Wel­come mat rolled out for 2014 Air­lie race week

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

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.

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