Third at world champs
HEADING straight out after Airlie Beach Race Week, where Ullman Sails (Paul Mitchell) took the honours in the Multihull Racing Division, it was straight over to San Francisco for the J111 World Championship at St Francis Yacht Club.
Stepping straight from the multihull racer onto a 36ft one design keelboat was a huge step for the local sailmaker.
Sailing with renowned Melbourne yacht racer Rod Warren, Paul had to get to grips with these competitive yachts, where every slight error can be costly as there are literally seconds between the boats around the course.
Sailing against some of the best sailors in the world, many local to the area, expectations were mixed before the first race, so finishing third in this fleet in the opening race was a great start.
Going into the last race of the nine race series, their results were 3,4,1,3,1,5,1,4 for a score of 17 points, against the leading boat on 13 points and second place on 14 points in the lowest score wins system.
A win in the last race gave them a chance at the title, but by finishing second and third accordingly, the best that the Australians could manage was third place, two points behind the winner (Peter Wagner) and one point behind second place (Jim Connelly).
A GLORIOUS 10-knot southeasterly breeze provided the Whitsunday Sailing Club sailors with excellent conditions for last week’s Wednesday twilight race.
After the light conditions of the previous week, the fleet was fired up to ensure great racing for the boats and crews. A total of 16 boats registered to the race committee, a marked increase from the previous week.
Division 1 is the domain of the multihull yachts, catamarans and trimarans. For this week, there were three boats competing in this division. First across the starting line, to take the division’s Doyle Sailssponsored best start award, was Shadowfax (Miles Wood).
Wild Thing (Keith Roberts), the largest boat, benefits from long waterline length, while G’nome (Terry Archer) is lighter and more nimble, but lacks the outright speed of the others.
On corrected time it was Wild Thing from G’Nome with Shadowfax third.
In the racing monohull division, it was Sticky Fingers (Luke Mairs) who led from start to finish, with the aid of his spinnaker.
As well as taking the best start award, they were also first on line honours and first on handicap time.
Ready to pounce should the spinnaker fail, Queensland Marine Services (John Galloway) and Delher Magic (Charlie Preen) were not far behind, each pushing the other as they tried to catch the leader.
Even with the spinnaker penalty, Sticky Fingers won the day, with Delher Magic second and Twister (Kevin Fogarty) third.
In the trailable yacht and cruising division the fleet split into two groups, with the larger, heavier cruising boats getting the advantage. On corrected time it was Riff Raff who won the honours.
SAILING ACTION: Local sailmaker Paul Mitchell sailing a a 36ft one design keelboat at the J111 World Championships.