The 37th Lincoln Week Regatta final day of racing was held today, Thursday 23rd February, on the waters of Boston Bay.
Darryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau First 45 Victoire, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney, has won the 'grand prix' IRC division after a great boat-on-boat duel with Alan Woodward’s Beneteau First 45 from Royal Brighton Yacht Club, Melbourne.
They’ve matched race in every race of the six-race series and in the end Victoire won by a single point from Reverie.
Third, after a similar close duel all regatta with a very similar boat, was Geoff Boettcher’s Reichel/Pugh 51 Secret Men’s Business from the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia, Adelaide, six points ahead of Rob Date’s R/P 52 from Sandringham YC, Melbourne.
These two biggest yachts in the event again duelled at the head of the fleet in a light 6-8 knot south-easterly breeze, which contained challenging 10-degree wind shifts, on flat water in expansive Boston Bay.
Secret Men’s was first to finish in race five, the first race of the day, by 49 seconds while Scarlet Runner prevailed in race six, to take line honours by 34 seconds.
The situation in the IRC division became extremely close after Reverie won race five by 1min 15sec from Victoire with Secret Men’s another 1min 17sec behind in third place.
That left Victoire a single point ahead of Reverie. But in the last race, over a three-round windward-leeward course with 1.4n mile legs, Reverie started poorly, giving the opportunity for Victoire to cover her every move through the wind shifts.
They placed fifth and seventh respectively and discarded race six as their worst performances, to leave Victoire a point ahead. The heat placings showed the dominance of these two Bruce Farr designs.
Victoire’s placings were 1-2-1-1-2-5; Reverie’s 2-1-2-2-1-7.
Secret Men’s Business 3.5 was third on IRC overall, with 19 points and Scarlet Runner fourth on 25.
Victoire’s skipper Darryl Hodkinson explained that in race five they had a crewing problem on the first windward beat; an over-ride of the headsail sheet on a winch that meant the sheet had to be cut to free it.
'The first race today was a shocker,' said. 'We had an over-ride, had to cut the sheet and that really cost us.'
'The second race was a really good race for us; we soundly beat them, although Reverie had us pegged downwind.'
Victoire was loaded with experienced talent. Sean Kirkjian is tactician. Ian Macdiarmid, whose Sydney loft made the sails, was mainsheet trimmer and is a noted wind-shift whisperer.
Navigator Phil Eadie, has sailed on Sydney-Hobart race winners and today found a new vocation, as spinnaker packer.
'Phil as navigator did not have much to do today. He is an excellent guy and a very, very good spinnaker packer,' Hodgkinson said.
'We had a few inexperienced people but a core of experienced people, Hodgkinson said.
After his first Lincoln Week regatta, Hodgkinson vowed to return. 'It has been a great regatta; we love the venue; it’s just going to be hard to go back to Sydney with all that rain and the bumpy water.
'We have to come back.'
Another interstater who wants more is Scarlet Runner’s skipper Rob Date: 'It’s a good fun week and we’ll probably come back again next year.
'It’s very competitive. We match raced Secret Men’s in both races all day; tack for tack; sitting on them. They’d sit on us, we’d sit on them; get underneath, get free air, sit on them again.
'It was a match race all day; it’s good fun.'
Geoff Boettcher was pleased with Secret Men’s Business 3.5’s performance after a season’s break from top competitive racing and praised the venue.
'This was another very successful Port Lincoln regatta,' he said. 'We had a fantastic duel with Scarlet Runner and on handicap we were still right in the hunt until the last day.
'The conditions across the board were lighter than usual this year but it was still great racing.
'The highlights were finishing the series ahead of Scarlet Runner. We had great tacking duels over the whole regatta.'
Boettcher has committed to a full-on summer racing season in 2011-12 that will include the Rolex Sydney-Hobart race and next year possibly the British offshore classic, the Rolex Fastnet race.
'We still enjoy sailing the boat and it would be sad not to continue racing it. And if we have the opportunity to take it overseas we would like to do that and especially the Fastnet race.'
Boettcher was generally happy with SMB 3.5’s performance in the regatta. 'We lacked a little bit of downwind speed, which we will address with the sailmaker.
'Our light wind performance was a lot, lot better than it had been.'
Other divisional winners were:
Performance handicap: Bullistic, Bull 12 (Paul Martin, CYCSA).
Multihull OMR: Yabb, Corsair Sprint 750 Mark II (David Renouf, Royal Prince Alfred YC).
Cruising: Sextant, X34 (Jonathan Newbury, Port Lincoln YC).
Sydney 38: Shining Sea (Andrew Corletto, CYCSA). Lincoln Week Regatta website