Sav­ing the best un­til last at Hamil­ton Is­land race Week

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

THE best of win­ter sail­ing in the Whit­sun­days capped off rac­ing at Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week.

Bucket loads of sun­shine and puffy 18-20 knots of south to south-east­erly trade winds farewelled the fleet from Dent Pas­sage for the fi­nal time this se­ries.

Keep­ing it fresh, the race com­mit­tee of­fered crews a nav­i­ga­tor’s choice for the de­cid­ing race.

At Sid­ney Is­land off Lin­de­man Is­land, IRC di­vi­sions 1 and 2 opted to head for home ei­ther via Dent or Hamil­ton Is­land, while the re­main­ing di­vi­sions made the same choice at Iso­lated Rock.

A full spec­trum of con­di­tions over six days cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties to climb, and slip down the peck­ing or­der.

Gear and crew were chal­lenged in var­i­ous wind ranges between 7-10kts and short­ened cour­ses on day one Sun­day (Au­gust 17) to dou­ble that last Satur­day.

Karl Kwok’s all-con­quer­ing TP52 Team Beau Geste cleaned up an­other ma­jor Aus­tralian re­gatta and ti­tle.

The TP52 has been cam­paigned on the Aus­tralian East Coast for the past two years and raked in the spoils – the TP52 South­ern Cross Cup and the Audi IRC Aus­tralian Cham­pi­onship.

“We had per­sis­tent winds this week, no mat­ter how strong or weak there were no car parks,” Kwok said.

“The first day we ran aground due to a mis­cal­cu­la­tion. Af­ter that we got bet­ter each day, we rounded off all our rough edges.”

Beau Geste will now head to Hong Kong for the South East Asian cir­cuit.

Phil Turner’s RP66 Alive fin­ished sec­ond by four points, among the big boat di­vi­sion. In IRC di­vi­sion 2, Stephen Bar­low’s Farr 40 Forty had enough credits to stay on dry land while the rest of the di­vi­sion fought for the mi­nor plac­ings in to­day’s 22nm race is­land course.

“We were go­ing to race to­day, luck­ily we didn’t need to as we were half sink­ing when we came ashore,” Bar­low said.

“We are sur­prised how we fin­ished given the qual­ity of the IRC com­pe­ti­tion at Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week.”

Ea­gle Rock fin­ished sec­ond fol­lowed by Ge­off Boettcher’s Se­cret Mens Busi­ness.

The IRC di­vi­sion 3 win­ner was Lo­cal Hero, who led the pointscore from the out­set.

Four wins from six races was im­pres­sive for the al­most two decade old boat.

Bene­tau 40.7 Schouten Pas­sage, cam­paigned by the Howard fam­ily, fin­ished sec­ond ahead of Andy Kear­nan’s L’Al­tra Donna.

The crew on Les­lie Green’s MC38 Gin­ger cel­e­brated win­ning the class’ Aus­tralian cham­pi­onship last Satur­day.

John Ba­con’s Dark Star fin­ished with a bul­let in Satur­day’s pas­sage race, and held off class new­comer Hooli­gan to claim sec­ond.

Hamil­ton Is­land Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Glenn Bourke praised this year’s event.

“We had a great di­ver­sity in con­di­tions from the be­gin­ning to the end of the week – there was some­thing for ev­ery­one,” he said.

“The best breeze in years mixed with the en­ter­tain­ment on of­fer and the op­por­tu­nity to catch up with old sail­ing friends re­ally made the week.”

RACE WEEK: Wild Oats XI in ac­tion dur­ing the fi­nal day of this year's Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Week. Photo An­drea Fran­col­ini/AUDI.

THREE'S COM­PANY: Schouten Pas­sage (New­cas­tle), Not A Di­a­mond (Bris­bane) and Aud­ere (Ho­bart) of IRC di­vi­sion 3

in ac­tion.

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