SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week commenced today in perfect conditions under blue sky and with good breeze.
PRO Denis Thompson set the IRC Racing, PHS Racing, Multihulls and Cruising with Spinnaker Division 1 fleets the 22.3 nautical mile Four Foot Rock Race, which is across Cleveland Bay around Cleveland Point past a Clearing Buoy to Four Foot Rock and return.
The Cruising Division 2 and Cruising Non-Spinnaker fleets were set the shorter 14.2 nautical mile Cape Cleveland Race, again across the Bay to the Cape Cleveland Buoy and return.
The breeze was blowing at 12 knots from 085 as the large fleet headed for the line eager for the 11.00am starter's gun.
The IRC and Performance Racing fleets were away first. Leon Thomas started his Farr 30 Guilty Pleasures III at the Committee boat end and headed right, while Graham Donnell's Elliott 11 Quattro headed left and the Beneteau 34.7 Brilliant Pearl stayed mid course. Thomas and his Townsville based crew made big gains out on the right.
The Performance Racing fleet start saw John McNamara's Lake Macquarie yacht IOTA, the IOR Farr 40 modified, start fast on the pin. Inside her was David Jackson's Inglis 47 Wild, which went well until in the first tack, she caught her headsail on the first shroud. She bore away and narrowly avoided a collision with Ian Hamilton's Farr 1104 Akarana.
From the Multihull fleet, the fastest boat off the line was Mal Richardson's Nacra 36 catamaran Malice. She led from the pin and headed starboard up the Magnetic Island shore. Inside her, Gavin Le Seur's Crowther 50 eDoc tacked up the rhumbline into second place.
Don Algie's Storm 2 won the Cruising Division 1 start and headed left up the shore line. Back in Cruising Division 2, Peter McKenna's Ross 780 Le Rossignol was well placed off the line.
The wind was gradually shifting left and building; it was 13-15 knots from 075 as the lead boat Malice turned at Four Foot Rock.
Leon Thomas’ Guilty Pleasures III scored the IRC double line honours and handicap win today. Second was Quattro, followed by Brilliant Pearl (Gary McCarthy).
‘We started fast off the line but ran out of pressure on the right. However we went in hard inshore on Cape Cleveland and made good gains there. We did the same thing last year’ recalled Thomas. ‘That kept us in contact with Quattro, and then we worked hard on the run home, going seawards for more pressure to take our time on her.’
Zen, Jack Maguire’s Cavalier 35, took line honours in Cruising Division 2. She was less than one second ahead of Gary Davidson’s Sunbeam Clipper of Capricorn ahead of John Sloan’s McIntosh 47 Delphian. The handicap win went to Salty Dog, Greg Hudson’s Catalina Capri 25, over fellow North Queensland Cruising Yacht Club competitor Fly N High, Gary Bruce’s Ross 780 Mk1. Third was Matthew Stirling’s Castle 650 Knight Rider.
It was the 'Battle of Bowen' today with North Queensland Cruising Yacht Club boats coming first, second, fifth and sixth. Skipper of Salty Dog, Greg Hudson commented ‘We were on song today. Seems like we’ve been sailing quite a bit of late and that seems to help. We have a strong club and we sail regular twilights with up to 15 boats and regular point score races.'
Don Algie’s impressive blue hulled Warwick 66 Storm 2 took line honours in Cruising with Spinnaker Division 1.
Second across the line was Cloud Nine, Ron Hayden’s Jeanneau Sunfast 43. Solona 11 (Phillip King) was third. Amaya, Peter Boxall’s Farr 11.6 was first on handicap with Solona II second and Cloud Nine third.
Dockside Algie was smiling in the warm afternoon sunshine. ‘A perfect day on the water. Not as much pressure as we would have liked in the early part of the beat up to Four Foot Rock but the wind increased up to 25 knots much to our delight. We had a good run home.’
In the Performance Racing Division, Colin Wilson's Lyons 49 Never a Dull Moment took line honours from Iota with David Jackson's Inglis Wild, third. The handicap win went to local sailor Dennis Coleman and his Boatspeed 23 Diva from the Townsville Cruising Yacht Club. Second was Belinda Cooper's Sydney 32 Groove with Iseulta, the Bavaria 37 skippered by Tristram Denyer, third.
Fastest Multihull and boat around the course today was Mal Richardson's Nacra 36 Malice. eDoc was second, with Graeme Etherton's Crowther Windspeed 3, The Boat, third. On handicap Malice won from The Boat, with Mal Tynan's Schionning Barbarella third.
Cruising Non Spinnaker line honours went to Time Lord, the Bavaria 50 skippered by Chris Waldron. Barry Waugh's Beneteau, The Waugh Ship, edged out Russell McLaughlin's Catalina Freya for second, by less than one second. The handicap win went to Freya ahead of Kachina skippered by Phillip McGuire, with Fenina (David Vidler) third.
Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson was smiling as he came ashore from his luxurious start boat, actually a SeaLink ferry. 'A great day on the water, 15-17 knots for much of the day and warm. Just what the southern sailors come north for. We are all looking forward to more of the same this week.'
Tomorrow, Saturday 3rd September, the Fantasea F18 Australian Championships are scheduled to start on Cleveland Bay at 11.00am.
Results are provisional and subject to protest.
For more information, go to the SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week website, www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au