Christmas Magic to wrap up the season
THE final race of the 2011 yacht racing calendar the Christmas Cup was held on Saturday with the onset of the summer northerlies playing havoc with the best efforts of the crews that braved the scorching heat and light air for the passage around Low Isles.
Eight yachts came to the start but only five managed to make it as far as Low Isles as the variable 5 to 10 knot breeze dropped in and out and skipped around most points of the compass.
The skill of the sailors was put to the test in the challenging conditions as Ann Sea and Magic showed the way tacking back and forth in the oscillating breeze.
The fleet converged on the southern side of Low Isles for the portside rounding but Magic and Ann Sea had opened up a considerable lead ahead of Ice, Whitecap and Sea Wizard.
Miriama, Ruff Red and Impact had to concede the wind strength was never going to be sufficient and pulled out when it became clear they would never complete the course in time.
As the two lead boats hoisted their spinnakers for the run home a close contest developed east of Low Isles as Whitecap and Sea Wizard were hot on the tail of Ice rounding the island.
Magic took line honours in 05:04:36, double the time usually taken in a steady sou’easter, to be 10 minutes ahead of Ann Sea with Ice, Whitecap and Sea Wizard a full hour behind.
Ann Sea tried everything to rein in her rival but corrected times gave the win to Magic by just 48 seconds with Ann Sea second and a great sail from Bob White on Sea Wizard claiming third.
Congratulations to Doug Ryan for a third consecutive win of the Christmas Cup sailing Magic.
Close racing: the Port Douglas Christmas Cup on Saturday