Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THE weather mod­els said there would be wind and rain on day one of the Vi­sion Sur­veys 25th Air­lie Beach Race Week and they were right.

Com­pet­ing crews were faced with gusty con­di­tions as the record 135-boat fleet took to the wa­ter for the tra­di­tional first day Cones Ar­mit Race.

Regatta Direc­tor De­nis Thomp­son said he was com­fort­able with the course, the only con­cern be­ing a small area just out­side the Cones, where it was “pretty woolly” and gust­ing 30 knots.

Dur­ing the race three boats lost their masts, in­clud­ing Sports Boat divi­sion’s Con­quis­ta­dor and Jonathon Smith’s 24 footer Fallen An­gels, which lost it rig just be­fore the fin­ish line.

Jef­frey Brown’s Per­for­mance Divi­sion en­try I Be- lieve, lost its rud­der and the team ‘ New Zealand Boys on Tour’, sail­ing aboard the char­tered Sea Fox were another crew to head home early af­ter suf­fer­ing sail dam­age.

A few more re­tire­ments were recorded dur­ing the af­ter­noon as more of the fleet strug­gled to sail the long course in the breeze that pumped across Pioneer Bay and out to the is­lands. Gusts of 29 knots were seen reg­u­larly in both lo­ca­tions.

For those that stayed and played, the re­sults were well de­served. In IRC it was Tony Kirby’s team on the Ker 46 Pa­trice who took hand­i­cap hon­ours. His four minute lead on Colin Woods’s Pretty Fly III proved Kirby meant what he said about lov­ing strong wind.

The Mul­ti­hulls also lapped up the con­di­tions as they pow­ered around the course with plenty of rooster tails to prove they owned the ‘ speed ma­chines’ ti­tle for the day.

Vi­sion Sur­veys flew the lead spon­sor’s flag as they sailed their way into first place in Mul­ti­hull Cruis­ing. Brian For­rester’s ORAM 62 Drum­beat, with all its cruis­ing gear still in tact, en­joyed the tough con­di­tions.

Other lo­cals who did well on day one in­cluded Craig Pic­cinelli’s Wob­bly boot in Cruis­ing Divi­sion 2, Tom Vu­jasi­novic’s Mas­quer­ade in Cruis­ing Divi­sion 3 and John Gal­loway’s Queens­land Ma­rine Ser­vices in Cruis­ing Non Spin­naker.

WILD AND WOOLY: Lo­cal boat Anthea rounding the mark in blus­tery con­di­tions on day one of the regatta.

DOWN BUT NOT OUT: Sports Boat Con­quis­ta­dor was dis­masted on day one of the 2014 Air­lie Beach Race Week, but was re­paired overnight and is now back in the race.

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