Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week hits half­way

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

THREE days down, three to go in this year’s Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week.

Con­sis­tent south-east winds at 10-12 knots and sun­shine have blessed the fleet in re­cent days, while IRC di­vi­sion 1 and 2, as well as per­for­mance rac­ing, com­pleted the stun­ning 32 nau­ti­cal mile Club Ma­rine medium dis­tance race around North Molle and Hen­ning is­lands, back to the fin­ish in Dent Pas­sage off the Hamil­ton Is­land Yacht Club. Bob Oat­ley was aboard his 100 footer Wild Oates XI for Tues­day’s race, as was guru yacht­ing jour­nal­ist Bob Fisher – all the way from the UK for his first Race Week in the Whit­sun­days.

“We are tinkering away do­ing our own thing as we get ready for this year’s Ho­bart race,” Wild Oats XI’s helms­man Mark Richards said on the back of an­other line hon­ours vic­tory. On cor­rected time, Karl Kwow’s TP52 Team Beau Geste leads IRC di­vi­sion 1 thanks to Tues­day’s sec­ond over­all win. Stephen Bar­low’s Farr 40 called Forty is the new point score leader in di­vi­sion 2 and Matt Owen’s Lo­cal Hero is re­fus­ing to give up top spot in di­vi­sion 3.

Growth in the mul­ti­hull and cruis­ing di­vi­sions have boosted the Race Week fleet. Five mul­ti­hulls were part of the in­au­gu­ral mul­ti­hull di­vi­sion in 2013 - this year 21 rac­ing and cruis­ing mul­ti­hulls an­swered the call.

Ian Torode’s Light­wave 38 Fluffy Muffy took over­all hon­ours in Tues­day’s around-the-is­lands race in the mul­ti­hull cruis­ing di­vi­sion.

“We had a lovely start and got our nose in front so we were quite happy. There are three of us on board: my brother and I plus a ring-in from the lo­cal gym,” Torode said. Three bul­lets for Les­lie Green’s Gin­ger on the wind­ward/lee­ward course at Tur­tle Bay to the east of Hamil­ton Is­land have the Syd­ney boat com­fort­ably out in front at the half­way mark of the MC38 class’ Aus­tralian cham­pi­onship.

Gin­ger’s smil­ing tac­ti­cian David Chap­man praised the group’s team­work.

“There was no right side of the course, it was pretty shifty,” he said.

“We sailed smart and found clear lanes and good boat speed. We took the op­por­tu­ni­ties when they pre­sented them­selves.”

Light air sail­ing isn’t op­ti­mal for the 27 tonne Maxi Ragamuffin, but the three­time Syd­ney-Ho­bart line hon­ours win­ner man­aged a win on cor­rected time in Cruis­ing di­vi­sion 1.

Rac­ing re­sumes to­day and the fore­cast is for south to south-east­erly winds at about 14-18 knots.

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