Today was the final day of the 2013 SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week. It was the windiest day of the windiest Queensland keel boat regatta this season.
The south easterly trade wind was blowing 18-20 knots at the start and built steadily, with gusts into the high 20´s and with regular 22-24 knots.
Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson sent the IRC multihull racing and cruising division 1 on the 21 nautical mile Five Bays Beach Race, while the balance of the fleet sailed the 15 nautical mile White Rock Race.
Bob Steel’s Quest took line hours in less than two hours, Townsville’s sailor Leon Thomas, the. Magnetic Island Race Week winner, hit the finish line 26 minutes later in his Sydney 38, but was only 28 seconds behind the 2008 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner on IRC handicap.
In third place was Howard Piggott´s Beneteau First 40 Flying Cloud five minutes back and those three boats took handicap honours in the same order.
Bob Steel commented ‘We were a little nervous today. I have been in this position before. I remember in the CYCA short offshore we had to come 12th and the other boat had to come first in the last race and that’s what happened and we lost by half a point. Anything can happen in yachting. We have very much enjoyed the regatta.’
Howard Piggott ‘Well it was not to be, we needed to put two places on Leon Thomas and his Guilty Pleasures team and they were too good and outsailed us.
‘A great regatta. Great sailing, good competition and the IRC has been so close. It has been fantastic. ‘This is the first time we have done this regatta. People who have done it before are very enthusiastic about it and said it was a must to do and it was just a matter of finding the time to do it and here we are enjoying it.
Leon Thomas – ‘Quest was always going to be really hard to beat. They are sailing really well so we just had to defend our lead over Flying Cloud for a second place for the regatta. The competition has been great.’ From the Multi-Hulls Racing start, Andrew Stransky’s Seven Seas 50 Fantasia led the fleet out with Peter Hawker’s F32 Carbon Credit not enjoying the seaway.
Fantasia took line honours in the heavier conditions today, she finished almost ten minutes ahead of Carbon Credit.
On handicap Fantasia took her fourth win and the series ahead of Carbon Credit, with Alasdair Noble´s Schionning Waterline McMoggy third. Fantasia took the series ahead of Carbon Credit and McMoggy.
Andrew Stransky ‘It has been a superb regatta, it is a very good course out there. It is quite shifty.
‘We do like the breeze. We did a lot of racing up in Asia, two Kings Cups and two Raja Muda’s where it was a lot harder in light breezes. Today was a big one, a real test, with a solid south east blow and we had a lot of fun’
In the Cruising Spinnaker Division 1 Robert Green, with the Pacific 50 Dream, hit the clearing mark with their boom and did a 360 with John Raff’s Jeanne au 53 Kate close behind them. On line honours another win to Dream, ahead of Kate.
In today’s race Peter Byford’s Jeanne au Odyssey 42i Joie de Vie won on handicap from Ron Knott’s Farr 11.6 modified Dusty Muzzle with John Raff’s Jeanneau 53 Kate but overall Dream won the series ahead of Joie de Vie with Kate third.
Robert Green from Dream commented ‘we’d had done the arithmetic and we could still lose. So we sailed conservatively and were fifth on handicap today, but still won well. It’s been fabulous sailing. ‘We first heard about the regatta from a cruising sailor in Fiji who sang its praises of here so I thought I would come and take a look. He was right, it’s a great regatta. It is more laid back than Hamilton and even Airlie.’
In Multi-Hulls Cruising, Mal Tynan’s Schionning Signature Barbarella took the series from Ian Johnson’s Lightwave Salacia and Geoffrey Sparkers-Car’s Lightwave 38 Two Shea.
Mal Tynan ‘we have sailed Barbarella in the last six of these regattas. We always have a good time. ‘We enjoy the cruising aspects and this is a beautiful location. Everyone seems to like it and so keep coming back which is great and the number of southern boats keeps increasing.
In Cruising Division 2, Colin Clark’s Unbealeiveable, the hardest boat name we´ve ever had to spell, had won the first two races in the series and was equal on points with Barry Smith’s Tide Up at the start of the day, but the Beale was forced to retired with a cracked mast step.
David Marshall´s Femme Fatale took line honours ahead of Paul Jackson´s Run Run Run but on handicap Tide Up won the race today from Femme Fatale with Rod Finucane´s SeaLink Quinikin in third place. As a result Tide Up took the series from Peter McKenzie’s Ross 780 Le Rossignol and Stanley Barnes Librian. This is a best every result for the little blue boat.
In Cruising Non Spinnaker division, today in the heavier seaway the Tasmanian´s Jacinta Cooper´s Beneteau 57 Mistraal took line and handicap honours from Peter Cox´s Dufour 385 GL Valhalla and Nick Small’s Hanse 430 Huahine, fourth was Russell Kingston´s Beneteau 423 Falcon.
Townsville local Kingston was smiling dockside ‘It’s amazing what winning does, in all our years of sailing this regatta we´ve never had anyone photograph the boat and this year there are some great photos. Next up is the sell-out Presentation Evening at the Peppers Blue Blue deck in Nelly Bay tonight.