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Magic fast sailing at Hamilton Island Race Week on penultimate day

by Lisa Ratcliff / HIRW media 25 Aug 2023 01:58 PDT 19-26 August 2022
The mighty ORMA 60 Rex - Hamilton Island Race Week 2023 © Salty Dingo

Hamilton Island Race Week's 60-foot multihull behemoth Rex came close to their top speed on the penultimate day, hitting 37.8 knots of boat speed in the fresh south-easterlies.

"Magic fast sailing," said Rex skipper Dale Mitchell. "Our top speed with this boat is just shy of 40 knots, which probably looks quite radical off the boat but it's very controllable. Anything over 30 knots [of boat speed] and Rex is responsive and quite stable on the helm. And we don't notice the chop - the foil smooths out the ocean."

Humpback whales and their playful calves aren't fussed by the breeze and have been spotted on multiple courses across the week, including today in Whitsunday Passage.

Multihull Division

Trade winds up to 26 knots tested boats and crews and there were several breakages, retirements and even one capsize in Dent Passage - the tiny blue Sydney sports boat Barely Legal.

The Rating and Hamilton Island Blue divisions rolled off the Hamilton Island Yacht Club start line while at the Eastern start, one metre swells and 18 knots of breeze set the scene for the remaining Hamilton Island and the trailable divisions.

Michel Van Der Zwaard's Queensland Extreme 40 Angus retired with damage. Some of the crew headed to Airlie Beach to repair the carbon boom while the remainder were installing a new hydraulic panel.

"The almighty Rex is really dialled in this year," Van Der Zwaard acknowledged. "They are awesome to watch, and we can't beat them on handicap anymore."

Multihull Black Division's clubhouse leader is Stuart Cox's Stealth 12.7 Cut Snake and Multihull White's is Stephen Leonard's Sea Dragon.

Rating Class

Ray Roberts is a multi-Race Week divisional trophy winner and usually has space to breathe at this stage of the Rating Division 4 pointscore. David Cross' Cape 31 Kukukerchu is pressing on Roberts' defending champion Team Hollywood, a Botin 40 out of Sydney, the pair now a point apart with one race to go.

Duncan Hine's RP66 Alive, a former Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner representing the Derwent Sailing Squadron in Tasmania, is untouchable in Rating Class Division 1. The top-grade crew line-up, which includes international sailors Chris Nicholson, Adrienne Cahalan, Darren Jones, Alex Gough and Stu Bannatyne, have consistently outsailed their peers on corrected time.

Wild Oats retired from today's island course due to gear damage and Andoo Comanche was unable to start and has retired from the regatta following gear damage yesterday. We wish both teams a speedy return to sailing.

Hamilton Island divisions

Geelong has a proud sailing heritage and is well-represented at Hamilton Island Race Week. Cam Rae's Thompson 30 Barracuda was trucked north across two state borders to contest Hamilton Island Purple Division and the Geelong crew have a final shot tomorrow to secure a placing. Rick Billson's Impulse X is the lead boat in this division.

All results are available at www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au

Day 4 racing highlights video can be found here.

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