Limit v Loki

Clash of the Reichel Pughs on day one of the Audi IRC Series at Skandia Geelong Week

Friday January 23rd 2009, Author: Di Pearson, Location: United Kingdom
The opening two windward/leeward races of the Audi IRC Series at Skandia Geelong Week got away to a cracking start in ideal conditions on Port Phillip this afternoon, a day Division 2 leader, Rod Jones on Alegria, described as “fantastic – beautiful conditions.”

Spectators were treated to some great racing under a sunny sky, starting with Division 1, in which a brand new and relatively untested Farr 55, Living Doll of Michael Hiatt, took out both races in a very hot fleet.

“We’re not too surprised; we’ve put a lot of work into the boat and there’s a lot of talented people sailing with me,” said Hiatt. However, the clothing label owner did admit: “there are a lot of talented people sailing on some very good boats - the competition is high level. We used our local knowledge and Lloydy (Ross Lloyd) picked the shifts beautifully. We’re very happy with our day and hope we can keep it going.”

Lloyd’s tactics included taking a wide swing to the right of the course on the second upwind leg of Race 1 – leaving others to wonder where they were going. It paid off.

Graeme Wood’s Wot Now, a Judel/Vrolijk 52 from Sydney, has taken second place overall with solid third and second places.

The thrill for the day was the match racing that went on between Limit and Loki – both Reichel/Pugh designs; Limit at 62ft, gives time to Loki at 63ft, due to differences in the yachts, such as Alan Brierty’s Limit having electronic winches, while Stephen Ainsworth opted for hand driven pumps on Loki.

Limit (WA), with America’s Cup sailors Gavin Brady (tactics) and Rodney Keenan aboard, got the better of Loki (NSW), steered by Cameron Miles, with Chris Links calling tactics, in both races; they are third and fifth overall respectively.

Limit’s sailing master and helmsman, Roger Hickman, denies the two were match racing: “ Loki and us realise it’s a fleet race, not a match race. We weren’t trying to get at each other, we were close racing a lot of the time, we were respectful of each other. We realise if we match race that boats like Living Doll and others will just sail through us.”

But that is exactly what happened, and although Hickman says they are respectful of each other, Loki had lodged a protest against Limit, the facts unknown at this stage.

Grant Wharington’s super maxi, Skandia, clearly won line honours in both races. ‘Wharo’ had a lacklustre start to Race 1, but nailed the start at the pin end of the line in Race 2.

Divisions 2 and 3 raced on a course in the vicinity of Sandringham Yacht Club, separate to Division 1. Rod Jones and Alegria, who was the inaugural winner of the Audi IRC Australian Championship – and the Audi car, was happy to be leading Division 2 on Day 1.

From Queensland, Jones has made no secret of the fact he would like to win another Audi. Commenting on today’s races: “It was a fantastic day. The conditions in the first race were tricky; the breeze went hard left off the start and that changed the dynamics of the race.”

Conditions on Port Phillip ranged from 8-10 knots in Race 1, “traditional sort of stuff,” according to Secret Men’s Business tactician Sean Kirkjian, a Division 1 competitor. “We started Race 2 in 14-15 knots, but it died away to 12, 10 knots,” he said.

Alegria, an Archambault 40, leads Division 2 from Andrew Saies Beneteau 40.7 True North (SA) and Alan Woodward’s Beneteau First 45 Reverie (Vic) and Ruth Magic (Peter Hill, NSW) with the 2008 Audi IRC Championship winner Peter Sorensen at the helm and Beijing Olympic gold medallist Nathan Wilmot calling tactics.

In Division 3, Peter Dunne was surprised to hear he and his crew on Upbeat, a Beneteau First 36.7 (Vic) had won both races.

“I knew we won the first,” Dunne said; “did we really win both? That’s great. I’ve got a real upbeat crew,” he joked. “Actually, we’re very passionate about our sailing – racing and cruising. I bought Upbeat in 2007 and we’ve got a great camaraderie going onboard. I’m surprised and delighted we won both races – we’ll really celebrate now,” he said.

Behind Dunne on the overall points ladder is David Ellis’s Borrensen BB10 Surprise (Vic) and the always well-sailed Mrs Overnewton, Leslie Norton’s Bavaria Match 38.

83 yachts are taking part in the Audi IRC Championship, the opening round of the Audi IRC Australian Championship, which continues tomorrow with the 34.3 nautical mile Passage Race from Williamstown to Geelong, where the series will continue on Corio Bay the following day.

Provisional results

Division 1 top five following two races and pending protest:
1 LIVING DOLL Michael Hiatt RYCV 1 1 2
2 WOT NOW Graeme Wood CYCA 3 2 5
3 LIMIT Alan Brierty CYCA 2 4 6
4 DEKADENCE Philip Coombs SYC 5 3 8
5 LOKI Cameron Miles CYCA 4 7 11

Division 2 top five following two races:
1 ALEGRIA Rod Jones RQYS 3 2 5
2 TRUE NORTH Andrew Saies CYCSA 1 6 7
3 REVERIE Alan Woodward RBYC 4 4 8
4 RUTH MAGIC Peter Hill MHYC 8 1 9
5 2.0S JUST A MINOR HICKUP Peter Coleman RBYC 2 8 10

Division 3 top five following two races:
1 UPBEAT Peter Dunne SYC 1 1 2
2 SURPRISE David Ellis RYCV 4 2 6
3 MRS OVERNEWTON Leslie Norton RMYS 5 P 3 8
4 PRIMO Steve Copley SYC 6 4 10
5 2.0S RECKLESS Rory Thomas RBYC 2 11 13

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