Living Doll comes good

Michael Hiatt's Farr 55 victorious in Audi IRC big boats at Skandia Geelong Week

Monday January 26th 2009, Author: Di Pearson, Location: United Kingdom
Michael Hiatt and his Farr 55 Living Doll crew had nerves of steel today, making a comeback to steal the Audi IRC Division 1 series from under the nose of Graeme Wood and his Wot Now crew – the two finished second and third respectively in Race 6 to finish the series on tied points, Hiatt coming out on top with one more win in his score to settle the series.

The final windward leeward race was put to bed this afternoon after a delayed start due to lack of breeze, but a nice 10-12 knot sea breeze filled in on Corio Bay just before midday, allowing racing to get underway.

Going up the first beat, tactician Ross Lloyd took Living Doll hard right and Wot Now rounded the first mark well ahead of Hiatt and crew.

However, by the time the yachts came up the work the second time, Hiatt, a Melbourne businessman, had a big lead over Wot Now and her crew could only look on as Living Doll kept up the momentum to score second place overall, Wot Now finishing third to seal the deal.

Hiatt was thrilled. Having had a couple of teething problems with his yacht, which forced him to cancel competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, everything came together in Geelong.

“We over rode Lloydy (tactician Ross Lloyd) on that first beat and Wot Now rounded in front of us, but we gybed inside them and caught up a bit of time on them on that first downwind leg. After that we picked them up bit by bit. We picked the shifts right – someone up there was looking after us.

“We got away from them after that and were able to sail our own race in clear air. It’s great to win,” said Hiatt who has confirmed he will be taking Living Doll to Sydney to compete in the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta in March and then the Audi Sydney Gold Coast race in July in an attempt to win the 2009 Audi IRC Australian Championship.

A Royal Yacht Club of Victoria member, Michael Hiatt had two reasons to smile today. Not only did he win the series and the Audi Perpetual Trophy, his former yacht, Shogun, a Cookson 50 he sold to mate and Royal Geelong Yacht Club member Robert Hanna, won Race 6 after a stunning start.

Like his friend Michael Hiatt, Hanna and his crew picked all the shifts right as the winds moved from left to right and back again across the course and kept their boat running like a train.

Sydney yacht, Loki, finished the series in third place overall. A brand new Reichel/Pugh 63 owned by Stephen Ainsworth, Loki performed well throughout the week and spectators were treated to some fine racing, particularly against a second new Reichel/Pugh design, Limit.

The six race-one drop series at Skandia Geelong Week was conducted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club in Victoria.

Division 1 Provisional top five:
1 LIVING DOLL Michael Hiatt RYCV 10
2 WOT NOW Graeme Wood CYCA 10
3 LOKI Cameron Miles CYCA 19
4 DEKADENCE Philip Coombs SYC 26
5 EXILE Nick George CYCSA 28

Divisions 2 and 3

The inaugural Audi IRC Australian Championship winner, Rod Jones, got what he prayed for today to take out Division 2 of the Audi IRC Series at Skandia Geelong Week this afternoon.

All week long Jones and his Archambault 40 Alegria crew went head to head with Ruth Magic (Peter Hill) and Reverie (Alan Woodward) and while Jones saw Ruth Magic (NSW) as the main threat, it was Reverie that came home to finish the six-race series in second place.

Queenslander, Jones, who won the Audi IRC Australian Championship and a drove away in a brand new Audi Q7 SUV from Hamilton Island in 2007, thought that Ruth Magic, with 2008 Audi Championship winner Peter Sorensen at the helm and Beijing gold medallist Nathan Wilmot calling tactics, would be his downfall.

Thankfully, though, Jones prayers came to fruition when a 10-12 sea breeze kicked in on outer Corio Bay. “We knew if it was light we’d have our best chance of beating Ruth Magic,” Jones said this afternoon.

While the Alegria crew did not win the final race, they did come home second, while Hill and his crew from Sydney scored their worst race result, a 13th place, and used it as their drop.

“It was a great race, really,” a happy Jones said. “We got off the line attached to them and got ahead of them half way up the beat – the conditions didn’t suit them, they go better in windy conditions,” Jones said, adding: “we’ll be in Sydney for the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta – I want to be the first person to win a second Audi car – they’re great cars,” he said.

While Alegria and Ruth Magic duked it out, Alan Woodward and his Royal Brighton Yacht Club crew did their own thing and came home to win the final race and claim second place overall.

In Division 3 a thrilled David Ellis and crew ( Surprise) got the surprise of their lives to discover not had they only won Division 3 of the Audi Series; they had been announced winners of the first round of the 2009 Audi IRC Australian Championship, now in its third year.

Ellis left the regatta immediately after the final Race 6 and headed home to the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria where he is the Club Captain, so while he knew they had taken out Division 3, Ellis thought the winner of the Championship would come from Division 1.

“That’s great – how good is that,” he said when told. “It’s a team effort and I have to mention my crew Troy Croft, Alex Gilbert, Paul Larcher and Jane Richards. They did a superb job, they always do.

Ellis also said a big thank you to Robert Hampshire from host, Royal Geelong Yacht Club and Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson. “They were great – very helpful and pleasant.”

An interesting character with an even more interesting background, Ellis is a former ship’s captain who has worked with the Port Melbourne Sea Pilots for the past six years which has given him more time for sailing.

“We’re not ocean racers or world beaters, but we have a classic boat (A Borresen BB10) that’s well sailed and I can commit to sailing more often these days.”

In an all-Victorian assault, the Surprise crew came up with an impressive five wins from six races for standout victory over second and third placed Arabelle (Grant Hailes) and Peter Jackson’s Stitched Up, both of which finished 12 points behind the winner.

Division 2 Provisional top five:
1 ALEGRIA Rod Jones RQYS 11
2 REVERIE Alan Woodward RBYC 14
3 RUTH MAGIC Peter Hill33a MHYC 16
4 TRUE NORTH Andrew Saies CYCSA 22

Division 3 Provisional top five:
1 SURPRISE David Ellis RYCV 5
2 2.0S ARABELLE Grant Hailes MYC 17
3 STITCHED UP Peter Jackson SYC 17
4 DR UNC John Lindholm SYC 19
5 2.0S FLYING FOX Paul Woodman RBYC 30

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