Volvo 60 encounters whale

Rob Mundle reports from the Hayman Regatta

Tuesday August 31st 2004, Author: Rob Mundle, Location: Australasia
It was a case of ‘thar she blows’ for the crew of the Volvo 60 Andrew Short Marine at the Hayman Regatta today. The trouble was that the giant humpback whale was literally underneath the yacht’s bow.

As the around-the-world racer turned the final mark off Hayman Island’s Dolphin Point a frantic call of ‘whale’ came from bowman Ben Andersen. The 10m long slow moving mammal broke the surface right under the bow, at the same time spraying a plume of water into the air that doused Andersen.

A collision was inevitable but a rapid reaction on the helm by skipper Andrew Short minimised the force of the impact.

“It was a huge whale,” said Short. “You could feel it scraping down the side of the hull. Fortunately we were going quite slowly at the time so there was no harm done to the whale or yacht. It surfaced a few metres away, had a look at us then continued on its course.”

Andrew Short Marine sailed on to the finish where it took line honours over Matt Allen’s Farr 52 Ichi Ban by almost 10 minutes.

Today’s 28 nautical mile course took the fleet around the northern tip of Hayman Island then along the eastern shore of Hook Island to Dumbell Island before returning to the finish off the resort. All crews found it an extremely interesting and challenging course. The wind fluctuated between north and east at around 14 knots. During the passage to Dumbell the fleet came to a halt off the striking cliffs that form Pinnacle Point when the wind faded to the extent where headway could not be made against the adverse current.

Interestingly no crews complained about the ‘liquid sunshine’ during the race because all knew that the entire Whitsunday region has been desperately in need of soaking rain for months.

The result in the IRC division reflected the keen competition that is being enjoyed in the battle to become the Hayman Regatta champion when Steve and Mary Chiodo’s new Sydney 47 cruiser-racer Gomez became the third corrected time winner in as many races. Gomez claimed first by an imposing 13m 42s from Ichi Ban with Wayne Millar’s Zoe another four minutes back in third.

In the PHS division it was time to celebrate for Don Algie and the crew of the Warwick 62 Storm II. After finishing last and second last on PHS in the first two races they filled the top spot today ahead of Gomez and Zoe.

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