by Ian Grant
Skipper Craig Piccinelli and his Wobbly Boot crew continue to lead the Whitsunday Sailing Club Sprint race series following an important third place in the 26th race on Pioneer Bay this past week.
They presently hold a commanding 20 point lead over the John Galloway skippered Queensland Marine Services while Kevin Fogarty safely holds onto third place with Twister.
However while the Wobbly Boot crew remain happy with their results they have entered the important countdown to be race ready and on the pace when the battle lines are drawn for class honours in the 2012 Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week set down for racing over the tactically demanding Whitsunday Island waters from August 10-16.
As their results suggest the Wobbly Boot crew have been at the top of the game under the short Sprint racing format and translating this form into the longer and more tactically demanding Island passages races will be challenging.
Furthermore there will be limited opportunity for the crew to sit back and enjoy the ride when the sails are tensioned to decide the star performer in the tactical arm wrestle to decide the Telcoinabox Performance handicap class champion for 2012.
The Wobbly Boot crew who have the advantage of understanding the local conditions are not in the position to rest as the group of strong New South Wales crews including Matt Allen’s (Ichi Ban) and former Airlie Beach Race Week champion John Bacon (Dark Star) have the proven crew skills and boat speed to command respect.
Wobbly Boot will certainly face a searching test and will need to stay clear of being tactically engaged with their larger and faster New South Wales rivals.
There is no doubt that the competitive nature of the Wobbly Boot crew will have them fighting from the front however they will not be able to afford to become engaged in any time consuming periods of sailing in the wind shadow of their rivals.
While Wobbly Boot has the points on the board in club racing the competition to win the boat of the series in the 2012 Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week Performance Handicap championship promises to turn into a State against State and Mate against Mate dogfight with New South Wales yachts Ichi Ban, Dark Star, Ropabull, Local Hero and UBS Wild Thing expected to set the pace.