Hamilton Island Race Week hits halfway
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.