by Ian Grant
Bragging rights as the best short course racing crew at the Whitsunday Sailing Club remains close and evenly contested with the first of the true northerlies expected to test their brute breeze sailing skills as the tropical wet season approaches.
Light winds on Pioneer Bay - Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week 2011
The normal placid sailing courses on Pioneer Bay are famed for becoming a torture track when the summer winds blow and are known to play a major role in sorting the best from the rest as the crews face the test of riding on a spray drenched rail.
Naturally the heavy wind specialists will greet the opportunity to race in a stronger wind system as they repair some damage to their tactical reputations following a run of mixed results since competing in the Airlie Beach Race Week series in mid-August.
There is no clear picture on which crew will produce the consistent results required to win the Twilight Sprint Race title for 2011 however Damien Suckling (Another Fiasco), John Galloway (Queensland Marine Services), Jeff Brown (007) and Craig Piccinelli (Wobbly Boot) remain as the likely pace setters.
All four skippers who race radically different designed yachts are noted as fresh wind specialists however they will need the support from a mistake free crew technique to remain in contention for the title.
Damien Suckling who has the career distinction of steering the Scott Jutson designed 42 Another Fiasco to a deserved Performance Handicap class win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race expects to face a determined challenge from his major rivals as the competition heats up. He will remain tactically focused on reproducing the handicap rated boat speed required for Another Fiasco to outpace her .970 time correction factor.
However the Another Fiasco crew who are regarded as the Sprint Race title pacesetters will need to become tactically aware of the expected challenge from John Galloway’s crew on Queensland Marine Services.
During recent summers the wily veteran John Galloway has acquired the title as the master of Pioneer Bay and is not about to relinquish that honour without the chance of engaging the younger Damien Suckling in a tactical ‘arm wrestle’.
They are poised to continue with their match race while skippers Jeff Brown (007) and Craig Piccinelli (Wobbly Boot) continue to protect their reputations from the improving Colin Pruden’s Sandpiper and Terry Archer helmed Questionable Logic in what promises to become a close and interesting battle to win the 2011 Whitsunday Sailing Club sprint race championship.