Welcome mat rolled out for 2014 Airlie race week
AIRLIE Beach Race Week’s 25th anniversary regatta, from August 815, is shaping up to be an attractive event for IRC boats.
Regatta director, Denis Thompson, said the IRC race course was being reviewed in recognition of the changing nature of the bigger boats that seemed to make up the IRC divisions these days.
“All the bigger boats these days have gone quite deep compared to when we originally set the event up [so] it’s about time we [shifted] things out into the deeper water,” he said.
Matt Allen and his Ichi Ban team will be pleased by this decision.
Allen has been a strong supporter of Airlie Beach Race Week for many years, but although he previously campaigned with a Farr 40, he now has a sleek Carkeek 60 drawing 4.5 metres - rather more than his former boat.
Mr Thompson, who has been aware of Ichi Ban’s draft issues for some time, said changing the course to be more accommodating for the IRC class was likely to present challenges, but would also have its rewards.
“While the area we normally start in will be deep enough, we will probably go out to sea a little bit further and the Mandalay mark may have to be set in a different place,” he said.
“Also, the finish line will likely be set in a different place, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
“Quite often that finish line area is just slightly out of the wind and those boats further out to sea tend to get a better breeze. So by shifting the finish line out to sea a little bit further; one, it will be a bit deeper and two, it will be better [breezes] in a south-easterly.”
This attention to race planning will no doubt make many more IRC boat-owners happy including likely entrants, the Ker 46 Patrice III and the GP42 Black Betty.
According to Allen, these are two boats he would very much like to line up against at this year’s Airlie Beach Race Week.
“It would be good to have as many grand prix boats as possible,” he said.
For more information visit www.airlieraceweek.com.
GRAND PRIX: Matt Allen's Ichi Ban is a contender for the IRC division of Airlie Beach Race Week. The boat is pictured here leading the group out of Sydney Heads in the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Photo by Kevin Green.