by Ian Grant
John Galloway laid further claim to the title as tactical master of Pioneer Bay when he helmed Queensland Marine Services to a runaway win in the Whitsunday Sailing Club Maurice Drent Boating Services series last week.
FIASCO - Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week 2010
Skipper Galloway and crew well known for their ability to sail smart and fast in all wind and sea conditions clearly dominated when they claimed both the corrected time and line honours double.
Queensland Marine Services is always rated among the top contenders to feature in the handicap places and her crew rarely pilot the comfortable cruiser racer to win line honours over the larger and faster Questionable Logic, Another Fiasco and Reignition.
But that changed in the tricky wind system when both skipper John Galloway and crew sailed every wind variation on merit to win the line honours by one minute 59 seconds ahead of the Terry Archer steered AC 40 Questionable Logic while the former Rolex Sydney Hobart Performance handicap champion the Scott Jutson designed Another Fiasco finished third another three minutes 18 seconds off the pace.
Selecting the best tactical options with the wind that blows over the deck has allowed the Queensland Marine Services crew to firm a strong grip on the five race Maurice Drent Boating Services trophy with their impressive 1-4-2-1 score.
Their consistency in all the sprint type races in recent months suggests that Queensland Marine Services providing they are not ‘slugged’ with an impossible handicap could be a front runner for a major place in the Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week regatta in August.
But meanwhile her crew buoyed with the result of outpacing the pacesetters Questionable Logic, Another Fiasco and Reignition to claim a rare line and handicap double last week will purposely focus their attention on maintaining a tidy tactical strategy.
Both skipper and crew will no doubt become a target for tactical attention when the sails are tensioned for the final race of the series.
However based on the result from last week the only challenge facing John Galloway is for the relatively modest skipper to prepare a speech when Club Commodore and rival skipper Kevin Fogarty presents him with the Maurice Drent Boating Services trophy.
This is a fitting reward for the skipper and crew who understand the value from out sailing the fleet by a commanding four minute 59 seconds to firm a vice type grip on the trophy.
But that result is now history and they will need to again sail tactically smart to protect their reputation as the fastest sailing team on Pioneer Bay this week.