Townsville’s Guilty Pleasures team are more than delighted that last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Race handicap winner, Victoire, will be competing in the IRC Division in this year’s SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week.
The five days of racing, from the 28th August to 2nd September 2014, will give the Townsville team the opportunity to go head to head with the fast, offshore racer, as the Guilty Pleasures VI team prepare for their assault on the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
The team leader and skipper Leon Thomas explained; 'Magnetic Island Race Week is our backyard, home event and there has been a Guilty Pleasures sailing boat in every Race Week. Even though it is regatta style racing, there are two things we are looking forward too. One is that it fine tunes our crew and our boat handling abilities on a short course environment.
'Secondly, it gives us the chance to go head to head with last year’s Hobart winner. That will give us a gauge on how we are performing. Even though it’s not a long offshore race, it still gives us an indication of where we can make improvements to the boat to give us a better chance to compete in the Hobart.
'Being our first Hobart race we have no illusions of grandeur, but we certainly want to do the best that we can do. But, our primary goal is to compete in the race and make sure we get down to Hobart safely. Performing well would be a bonus.
'Hobart is an Everest of sailing. It’s the closest amateur sailors can get to that sort of profile in terms of offshore sailing,' he added.
Guilty Pleasures VI at the finish of the 2014 Brisbane to Gladstone Race. - Image contributed
Owners of the Farr 40, Thomas, navigator Joel Bruce and watch captain Greg Dorries have mapped out an extensive eight month training program leading towards the Sydney Hobart Race start on the 26th December. It started when the team lodged their application to race, the first one for a Queensland boat.
At the end of May the team will compete in the Townsville to Airlie Beach Race and then the race back to Townsville, using these two races to test their crew numbers and roles. They will then need to complete a Category 1 qualifying sail. There is also an ongoing maintenance program in place as they complete work on the boat to make it offshore race-ready and compliant with the Category 1 safety requirements.
There is no plan for the team to compete at Hamilton Island or Airlie Beach race weeks as they keep themselves focused on their Hobart preparations. However, they will be on the start line for the SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week and ready to battle the short courses as hard as if they were competing in one of their long offshore races. 'We are looking forward to it,' Thomas said.
The Notice of Race and the online entry for the nine divisions is at www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au
. Entries close Friday 22nd August 2014.
Magnetic Island Race Week is hosted by Townsville Yacht Club. Sponsored by SeaLink. Supported by Magnetic Island Marina, Tourism and Events Queensland, Yachting Queensland, Townsville Enterprise.