Pic­ture per­fect start to Airle Beach Race Week

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

BLUE skies and sparkling seas formed the back­drop to the 24th an­nual Abell Point Ma­rina Air­lie Beach Race Week, which started on Satur­day.

Rac­ing be­gan in mag­i­cal con­di­tions for the 110 boats spread across 11 di­vi­sions.

On Satur­day, the breeze was a kind south-east eight to 10 knots in­shore and up to 15 knots off­shore as PRO Ross Chisholm sent the fleet off on the Ar­mitCones course.

There were plenty of bat­tles among the small and big boats, with some of the high achiev­ers fall­ing by the way­side in the soft wind and tricky tides.

First off were the mul­ti­hull di­vi­sions 1 and 2, sig­nalling the start of the Aus­tralian Mul­ti­hull Cham­pi­onships.

At the end of day one it was the ‘dark horse’, the Sea-Cart 30 Mor­ti­cia, that took out hand­i­cap hon­ours in Di­vi­sion 1 ahead of Mal­ice and APC Mad Max.

The IRC Rac­ing Di­vi­sion en­trants were tight on the line at the gun.

With the ex­pec­ta­tion of an abat­ing breeze, Quest skip­per Bob Steele ex­pected to be bat­tling with his arch ri­val Vic­toire, but by the end of the 31-mile race and with the breeze hold­ing at about 15 knots out­side the is­lands Quest was across the fin­ish line well ahead.

“There weren’t any chal­lenges out there, just a beau­ti­ful day in par­adise. We did well,” Steele said.

Steele came in first on hand­i­cap ahead of de­fend­ing cham­pion and Whit­sun­day skip­per Ber­rnie Van’t Hof ( Tulip).

Rac­ing was also close in the Per­for­mance Di­vi­sion. Sneak­ing into first place was Philip Grove’s Huntress. Ichi Ban was sec­ond, just 29 sec­onds ahead of Men­ace on cor­rected time.

In the cruis­ing di­vi­sions Rob Date’s Scar­lett Run­ner and race week founder Don Al­gie’s Storm 2 were first off the blocks. At the end of race one, Mike Roper’s Ropab­ull was the leader on hand­i­cap ahead of Storm 2 and Eureka II.

Di­vi­sion 2 leader on the first leg was lo­cal boat, Wob­bly Boot (Craig Pic­cinelli), who was over­taken by an­other lo­cal, Mike Keyte, whose Beneteau 40 Take Flight fin­ished first on hand­i­cap.

In Cruis­ing Di­vi­sion 3 there was noth­ing be­tween the two Club­man 8s, Syn­chronic­ity and Kameruka at the fin­ish.

While the first race of the re­gatta set the tone, light winds and fur­ther bat­tles will mean the tro­phies are still any­one’s to grab.

Re­sults are up­dated daily and can be viewed at www.air­lier­ace­week.com.

GO: Mono­hulls un­der­way at the start of the 24th an­nual Air­lie Beach Race Week on Satur­day.

SPIN­NAKERS SET: Per­for­mance di­vi­sion yachts in­clud­ing Whit­sun­day com­peti­tor An­other Fi­asco (third from left) sail­ing un­der spin­naker on re­gatta day one.

LO­CAL ICON: Whit­sun­day boat Con­dor is com­pet­ing in the Cruis­ing Di­vi­sion 1 of Air­lie Beach Race Week, be­fore head­ing to the 30th an­niver­sary re­gatta at Hamil­ton Is­land next week.

READY, SET, SAIL: Mul­ti­hull di­vi­sions 1 and 2 on the start line in day one of the Abell Point Ma­rina Air­lie Beach Race Week.

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