Closing in on records
ABOUT 50 sailors hit the water on Saturday for the Whitsunday Sailing Club’s prestigious XXXX Series Round the Whitsundays race.
The boats set off in challenging conditions of 20-25 knot winds from the south-east, heading towards Dent Island on a hard upwind leg.
The tide was pushing towards the south which initially assisted the competitors but created bigger waves while the wind was against it.
After braving a strong squall near Dent Island, all boats reached across past Hamilton Island and out to Workington Island. They then hoisted their spinnakers for a very fast downwind run to Hayman Island.
After rounding Hayman, competitors had to sail close-hauled back to finish line off the sailing club.
Rum Raider, skippered by Scott Millar, was the first boat to finish shortly after 3pm, just missing out on the race record.
Tulip, skippered by Bernie van’t Hof, followed close behind, with a time of just under eight hours and one minute, which was also close to a record for a monohull.
On corrected time, Rum Raider beat Zippy, skippered by Bernie MacErlane, to win Division 1, while in Division 2, Reignition (Charles Wallis), sailed an excellent race, finishing only 24 minutes behind Tulip.
Second was Wobbly Boot (Craig Piccinelli), with Twister (Kevin Fogarty), in third.
All boats finished the race before 7pm, which club officials said might have been a record in itself.
Race two of the XXXX Series is a short offshore race this coming Saturday followed by a bay race on Sunday.
Presentations for the XXXX Series will take place at the clubhouse on Sunday from 5pm.