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Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Week - High standard fleet

by Ian Grant on 28 Jun 2010
The Kiwi TP52, Georgia, (Jim Farmer, NZ), wants to win the IRC class Hamilton Island www.hamiltonisland.com.au
The Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week well known on the Australasian yacht racing scene as the friendly regatta has attracted a high standard fleet to contest the 2010 class championships over the Whitsunday Sailing Club courses in August.

Southern latitude sailors representing clubs from the colder winter climate beyond the Tropic of Capricorn make up the bulk of this year’s fleet.

James Farmer’s excitingly fast Georgia will be heading the challenge from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron to win the prestigious IRC class championship against a fleet which also includes former champion Ray Roberts (Evolution Racing) and sole female challenger Belinda Cooper helming the Cairns based Sydney 32 Groove.

The colourful Mooloolaba Yacht Club Commodore Bon Robertson has entered the 2009 Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Performance Handicap trophy champion Cracklin Rosie while solo around Australian sailor Ian Thomson will have a full crew on board to ‘pull the strings’ on SOS Ocean Racing.


Local interest will also focus on the performance of the ‘Golden Oldie’ the Rod Sawyer helmed Whitsunday Sailing Club sloop Surefoot. Initially designed by Swedish Naval Architect Peter Norlin to contest the 1983 Champagne Mumm Admirals Cup in England under the Royal Papua Yacht Club burgee has an impressive racing log spanning almost three decades.

The past generation IOR class ocean racer has raced under various handicap formulas including winning the West Australian Blue Water offshore championship and finishing third in the 1987 Brisbane to Gladstone race behind the Bob Robertson skippered Seller’s Witchcraft II and the Ian Kenny skippered The Gambler.

In more recent times Surefoot has become the pacesetter on Pioneer Bay winning a share of trophies including The Airlie Sails title earlier this year.



The impressive fleet line up for the opening race over the Double Cone – Armit Island course on Thursday August 12th.

Interest will also surround an expected tactical dog-fight to win the Super 30 class title where the Gosford Sailing Club skipper Kim Williams and his Rock N Roll crew will face up to a strong Queensland challenge headed by the Jeff Paul skippered Farr 30 RBS Morgans Immigrant from Gladstone and Townsville’s Leon Thomas in Guilty Pleasures III.

Jeff Paul leaves nothing on the water when he races his ‘sprint machine’ as proved with his third in the 308 nautical mile Brisbane to Gladstone race over the Easter weekend. He is a specialist fresh wind sailor which is expected to give the RBS Morgans Immigrant crew a slight advantage when they go head to head in a drag race against Rock n Roll and Guilty Pleasures III for the class championship and the Boss Hog boat of the series title.

Online entries at www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au

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