.

In the first test of this particular technology in a yacht race context, competitors were able to go online and check their position and the position of other boats via an interface with Google maps.

Information about next year’s event will be posted on http://www.heavencanwait.com.au

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