Challenging weekend for annual race series
A LACK of breeze and long distances created a challenge for participants in the Advanced Alarms Mackay, Whitsunday Offshore Yacht Racing Circuit (WOYRC), held over the Labour Day long weekend.
Yachts from Mackay, Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach contested the offshore event, with races scheduled for Mackay to Hamilton Island on Saturday, Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach on Sunday and Airlie Beach to Bowen on Monday.
The first leg on Saturday was held in a fresh south-easterly breeze, making it a 50-nautical-mile reach to Hamilton Island. The first boat home was Cool Change (Bob Critchley) from Mackay, finishing in just five hours and 18 minutes. One hour and 20 minutes later, Sorceress (Eric Smith) was close to the finish, but ran aground on reef near Dent Island and unfortunately retired from the race. On corrected time, Cool
Change was the runaway winner ahead of fellow Mackay boats Shady Tradie (Tommy Jordan) and Matangi (Dave Turnbull).
On Sunday morning, a light easterly breeze was blowing for the race from Hamilton Island, around Pine Island and on to Airlie Beach. Hamilton Island’s Spi
rit of the Maid (Bruce Absalon), took the route between Long Island and the mainland, hoping for the tide to push the boat through the Long Island Sound quickly.
“However the wind died completely in that area and they were forced to retire after being becalmed for an hour,” race officer Tim Parker said. Airlie Beach boat Reig
nition (Charles Wallis) went on to finish the race first with Crossbow (David Lund) sailing to a second place.
Race three of the series from Airlie Beach to Bowen was cancelled due to a lack of wind, so the overall winners were Cross
bow in first place, Matangi in second and Cool
Change in third.