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Living Doll leads IRC big boats as fleets split at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week

Thursday August 27th 2009, Author: Susan Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
Today the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week fleet of 194 split, the Performance Racing divisions enjoying some round the cans action on the eastern course, the Cruising Divisions setting off at a leisurely pace from Dent Passage for their 12 nautical mile pursuit race and the IRC and Passage Divisions racing a stunning shortened course to Baynham Island in what was the best breeze of the week.

“It was nice to have some consistent breeze” said today’s IRC grand prix division 1 winner Graeme Wood, owner of the JV52 Wot Now which is being helmed by Julian Freeman. Wot Now beat overall series leader Living Doll, Michael Hiatt’s Victorian Farr 55, by a minute on corrected time.

Alan Brierty’s RP63 Limit was the only big boat to figure in today’s podium finishes, claiming third over the line and third on corrected time. Their sense of humour was also on display, a Limit crewman offering to re-lay the pin mark for the race committee, a reference to Monday’s tangle up.

Finishing ahead of Limit over the line was Bob Oatley’s RP 66 Wild Oats X and Peter Harburg’s RP 66 Black Jack sailing for the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. The two staged a thrilling line honours duel rounding Dent Island, Black Jack missing out on a long awaited opportunity to climb over Wild Oats when their Code 0 failed to unfurl properly.

“It may have cost us the opportunity to pass Oats,” said Black Jack’s tactician Peter ‘Billy’ Merrington. “They sailed very well and defended their lead.”

“Hats off to them,” offered owner Peter Harburg.

In the line honours contest Wild Oats X is now one up on Black Jack with two days of competition remaining.

IRC division 2 winner was Phil Coombs’ Victorian DK46 Dekadence over Robbo Robertson’s Queensland Farr 40 Cracklin Rosie. With well known offshore yachtsman Roger Hickman part of the afterguard, Dekadence is leading the series overall, on equal points with Rod Jones’ Archambault 40 Alegria.

On Monday Dekadence was lifted out of the water so the keel could be inspected following a slight touch of the keel at Isolated Rock. “In order to sail really well we needed to be touched by paradise, unfortunately the translation to the helm went a little skewy,” said Hickman today. No damage was reported.

His first bullet of the regatta has moved money man Paul Clitheroe and his Beneteau 45 Balance from Sydney into first on the IRC Passage division 1 series scoresheet. Balance leads Graham Jones’ Bluewater by two points.

In the IRC Invitation division, the stately Swan 60 Ginger owned by Leslie Green, helmed by round the world yachtsman Gordon Maguire and with Australian Development Squad member and women’s match racing champion Katie Spithill calling the shots, took the win today from Andrew Banks’ You’re Hired.

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia boat You’re Hired was a very late arrival at Hamilton Island. Their engine blew up off Mackay three days prior to the regatta’s opening day and after sourcing a new engine block the delivery crew motored into the harbour at 2am Saturday morning, just hours before the first race commenced at 1015.

Andy Kearnan’s Sydney 32 Wirrajurnd is on a relentless charge to be top scoring boat in Performance Racing division 2, taking four overall wins from five starts to be clear leader by eight points from CYCA club mate Andrew Stoeckel and his Beneteau 42 Integrity.

Peter Skillington’s chartered Beneteau Oceanis 343 aptly named Heartstruck missed out on the Cruising division 3 silverware in today’s 12 nautical mile race but the crew enjoyed the scenic course nonetheless with building easterly to SE breeze all the way round the track.

With three Melbourne based cardio thoracic surgeons, two anaesthetists, one surgical assistant and one plastic surgeon aboard, Heartstruck is the equivalent of a sailing ambulance.

This afternoon around 700 competitors and their families are enjoying the inaugural Dent Island Day, which has replaced Whitehaven Beach day on the Race Week social calendar.

Part of the fun that is Race Week is the Prix d’Elegance, which will be judged as the fleet departs the harbour for racing tomorrow morning, Friday, August 28. It is open to all yachts that are competing and there will be two categories judged:

- The best presented yacht and crew – with the yacht in first-class trim and the crew in matching crew uniforms.
- The best fun-themed yacht and crew – where the sailors dress up their yachts and let their imagination run wild.

Tomorrow’s penultimate day of competition will see the IRC grand prix divisions 1 and 2 aiming for three windward/leewards in the Eastern course area starting at 1100hrs while the rest of the classes undertake an islands course with the first starter’s off the line in Dent Passage at 1040.

Full results here

The last and only time the famous Beashel brothers from Sydney’s northern beaches sailed together was in the 1993 Admiral’s Cup aboard John Calvert-Jones’ Great News II. Different sailing programs have kept Colin and Adam apart for 16 years but today at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week the pair was reunited aboard Steven David’s Reichel Pugh 60 Wild Joe from Sydney.

Elder brother Colin, a six-time Olympic Star sailor who finished with the bronze medal in 1996 and was the mainsheet hand for Australia’s winning America’s Cup crew in 1983 has been Wild Joe’s principal helmsman since the week-long regatta kicked off last Saturday.

Adam, strategist aboard the TP52 Emirates Team New Zealand, arrived at Hamilton Island yesterday afternoon having travelled 56 hours following his team’s win in the penultimate event of the Audi MedCup Circuit regatta, the Portugal Trophy, by 1.5 points.

There was plenty of talk amongst Wild Joe’s crew about whether Adam would take the helm from his older brother but for today’s stunning course around Baynham and Pentecost islands, Colin had his hands firmly on the wheel while Adam called tactics.
“I’ll see if I can’t get the last race off him, he’s not going to give up the wheel easily,” laughed Adam this afternoon once the boat had docked.

“I’d better get the araldite out,” was Colin’s comeback.

Explaining the length of time since the brothers last sailed together, Adam said “We’ve done different things, I went into America’s Cups and Colin concentrated on the Olympics and the boatshed business. Hopefully more opportunities will come.”

Another family combination aboard Wild Joe is the father and son team of John and Steven David, the boat’s owners.

Wild Joe finished this afternoon’s island race fourth behind Bob Oatley’s Reichel Pugh 66 Wild Oats X, Peter Harburg’s Reichel Pugh 66 Black Jack and Alan Brierty’s Reichel Pugh 63 Limit, all three enjoying a close three-way tussle along the western shoreline of Dent Island before Wild Oats X took charge to score its third line honours win from five races.

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