Seas play havoc with yachts

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

ELEVEN boat­loads of in­trepid sailors set off on Satur­day to com­pete in the 65 nau­ti­cal mile Round the Whit­sun­days yacht race.

This iconic race is the long­est in the sailing club’s cal­en­dar and has been the long­est run­ning race in the club’s his­tory at 30-plus years.

With winds ex­ceed­ing 20 knots and a big tide range, it wasn’t long un­til the carnage be­gan.

Ae­o­lus, one of the com­pet­ing mul­ti­hulls, lost its rig due to mast com­pres­sion near South Molle Is­land af­ter go­ing through Un­safe Pas­sage.

The crew man­aged to re­trieve all the rig­ging and mo­tored home safely.

Con­di­tions were okay dur­ing the beat to the south end of Dent Is­land due to the tide run­ning with the wind, but slowly wors­ened as the re­main­ing multi and the di­vi­sion two fleet sailed to Work­ing­ton Is­land, with 2–3m con­fused seas build­ing by the time they turned north up the out­side of Whit­sun­day Is­land.

The fleets were around be­fore the change of tide started to build the seas up to short, sharp swells more than 3m high, which is what the slower di­vi­sion three fleet had to con­tend with.

Riff Raff re­tired next with wa­ter ingress and float­ing floor­boards. The bilge pumps coped, al­low­ing the crew to mo­tor safely home. Next to re­tire was Fuzzy

Logic, which broke its tiller while do­ing 14.5 knots dur­ing a jibe near Delo­raine Is­land.

The dis­ap­pointed skip­per later said very nasty waves had caused them to put the top of the mast in the wa­ter at one stage, but it was great fun and he couldn’t wait to do it again.

The other small di­vi­sion three boat, Mas­quer­ade, al­though un­dam­aged, had also had enough of the con­di­tions and headed home early through Hook Pas­sage. This left only Anthea and La

Quilta to bat­tle on to the fin­ish around Hay­man Is­land.

By the time they were near­ing the fin­ish, the wind was dy­ing out, with Anthea tak­ing al­most two hours to sail from Pioneer Rocks to fin­ish at 11.30pm. La Quilta fi­nally pulled the pin a short dis­tance from the fin­ish line, with no wind two hours later, which was very dis­ap­point­ing for the crew af­ter a mam­moth 17-hour bat­tle.

A big thank you to Stu Har­ris and his helpers, who manned fin­ish boat Munn un­til the early hours. Re­sults: Div 1: 1st Over­drive, DNF Ae­o­lus Div 2: 1st Trea­sure VIII, 2nd Reig­ni­tion, 3rd Twister, 4th Wob­bly Boot Div 3: 1st Anthea, DNF Riff Raff, Fuzzy Logic, Mas­quer­ade and La Quilta

Photo: Sharon Small­wood

IN AC­TION: Over­drive, pic­tured here at a pre­vi­ous Air­lie Beach Race Week, was the win­ner of di­vi­sion one.

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